Editorial – 1/21/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Company’s coming

Don’t be surprised if you hear a chorus of hounds in the vicinity of the Batesville Civic Center this week. Those are our guests…the dogs, their owners, handlers and families, from all over the country, in town for the United Kennel Club’s Winter Classic coon hunt and bench show Friday and Saturday.

The UKC relocated this premier coonhound event from Georgia to Mississippi last year and reported its best participation ever with the show in Batesville. More than 1,000 dogs were entered in the hunts and the shows.

Just as many are expected this week, according to the UKC.

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Planning has been under way for months as 80-90 guides from area coon hunting clubs prepare to lead hunters to spots in a 100-mile radius of Batesville.

UKC officials point out that no game is taken and no firearms are allowed. The idea is to test and score the dogs on their ability to trail a raccoon and hold it in a tree.

The public is invited to view the bench shows at the Civic Center Friday and Saturday. Purebred hounds representing seven breeds are judged on physical attributes and conformity to breed standards. Admission is free.

 A survey of the parking lot at the Civic Center during last year’s Winter Classic revealed vehicles from as far away as New York and Minnesota. Some hunters even came from Canada.
Our visitors stayed in our hotels, ate in our restaurants and spent money in our retail establishments.

Last January the City of Batesville’s tourism and economic development tax receipts increased 18 percent, with local officials attributing the spike at least in part to the Winter Classic.

With just as many dogs already registered for this year’s Winter Classic, and the potential for economic benefit just as great, those of us in the host city have the opportunity to make their owners and handlers feel welcome.

From convenience store cashiers to bank presidents, everybody in this community can demonstrate southern hospitality to our guests. Let’s bend over backwards to be helpful. 

The UKC didn’t have to choose Batesville as the location for their event. Let’s make them glad they did.

That coonhound chorus is music to our ears.