Grand American Coon Hunt and Bench Show
The city of Orangeburg, South Carolina hosted the AKC licensed 39th annual Grand American Coon Hunt, the largest event of its kind in the country. The Grand American Coon Hunt in Orangeburg is one of the top 10 events in the Southeast and draws in excess of 10,000 people to the two day event, held the first weekend each year. Over 400 hounds competed during the two-night hunt for the top award. In the end, Super Swam Turbo owned by George "Chip" Smith of Cope, S.C. came away as the over all winner.
Turbo led the way after the first night coming in with a score of 850+ points. This was achieved with out performing the other dogs in his cast of four. Points are earned by locating the coon's trail (striking) and pursuing it and baying to indicate when the coon has been treed (treeing). The dog's earn points based on how soon they strike or tree. Once the judges verify that the dogs have actually treed the raccoon, the dogs are leashed and taken to another area to continue their hunt. No raccoons are caught or injured in the competition.
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In the bench show portion of the event, the Overall Best in Show and Best Female in Show went to Showtime Miss Lilly, a three year old Treeing Walker owned by Leslie and Eric Brooks of Cedar Bluff, Virginia. The Best of Opposite Sex in Show winner was Midnight Black Hawk, a four year old Black and Tan Coonhound male owned by Amanda Alexander of Homer City, Pennsylvania. One of the highlights of the bench show was the junior handler's class. In this class, any child could enter and show his hound, or borrow a hound to show. All the participants were given prizes for competing.
The AKC Hound staff, Field Director Mel Stewart, Field Representatives Jack Duignan and Buddy Ledbetter, and Performance Event Director Gordon Heldebrant were on hand to answer question about the Coonhound program and to register hounds with the FSS program.
The final awards were presented early (4:00 am) to the top scoring hounds from the two nights. Winers earned prize monies provided by Nestle Purina, the Hunt Sponsor; a Wildlife Materials tracking system, and a training collar from Tri-Tronics.
Final Grand America placings were:
First place - Super Swamp Turbo - George Smith, Cope, SC;
2nd - Flat Ridge Shaker - James Franklin Crawford, Jonesville, SC;
3rd - Bearswamp Max - Tracy Bass, Claredon, NC;
4th - Stylish Tina Turner - Chris Hiott, Bamberg, SC