Coon Dog Winter Classic big economic boost in Albany -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Coon Dog Winter Classic big economic boost in Albany

January 30, 2004

Dougherty County -- There are thousands of visitors in Albany this weekend, both people and dogs.

The 17th Annual UKC Winter Classic has brought coon hunters from as far as Alaska to compete. And those guests bring a big lift to the Southwest Georgia economy.

The Coon dogs are baying in Albany again, as the Winter Classic kicks off the coon hunting season for 2004. The 17th annual UKC Winter Classic will be the largest yet, with more than 800 competitors.

Those hunters not only bring their expensive, well trained dogs to Albany, but most bring their families and friends. Richard Bivins, Vice President of the Convention and Visitors Bureau said "They come to cheer on their dog, it's a family member. This dog is very valuable to their family, and they are all proud of it. So not one or two come, but the entire family comes."

 The front desk at the Hampton Inn is busy. Like most motels in Albany, it is full. Hampton Inn General Manager Kelli Halstead said "oh definitely. It is at a time when we would not have any other business at all."

Restaurants will also be busy. The Winter Classic competitors will dine out, shop, and generally spend money. It all adds up to a big economic impact. Bivins said "I'd say more like a million comes into the economy. You figure, gas, food, lodging, dog food. You have to house the dog as well as the family members."

The UKC Winter Classic in Albany is the first event of the year in coon hunting, and one of their three biggest, and it is a welcome event for Albany businesses.

The UKC Winter Classic will hold it's hunts Friday and Saturday nights.

Sunday morning the winners will be announced at the awards presentation at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds.

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