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Get Ready for the 2023 Coonhound World Championship

September 21-23 in Mt. Gilead, Ohio

September 14, 2023

Get ready for the 46th Annual UKC Coonhound World Championship, coming to the Morrow County Fairgrounds, in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, September 21-23, 2023!

Established in 1978, the UKC Coonhound World Championship brings together the very best of the best in competitive coon hunting and the best Bench Show dogs from across the country and into Canada.

This marks the World Championship's fourth stop in Mt. Gilead, with the event last held there five years ago, in 2018, after previous stops in 1999 and 1988. This also makes Mt. Gilead the most frequent home of the Coonhound World Championship, breaking a tie with Columbia City, Indiana, which had also hosted three (1985, 2000, 2010). In total, the Buckeye State has hosted the event 9 times in its now 46-year history. Indiana holds the record for most stops in a single state with 15 over the 46 years the event has run.

Nite Hunt

For those unfamiliar, the event truly kicks off months before we ever arrive in town for the finals. Throughout the first half of the year, UKC hosts more than 150 Regional Qualifying Events at clubs throughout the country. If a dog is able to earn a plus-point cast win at any of these events, they become qualified for Zones--our semifinal round, where competition is held one week before the World Finals. We currently have seven zone locations, where the dogs hit the woods to determine the 108 dogs advancing to the finals.

This year, we have 548 dogs entered in zone competition, representing 34 states--plus two from Canada--all competing at one of these seven locations:

  • Brooklyn, WI
  • Mercer, PA
  • Portland, IN
  • Sedalia, MO
  • Pilot Mountain, NC
  • Clarkesville, GA
  • Queen City, TX

September 15-16, we will whittle the field down from 548 to 108. Those 108 dogs will then advance to the World Finals in Mt. Gilead, September 21-23, where over the course of four rounds, we will determine a World Champion.

The format has changed this year, and breaks down as follows:

  • Round 1 - Thursday - 108 Dogs - 27 casts of 4
  • Round 2 - Friday - 27 Dogs - 9 casts of 3
  • Round 3 - Saturday (Early) - 9 Dogs - 3 casts of 3
  • Round 4 - Saturday (Late) - 3 Dogs - 1 cast of 3

Our coverage of the event will also offer two livestreams on the UKC YouTube channel. The first will be on Thursday at 11:30 p.m. EDT, called Midnight Mayhem, which will feature interviews with cast winners in the first round as they come back from the woods. You can see last year's event here. The second will be our play-by-play coverage of the World Finals Saturday night, starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT, as we offer scoring updates and work to bring back live video from the hunt, all the way through the end of the night, capped off with an interview with the new World Champion. Last year's event is right here.

Midnight Mayhem

2023 Coonhound World Midnight Mayhem

Join us at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday night, September 21, for Midnight Mayhem, as we break down the first round casts and have LIVE interviews with the cast winners as they return from the woods!

Play-By-Play Coverage

2023 Coonhound World Final Round Play-By-Play

Then, be sure to tune in starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday night, September 23, as we feature live play-by-play from the studio with scoring updates as they come in, leading up to the crowning of a new World Champion!

Like most UKC hunts, Treeing Walker Coonhounds have dominated over the years, winning 9 of the last 10 World Championships. The lone exception was 2017, in Elberton, Georgia, when an American Black & Tan Coonhound took home the prize, WLDNITECH CH GRNITECH 'PR' Nelson's Northern Roxanne. Moreover, Walkers represent 36 of the 44 winners crowned, a staggering 81.8%. Next best is the English Coonhound with five wins (none since 2013), followed by the American Black & Tan Coonhound with two (2017 and 1995), and the Plott with one (1988). No Redbone, Bluetick, or Leopard Hound has ever won the World Championship.

The Nite Hunt at the Coonhound World Championship also has one unique factor, in that it's the only one of our major Coonhound events to have a year where there was not a winner crowned. In 1987 in Logansport, Indiana, no dog in the final cast emerged with plus points. Therefore, no World Champion. So, in 45 years, there have been only 44 winners. There has also never been a dog to win the event twice, and with no World winners among this year's zone entrants, that will not change in 2023.

Bench Show

In addition to the hunt, we also feature the World Championship Bench Show on Saturday morning, September 23, in which 138 dogs representing the seven recognized UKC coonhound breeds will compete for the crown of 2023 World Bench Show Champion. The Bench Show is a slightly newer addition to the lineup at Coonhound World Championship, having been formally added to the event in Columbia City, Indiana in 1985.

The breakdown of the World Bench Show Championship over the years has been much more diverse, with each of the seven recognized breeds winning at least once. Treeing Walkers and Black and Tans are tied at the top with 9 apiece in the 38 years which the show has run to date. The Black and Tan's most recent win was last year, while the Walker's last win was in 2020. Plotts come in next with 8 wins, the breed's most recent victory being in 2021. Blueticks and English are next with four wins apiece. The last Bluetick win was in 2016, while the last English win was in 2014. Redbones have taken three victories over the years, with their last coming in 2011, representing the biggest title drought. Leopard Hounds have just one win at the World Championship, coming in 2015.

This year we'll see if the Walkers or the Black and Tans can break that tie, if the Plotts make it a three-way tie atop the leaderboard, or if one of the other breeds can break their title drought.

For more information and a more in-depth preview, check out Episode 64 of the UKC Hunting Ops Podcast!

Guided by the belief that dogs make a difference by being the best partner a human can have in the field, on the job, or in a competition event, UKC is a community for people and dogs to pursue excellence together. Founded in 1898, UKC has been dedicated to enhancing the lives of Dogs That Do More, and their owners, by providing essential resources to help owners and breeders make informed decisions. The dog-human bond is celebrated through family-friendly programs highlighting the instincts and heritage of purebred and mixed-breed dogs alike at over 18,000 licensed events annually.

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