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Are You Ready for the 2024 UKC Tournament of Champions?

April 11-13 in Greencastle, Indiana

April 11, 2024

The fourth annual UKC Tournament of Champions kicks off Thursday, April 11, 2024, in Greencastle, Indiana.

Despite being a newer name to the list of major UKC Coonhound events, the Tournament of Champions name itself has a history that began in the early 1970s.

Starting in 1975, then UKC President Fred Miller envisioned a true elimination hunt for UKC registered dogs and, seeking advice from nite hunt veterans Manford Craver and Jim Carpenter, UKC announced the Tournament of Champions. The first event was held in

After three years, UKC pivoted, changing the name from Tournament of Champions to UKC World Coonhound Championship, and providing the World Nite Hunt Champion (WLDNITECH) title to the winner. But the Tournament of Champions name would not say shelved forever.

In 2020, UKC brought back the Tournament of Champions name, with the biggest money hunt in UKC history. Dogs would qualify throughout the year, The first Tournament of Champions was held in April of 2021 in Greencastle, Indiana. UKC would award a total purse of $200,000, with $50,000 heading to the overall winner. That honor went to GRNITECH 'PR' Stovers Charley Creek Bad Butch, a Treeing Walker male owned by Bill Stover and handled by John Ervin.

In 2022, that number increased to $250,000, where it remains today. Again, a Treeing Walker male took home the crownGRNITECH(2) 'PR' Willy's Conor McGregor, owned and handled by JR Gray. In 2023, GRNITECH 'PR' Stricks Hardtimes Hobo, yet another Walker male, owned by John Strickland and Doug Galbreath, and handled by Jeff Ricklefs, was the big winner.

For those paying attention at home, that marks three years, three Treeing Walker males who have won the top prize at Tournament of Champions. Over that time, ten dogs have advanced to the Final Cast at Tournament of Champions. Nine Walkers (7 male, 2 female) and one Bluetick (male). Average age approximately 3 years 8 months.

But what about this years finalists? How do they break down?

Of the 96 dogs that advanced to the finals, we had 77 Treeing Walkers (49 male, 28 female), eight English (3 male, 5 female), four Blueticks (3 male, 1 female), three X-Bred (2 male, 1 female), two Black and Tans (1 male, 2 female), and two Redbones (both male). That means a full 51% of the field is Treeing Walker males.

Weve got 25 states represented this year, but winners have only come from two. In the three years of the event, weve had two winners from Ohio, one from Kentucky. This year, Ohio leads the way with 13 finalists, taking the title back from Kentucky, who led in 2022 and 23.

As to who's going to win, stay with us this weekend and see for yourself! Well have live show coverage late night Friday into Saturday of the second and third rounds, and then Saturday night with the finals!

Be sure to join us live on our YouTube channel to see for yourself, who goes down as the fourth Tournament of Champions winner!

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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