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UKC Wishes to Congratulate Winners at Winter Classic!

February 14, 2024

United Kennel Club wishes to congratulate the winners at the 37th annual Winter Classic, held February 7-10, 2024 in Batesville, Mississippi!

Though the hunt itself didn't start until Friday, events kicked off on Wednesday night with the first of two warm-up slam hunts, held by the Mississippi Raccoon Hunters Association and the Enid Lake Coon Hunters Association respectively. In total, we saw a great turnout for these warm-up slams, which are always a great addition to our national-level coonhound events. On Wednesday, we had 100 entries, with cast winners earning their entry fee back, and the final four earning $628 apiece. On Thursday, we topped it, with an impressive 155 entries. Again, as with the slams, cast winners earned their entry fee back, but the final four took home $746 apiece.

Added to the festivities at this year's Winter Classic was the first UKC Winter Classic Pro Slam event! We're thrilled to be offering the Pro Slam format for the serious hunter, and the 16 spots at Winter Classic filled up almost immediately. With a $500 entry fee, fourth place would earn $1,000; third place $1,250; second place took $1,750; and the winner would earn a $3,000 payout. The first round went out Wednesday night, and the final four went back out on Thursday night to see who would take home the money. In the end, it was GRNITECH(2) 'PR' Rock Em Willy, a Treeing Walker male who took home first prize with a score of 225+. Congratulations to Willy, owners Alan Holding, David Pettit, and Jason Cooper, as well as the other three dogs in the final four.

After the slams wrapped up on Thursday night, however, it was time for the main event. On Friday morning, we began the Bench Show starting off with Registered division, and then Pairs.

Best Male of Show went to a Plott Hound, CCH 'PR' Rag Mountain Stealing Your Thunder, owned by Katie Woodward, while Best Female of Show went to a Treeing Walker Coonhound, 'PR' 2nd Winds Stunning In Stilettos, owned by Jason Hunter. The Pairs win went to RACEN IA PN UAGI GRCH(2) URO2 CGRCH PR Gilmans Good Time Tradition SPOT, and GRCH Gilmans Good Time Stella, both owned by David Gilman. A huge thank you to Scarlett Overton, who handled judging duties for the Registered and Pairs classes.

On Friday evening, however, it was time for those hounds who had made it to the Top Ten Coonhound Bench Show Invitational to take the ring. This event is held at Winter Classic each year, and honors those dogs and handlers who have shown skill on the bench throughout the prior year. Points are earned by competing at UKC Licensed Coonhound Bench Shows betweenin this caseNovember 1, 2022 and October 31, 2023. Points are currently being accrued for next year's event. Ten (or in two cases eleven) of the very best Bench Show hounds of their breed were invited to Batesville to compete for a share of a $15,000 total purse. The overall winner would earn $3,000, while the remaining six breed winners would earn $2,000 apiece. Judging these top-notch hounds was a panel consisting of Amber Carroll, Scarlett Overton, and coonhound legend Steve Fielder. In the end, it was a Redbone, NGRCH CCH GRCH 'PR' Wabash River Lost Highway, owned by Andi and Keith Emory and Curtis and Niki Elburn, who would earn the Overall win. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the Top Ten! It is indeed an outstanding accomplishment.

Top Ten Bench Show Winner 2024

On Friday night, the hunt kicked off in earnest, as hundreds of dogs took to the woods in both our Champions and Registered divisions. For those unaware, the Champions division at Winter Classic features dogs who have won either their Nite Champion title or their Grand Nite title. The advanced entry period saw 208 Nite Champions or Grand Nite Champion hounds, and 139 registered hounds for Friday night alone. After Friday night's action, the Champion Division saw GRNITECH(2) 'PR' Shack's Southern Stogie, a Treeing Walker male take first, while 'PR' Donald Trump, a Redbone male sat in first place in the Registered Division.

On Saturday morning, the Bench Show ramped up with Champions and Grands taking to the ring. After a morning of breathtaking dogs taking their turn in the ring and on the bench, the Overall Winter Classic Bench Show Championship went to 'PR' 2nd Winds Stunning In Stilettos, marking the second big win of the year for the duo after picking up the Overall Bench Show crown at Grand American back in January. Congratulations to Jason Hunter on the win! A big thank you also goes out to Amber Carroll, who judged the Champion and Grand Champion classes for us. Tremendous work!

Winter Classic Bench Show Winner 2024

Finally, on Saturday night, we wrapped up the hunt as again, hundreds of dogs headed out, each hoping to pick up that coveted second cast win to put them in the running for the overall crown. Once everyone had returned, the Overall Winter Classic Nite Hunt Champion was NITECH Wades Lockdown Playboy, a Treeing Walker male, owned by Carl and Tracy Wade, with an amazing two-night score of 2150. Reserve Nite Hunt Winner was GRNITECH 'PR' Bottomland Glacho, a Black and Tan male owned by Chad McCoin and Brad Hile. You can check out the full list of Association winners here.

Winter Classic Nite Hunt Winner 2024

Events like Winter Classic take the support of many sponsors, partners, and staff, and we want to take a moment to recognize them as well.

We will start with our partners Eukanuba, the Official Performance Dog Nutrition Partner of UKC, and Dogtra, the Official GPS Collar Partner of UKC.

In addition, we want to thank our prize sponsors, Bright Eyes Lights, GT's Feed & Hunting Supply, Kelley's K-Lights, Nite Lite, and Timber Creek Dog Supply. As we always say, support those who support the sport of competitive coon hunting.

Winter Classic Sponsors 2024

We want to thank everyone who made the trip to Batesville this year for Winter Classic, and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

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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