Here Come The Hounds

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Batesville welcomes UKC Winter Classic back to Civic Center

It’s February, and the coonhounds are back, bringing with them barks and bucks

The Civic Center will host the 2024 UKC Winter Classic this weekend, a major event for the members and fans of one of the largest and most prominent coonhound hunts and bench shows in the country.

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 The purpose of this event is to bring a major UKC event to the people of the South, while at the same time providing a vacation opportunity for those in the North.

Mayor Hal Ferrell said Batesville, as always, welcomes the UKC and its supporters.

“This is a major event for Batesville each year that generates retail activity and also gives our citizens an opportunity to see these remarkable coonhounds,” he said. “Our Civic Center is a first class facility that is perfect for this event, and we hope to see a lot of our local families there over the weekend.”

Bench shows will begin at 9:30 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday and is open to the public. An awards program will be held early Sunday morning, and the event will be closed by 10 a.m.

Coonhound hunts will be conducted both nights, with many contestants pairing up with local hunters for guides. During the hunts, no weapons are allowed and racoons are not harmed.

Founded in 1898, United Kennel Club (UKC) is the largest all-breed performance dog registry in the world.

Besides the UKC coonhounds and their handlers, the Civic Center will be filled with exhibitors and other pop-up retailers.

According to data presented by the UKC to aldermen at a recent meeting of the City Board, about 1,700 people are expected to be part of the event, requiring more than 500 hotel rooms at an average cost of $104 per night.

Additionally, the club estimates that each visitor to Batesville during the event will spend $55 per day (for three days) on food.

With other miscellaneous expenses, including fuel and entertainment, UKC reported an anticipated $776,430.