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For Richmond, population 37,000, the united Kennel Club\"s autumn Oaks occasion is an financial boon. $1.3 million. Hotels full. Restaurants packed.
But what in development is a coonhound convention?
Well, we deserve to tell you what it\"s not. It\"s no a place for toothless, in its entirety wearing, tobacco spitting backwoods persons (OK several of the attendees could be).
But some of those same world are rich, very rich. At this event, the world\"s finest coonhounds will display up because that bench shows, to contend in nighttime hunts and to it is in bought and sold.
Some of their owners room six-figure, also seven-figure earners. Some are women.
And the dogs?
\"Some of castle dogs room worth $40,000,\" claimed Benford Green, 76, Richmond, who started coon searching at age 14 and did the for years until a i know good replacement placed a protect against to it.
Green is in fee of the Wayne ar Coon Hunters Association. That knows everything there is come know around these dogs. There are 7 breeds, among them the American Leopard, the English Blue Tick and also the Treeing Walker.
He\"s helping the county acquire ready because that the occasion Wayne ar Fairgrounds, 861 Salisbury roadway North. He to know the ins-and-outs of the competitions, especially the nighttime hunts.
At autumn Oaks, much more than 700 coonhounds will certainly go out at dark tonight and also Saturday night.
They go in groups of fours (called a cast), which is sort of favor a golf foursome. Your owner or handler will keep score of how well the dogs hunt raccoons. It\"s every on the honesty system. No coons are killed. No weapons allowed.
Still, evaluate is complicated and involves all kinds of criteria. Among the an excellent things a dog have the right to do: letting out a chop bark (a high-pitched bark) after chasing a coon up a tree.
\"Some of them dog can gain up to together high together 150 barks a minute,\" said Green.
Among the bad things: fighting with one more dog or going back to a tree where a raccoon has already been tracked.
\"Them dogs deserve to circle approximately looking for a track,\" green said. \"If castle come back to the same tree, the coon is obsolete.\"
For handlers, such together Jerry McLean, who is comes from Ohio for the convention, the hunt is an adrenaline rush.
\"Thrilling, simply thrilling,\" the said. \"There\"s nothing in the people like the feeling once you\"re the end on a hunt.\"
There are significant bragging civil liberties for this hunts. The winner is a stud dog. And also with genes an excellent enough to win such a significant hunt, his breeding value skyrockets. Yes. Mrs coonhounds have actually won before.
So what would certainly the value be for the event\"s optimal dog? Tanya M. Raab, chairman of the joined Kennel Club, declined to reveal.
\"I would be cynical to price that together this is completely subjective and can be based upon multiple variables,\" she said, \"of which would be set forth by the individuals.\"
After all, not all coonhounds can hunt.
\"Ninety-some percent, it\"s born in them,\" claimed Green. \"The remainder can\"t execute nothing.\"
The 55-year-old loss Oaks occasion has been coming to Richmond for 23 years. The city nabbed it since of the facilities and its proximity come I-70, claimed Don Wampler, director of the fairgrounds.
It\"s fun to watch the pickup van pulling right into town with prize coonhounds. It\"s cool to watch all the people, that come from 39 states and also Canada.
\"I\"ve obtained 20 human being on a waiting list,\" Sam Patel, owner the Richmond\"s days Inn, told the Palladium item this week.
Hunters, sightseers and also vendors also invade the city -- selling every little thing from gps systems to track a hunting hound to special treats for those spoiled dogs.
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\"But they ain\"t all spoiled,\" said Green. \"They\"ll just sit in their box all day, simply waiting to get out come hunt. The hunt is what spoils them.\"
Call Star reporter Dana Hunsinger Benbow in ~ (317) 444-6012. Follow she on Twitter: