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UKC Releases Statement on Scoring at Winter Classic

February 14, 2024

Source: Trevor Wade
Job Title: Coonhound Program Manager

As some may have noticed, scores for the Winter Classic hunt were not released to the public like they normally are on Sunday morning after the awards. The reason for this process being delayed as such was due to a score turned in, during the hunt Saturday night, that was much higher than anyone would expect to see. I had just arrived at the fairgrounds and started processing scorecards when the Master of Hounds off the grounds, Doug Cundiff, called me to the front desk where the members of the cast, and the spectators had all returned with the scorecard to be turned in and vouched for it.

After consulting with Allen Gingerich, the decision was made to conduct a thorough review of the cast in question. While all members of the cast were still in Batesville, this review would take more time than we could justify holding everyone else in wait until that conclusion. It should be noted there were no misconducts filed or any reason to question the validity of the scorecard outside of the total score being irregularly high. The decision to launch the investigation was to 1) ease our minds and, most importantly, follow the due diligence to protect the integrity of the hunt and 2) help validate the score for the hound, handler, and owners that would otherwise certainly be the subject of public scrutiny and ridicule without this measure.

Sunday morning following the award ceremony, Allen and I conducted five separate in-depth interviews, including all three handlers on the cast, and two spectators. All were very cooperative and delayed their departure time to give their recollection of the cast. The evidence was encouraging for multiple different reasons. 1) When the three-dog cast arrived at the first of three different locations they hunted, one of the handlers withdrew citing concerns of the road they were casting next to as well as a river being merely a half mile in front of them. However, all three handlers stayed for the entire duration of the hunt, including the last location after the judge also withdrew his hound and the last three trees were scored. 2) All five interviewees testified that all eight raccoons scored on the cast were seen by all cast members and spectators. Each coon was found within the first minute or two of shine time. Although not every minute detail being exact, in terms of distance and time references, there was nothing that was determined to create any red flags. 3) The handlers have no common bond and did not know each other prior to the event. The winning handler came up from southern Mississippi, the Judge appointed to the cast was from east Tennessee, and the third voting member of the cast was from northwest Missouri.

UKC takes great pride in their events and protecting the integrity of not only the Winter Classic, but all events is of the utmost importance. Finding the individual details of each casting consistent as they were in this review, made this significant score not be as easily doubted. More importantly, there was nothing that would suggest anything other than circumstances, two dogs hunting moderately close to the cast all night, treeing together on the first five trees, and ultimately an outstanding performance by the winning hound.

To this end and conclusion, we appreciate the willingness and cooperation of the five cast members directly involved to give their individual accounts of the hunt. And on behalf of the UKC we congratulate Carl & Tracy Wade, and Andy Morgan on winning the 2024 Winter Classic with NITECH Wade's Lockdown Playboy.

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