The United Kennel Club invites dog lovers to enjoy free spectator admission to watch more than 1,000 of the country’s best coonhounds compete during this year’s UKC Winter Classic Jan. 29 and 30 at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Albany.
The Winter Classic is open to the public with gates opening at 7 a.m. each day. More than 10,000 spectators are expected to converge on the Exchange Club Fairgrounds to enjoy coonhounds from across the country. Nationally recognized vendors will be on-hand offering dog and pet products to fill every need. With the thousands of exhibitors, spectators and vendors attending the two-day event, the UKC Winter Classic is expected to bring an estimated $2M into Dougherty County.
In addition to the two Nite Hunt competitions (Friday and Saturday night), host club Deep South CHA, will hold a Thursday night hunt. In accordance with UKC Rules and Regulations, no game is taken and no firearms are allowed.
Always a crowd-pleaser, UKC will hold two Bench Shows taking place Friday and Saturday. Bench Shows, which are traditional “Dog Shows” for coonhound breeds, together make up the largest Bench Show event in the South. Teams entered in Friday’s Bench Show compete for a spot in the Saturday judging and the opportunity to go against Champion and Grand Champion caliber coonhounds for the chance to earn the crown 2010 UKC Winter Classic Overall Champion.
In addition to the two Nite Hunt and two Bench Show competitions, spectators are treated to the unique Dog Barn Showcase in which many of the coonhounds entered in the events are also on display for spectators to view up-close. Owners and breeders are also available to discuss the breeds’ temperaments, abilities, training, ownership and handling.
An awards ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday to crown the Purina Outstanding Coonhound of the Year for the Nite Hunt and Bench Show series. Competitors have competed throughout 2009 for points towards this prestigious award.
The Winter Classic also enjoys the distinction as the first UKC Triple Crown event of the year. Points earned during Winter Classic will go toward each dog’s year end Triple Crown total and the chance to win the $3,000 year-end award presented by Black Gold Premium Dog Food. Spectators are asked to not bring their dogs or pets to the event, as dogs not registered to compete are not allowed onto the event grounds.
Established in 1898, the United Kennel Club is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. More than 60 percent of its 14,000 annually licensed events are tests of hunting ability, training, and instinct. UNITED KENNEL CLUB prides itself on its family-oriented, friendly, educational events. To find out more about registration and events, call (269) 343-9020 or visit www.ukcdogs.com.