Albany's going to the dogs-- with the Winter Classic - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany's going to the dogs-- with the Winter Classic

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Albany is going to the dogs... nearly a thousand coonhounds, and thousands more people, are town for the 24th annual UKC Winter Classic.

All that barking adds up to big bucks for Albany restaurants and hotels. The weekend event will have an estimated two million dollar impact on Dougherty County.

The three-day event brings in people from all over the United States and Canada.

Dogs will compete in the ring and will hunt south Georgia's farms and plantations. Many hunters bring their families who shop locally and dine in area restaurants. 

"People plan to go to the big hunts, it may hurt some of the entries at some of the some of the smaller hunts throughout the year, the club hunts, but they plan, they plan their vacations around the major hunts," said UKC Hunting Program V.P. Todd Kellam.

They're loud, proud, and costly. In advance of tonight's hunt owners were picking up supplies their hounds need.

"Got me a couple of collars and leashes, and he's putting some name tags on," said Billy Barber, who came up from Avon Park, FL.

Lines at the register are long and one thing they don't leave home without.

"You've got to bring your pocketbook, if your wife will let you," Dan Humphrey from Lake Seminole.

Humphrey stocks up on supplies to last the year. "Everybody that comes usually buys. Some people spend $200, some $2,000."

Godwin's Outdoors traveled all the way from North Carolina to set up a make-shift store. "We stay pretty busy, we sell a lot of dog boxes, a whole lot of hunting supplies," Alton Godwin said.

Item's that aren't cheap. "Dog boxes usually run around $475 and up."

Even a GPS unit to track how fast your dog is running, and which direction he's headed. "One of the more popular items we sell are the Garmins, and they're pretty expensive, they run about $600 on a unit."

In the market for a new dog, how about one that can sleep through all the barking... "I've got ear plugs in them," announced Scott Sullivan from McDonough, GA.

Bluetick puppies all the way from Texas or Treeing Walker pups run about $250 with the temperament of their father. "You can look at him and see how he acts, doesn't pay much attention to nothing until you turn him lose in the woods," Sullivan said.

Whatever a hunter's pleasure, you can find it here, as long as you've got the cash. Many vendors told us they do some of their best business at the Winter Classic.

You can expect restaurants and hotels around town to be packed through Saturday night. 

Both the city and county benefit from the sales made here, it's part of that two million dollar impact the event creates. The City and Convention and Visitors Bureau benefit directly from out of town guests. They split the revenue from a seven percent hotel tax.

The event is Hosted by Deep South Classic CHA, at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds, 810 South Westover Road, Albany, GA 31702

 

Here's a schedule of events-

• Two separate, one-night UKC events. Hunt the same dog both nights!

• 550 dogs guaranteed to hunt. We will hunt as many wait-listed dogs as we can provide guides for.

• Advanced Entry Only Nite Hunt. Deadline January 7, 2011.

• Purina Nite Hunt and Bench Show Coonhound of the Year Awards Presentation for 2010. $25,000 year-end award.

• Reserved Dog Barn Space, contact James Lawrence (229) 220-2801

• First 2011 UKC Triple Crown event, presented by Black Gold. $3,000 year-end award.

• The South's Largest Bench Show! Two Full Days!

• Bench Show entries are taken Thursday 4 – 5 p.m., Friday 8 – 9 a.m./ 4 – 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 – 9 a.m.

• Free Kids Bench Show

• Plenty of free camping and hook-ups. First come, first serve.


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