A howl of a good time at Coon Dog Day competitions

Published 2:04 pm Friday, July 16, 2010


Like most festivals, Coon Dog Day is about a good time.

Have a beverage, have some food, see your friends.

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But under a tent on the Saluda School ball field on the south end of town is where Coon Dog Day becomes serious business.

I consider myself a dog person I like them and they, for the most part, like me. My 8-year-old Boston Terrier, Harley, is pretty much my kid.

But Coon Dog Day attracts real dog people, the ones who spend countless hours and good fortune seeking a champion.

The alphabet soup of kennel clubs doesnt really matter beyond a little politics, but winning certainly does, whether showing or hunting or both. Winners are crowned and hard work is rewarded.

From a sports standpoint, this past weekends coondog competitions hunting, showing and treeing are not exactly what you see on cable television coming to you live each year from Madison Square Garden. There are no handlers, no tuxedos and no Labra-doodles.

There are no hair stylists and the only perfume is applied to a stuffed raccoon an apparent gallon or so of odiferous, eye-burning natural coon oils, and theyre strong enough to open up the nasal passages of dead coondogs from graves in Dark Corners.

The stuffed raccoon is in a cage and hoisted to the top of a tree that looks like it doubles as the tent center pole and the dogs come in and bark. The dog that barks the most over the course of a minute is the treeing contest winner. Rock, a 3-year-old English Hound from Cowpens, S.C., was this years winner.

I couldnt help but think about Uno, the beagle that struck a blow for ordinary dogs everywhere by winning Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club extravaganza in 2008.

Uno, who was everyman in a dog suit, got to ring the opening bell on Wall Street.

Maybe the dogs competing at Coon Dog Day such as Ace and Gaffer and Pumpkin, Dixie and Gypsy wont get to ring that bell.

But at least they didnt have to share the stage with a foo-foo smelling poodle in a bouffant cut. How undignified.