Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 Grand American Coon Hunt

The 45th annual Grand American Coon Hunt was held in Orangeburg this past weekend. Close to 300 dogs were entered in the event, which many call the Super Bowl of coon hunting competitions. The overall champion of this year’s Grand American came all the way from Indiana. Bellar’s Get Ahead Lil Red, a Redbone handled by Mike Nelson, was crowned the winner at the end of the coldest Grand American in history. Though the temperature was forecast to be in the mid-20’s, the windchill on the final night was around 15 degrees.
The cold weather wasn’t the only record broken during the weekend’s competition. The other record—of the final four dogs, three were Redbones. This had never happened before and is a good sign for the Redbone breed. The fourth dog was a Treeing Walker named Hall’s Kentucky Bruiser, who finished 3rd in the final hunt. Kentucky Bruiser hails from Jonesville, SC and had a much shorter trip than Lil Red.

The other two of the top four dogs were Mantana Red Ranger, another South Carolina dog and the 2nd place finisher, and Bing’s Tess who came down from the Tarheel state to take 4th place.

The bitter cold did not seem to deter the crowd, which was estimated to be in the 30,000 range over the course of the weekend. Many vendors were on site selling everything from ATV’s, dog food, boiled peanuts, hunting clothing and equipment. Dog breeders were on site as well, selling started pups and fully trained hunting dogs.

PhotosByBrianCope: The Grand American trophy stage shows the magnitutde of this event; the $2500 price tag on this dog may seem high, but some dogs on sale at this event commanded much higher prices; daytime events like this treeing contest are just one of many non-hunting competitions that take place during the Grand American weekend.

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