Cooners and dog lovers are gearing up for the eighth annual UKC State Championship Water Race, hosted by the Richmond County Cooner’s Club.
This statewide competition will take place on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.
“The bench show will start at 12 p.m. and the water race will start at 2 p.m.,” said Shorty Shelley, club member. “There will be a lot of nice trophies, door prizes and food. We’ll also be raffling off a Garmin tracking system.”
Coonhound bench shows are dog shows in which the coonhound and its handler compete with other dogs and their handlers for championship points. Dogs are separated by breeds first. Next, the males and females within the breed are separated and, finally, they are separated by age.
Last year, club member and bench show judge Cynthia Grooms said four coonhound breeds were represented in the bench show competition, and 13 dogs entered.
It’s the water race that most of the dogs are eager to compete in, however. It’s a challenge to keep them out of the water until it’s their turn, and excited dogs fill the air with their throaty bays.
Once water race competitors line up on the dock, they’re released into the long pond to trail a raccoon hide attached to a pulley over the water. Dogs are judged in two categories; first across the finish line, or “line win,” and first to bark up the tree, or “tree win.”
“Anyone who enjoys watching dogs perform will enjoy watching these dogs compete,” said Shelley. “You don’t have to be a hunter to appreciate this.”
The cost to enter the water race is $20, and dogs must be UKC registered. The competition will be held at the club, located at 647 Ledbetter Road in Rockingham.
“There is no pre-registration, just come on out the day of the event,” said club president Randy McDonald.
The club meets the first Thursday of the month at 647 Ledbetter Road, in Rockingham. For further information about the Richmond County Cooner’s Club, or its annual competitions, contact Randy McDonald at 910-652-3555.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.