Coming in January

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2012

As word in Panola County spread Thursday about the United Kennel Club’s decision to move its Winter Classic Coon Hunt to the Batesville Civic Center, perhaps no local resident could better appreciate its impact on the community than Rubert Morgan.

“It’s a big thing; we need to keep that here if we can. It’s the Cadillac of the coon hunts,” said Morgan, an avid coon hunter for most of his life, having hunted at the UKC Winter Classic in Albany in 1990, the same year he won the Wisconsin State Championship.

“We are ecstatic that the UKC has chosen the Batesville Civic Center to host their 2013 Winter Classic, BCC director Roy Hyde said. “The UKC has reached out to a number of local member clubs and has been very pleased with the levels of local knowledge and participation. This event’s highly respected history paired with the BCC’s accessability, size, and configuration capabilities should provide an outstanding event.”

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“I’d like to express appreciation to Vijay Vaghela for his help in pulling this together,” Hyde added. Vaghela owns Batesville’s Holiday Inn, Days Inn and Quality Inn, likely hosts for many of the visitors who will attend the night hunt and bench show.

Meanwhile Albany, GA, host of the Winter Classic for 25 years, lamented the loss of the event which attracted 5,000 visitors to the three-day event and pumped an estimated $2 million into its local economy, according to media reports.

(Please see the Tuesday, July 24 print edition for the full version of this story.)