UNION COUNTY — A three-day event that tests the hunting abilities of the participating dogs and draws an average of 15,000 visitors from across the country is coming to Union County.
In a statement released Monday, Union County Tourism Commission Director Curtiss Hunter announced that the United Kennel Club has agreed to bring the Southeastern Treeing Walker Days event to Union County beginning in January 2016.
Hunter said that for the past several months the commission and the Union County Coon Hunters Association have been working to bring the Southeastern Treeing Walker Days event to Union County. Those efforts were rewarded this past Saturday when a delegation from the United Kennel Club held a board meeting at the Union County Fairgrounds and decided to bring the Southeastern Treeing Walker Days to Union County. The delegation then signed an agreement to bring the event to Union County each year for the next five years.
The signing of the agreement was attended not only members of the UKC, the Union County Coon Hunters Association and the tourism commission, but also members of the Union County Fair Board, Union County, and Union City Council including City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson.
Hunter pointed out that the Southeastern Treeing Walker Days is a three-day event which has previously been held in Salisbury, NC. She said when held in Salisbury the event attracted an average of 15,000 attendees including local residents and visitors from across the country.
“This is a big deal for Union County, we are very excited!” Hunter said. “I hope that Union County becomes to hunting what Sturgis, ND is bikers!”
Thompson also welcomed the decision of the United Kennel Club to bring the Southeastern Treeing Walker Days, pointing out that it will have an enormous economic impact on the community.
“This would mean a gigantic economic impact for the city and the county somewhere in excess of one or two million dollars a year coming into our county,” Thompson said. “We’re hoping that this will be a great opportunity for local business owners to take advantage of the people coming in to buy their products and use their services. I think we got the full support of Union City Council to used the accommodation and hospitality tax to help support it.
“We’re extremely excited that they chose Union,” he said “They were here a few a months ago and it made a huge impact on them. They liked the area and they like the people.”
Thompson added that in addition to bringing large numbers of visitors to the county, the United Kennel Club has also committed to contributing to local charities, increasing the positive impact they will have on the county.
Fair Board Executive Director Paul Winters was among those present for the signing of the agreement. He thanked the Coon Hunter Association its efforts and also pointed out that the event will have a much better facility at the Union County Fairgrounds than where they are moving from.
“It’s a huge event that will impact our county for many years to come,” Winters said. “My hat is off to the Union County Coon Hunters Assocation, they laid the ground work for this.
“As for the Fair Board we’re proud that our facility will serve the Walker Days organization in a much better way than what they’ve had in the past,” he said. “We’ve received many positive comments from their board as they toured the facility this past week. We’re proud to be part of the partnership with the city council, county council, tourism commission, Coon Hunters Association to bring this event to our community.”
About The United Kennel Club
According to the UKC website (www.ukcdogs.com) the United Kennel Club, which was established in 1898, “is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. More than 60 percent of its nearly 16,000 annually licensed events are tests of hunting ability, training and instinct. UKC prides itself on its family-oriented, friendly, educational events. The UKC has supported the “Total Dog” philosophy through its events and programs for over a century. As a departure from registries that place emphasis on a dog’s looks, UKC events are designed for dogs that look and perform equally well.”
The website states that UKC programs include “Obedience Trials, Rally Obedience Trials, Agility Trials, Weight Pull Events, Drag Races, Dock Jumping Events, Lure Coursing, Nosework, Total Junior Program, Coonhound Field Trials, Water Races, Nite Hunts and Bench Shows, Hunt Tests for retrieving breeds, Pointing Dog Events, Beagle Events (including Hunts and Bench Shows, and Cur and Feist Squirrel and Coon Events and Bench Shows).
“Rounding out the ‘Total Dog’ package, UKC Conformation Events are among our largest growing events. UKC dog shows are family events designed by and for the breeder-owner-handler. Professional Handlers are not eligible to exhibit dogs for others at UKC Conformation Events. At UKC dog shows, the emphasis is on the DOG, not the SHOW.”
The website further states that “part of our mission is to have events where all dogs can compete. In addition to our purebred dog registry, United Kennel Club offers the Performance Listing program. The Performance Listing is open to mix bred dogs, purebred dogs of unknown pedigree, purebred dogs with disqualifying faults or breeds not recognized by UKC. Performance listed dogs may compete in all UKC Performance Events and Junior Showmanship.
“It is our firm belief that the right balance between performance and conformation results in healthier happier dogs for everyone. We are proud that we share that same philosophy with our growing number of dedicated participants.
“Essentially, the UKC world of dogs is a working world. That’s the way it was developed over a century ago, and that’s the way it remains today.”
If you would like more information about the Southeastern Treeing Walker Day event or any other tourism-related issues, please contact Curtiss Hunter at 864-466-4711 or email at [email protected]
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or [email protected]