Saluda-born breeder is ‘all-in’

Published 2:07 pm Friday, July 16, 2010

At least for a little while during Coon Dog Day in Saluda Saturday, Chaos ruled.

And Saluda native William Whitman couldnt have been prouder.

His 13-month-old Plott Hound registered as Show Champion Knight Riders Complete Chaos came away a winner as Best Junior Plott Male.

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This feels absolutely wonderful, said Whitman, who has attended Coon Dog Day annually since he was a child and has competed as a breeder the past three years. I was born and raised in Saluda, and we wanted to win in our hometown. Its an honor.

While Coon Dog Day and the accompanying hound competition has been around for nearly 50 years, Whitman is relatively new to the world of competitive show dogs. He has been breeding, handling and showing for 3 years.

But Whitman said a sense of community among breeders even those in competition with one another has helped him and Chaos get to this point.

Ive gotten a lot of advice from (fellow breeders), Whitman said. You have to know how to take criticism and you have to listen to them. They really do try to help the young people in the sport.

Whitmans goal, like most in the game, is to raise a dual champion a championship hunter and show dog.

It wont be easy.

There are so many different facets to this sport, he said. Youve got to spend time with your dogs and work with your dogs. Youre either all-in or all-out. Youre all-in with your commitment to your dogs and you have to go all-out to be successful.

Competitors got their chances at an elusive dual championship during Coon Dog Day, which featured a United Kennel Club licensed hunt on Friday night as well as a Bench Show and treeing contest on Saturday.

Simmons Stylish Sally, a 7-year-old Treeing Walker female owned by Chris Simmons of Crammerton, N.C., was the overall Nite Hunt winner Friday.

Saturday afternoon, Phantoms Montana Mayflower, a 2-year-old Black-and-Tan female owned and handled by Brandon Tedder of Hartsville, S.C., won the Bench Show. Rock, a 3-year-old English Hound entered by Jerry Byers and grandson Dustin Cromer, 8, of Cowpens, S.C., won the treeing contest.

This years events raised more than $2,000 for St. Judes Childrens Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

It was the first year of involvement in Coon Dog Day for the UKC, which took over reins of the competition from the better-known American Kennel Club.

Were tickled to be a part of this, said Allen Gingerich, director of the UKC hound competition. We see nothing but growth as far as this event is concerned.

During this past weekends competition, six of the seven coonhound breeds recognized by the UKC had seen competition. Only the American Leopard Hound, first recognized by the UKC in 2008, was absent.

Whitman said while the AKC is pervasive among all sorts of breeders around the U.S. and the Southeast, the UKC is more prevalent among coonhound breeders in the western Carolinas.

I think were going to see a lot more hounds competing here because more of them are UKC registered in this area, he said.