ALBANY — It used to be that ’coons were valued mostly for the sporty-looking coats they wore, but the furry little critters make the cash registers ring in the Albany area just because some people like to chase them through the woods.
One and a half million dollars is what Rachelle Beasley, interim manager of the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau, says was the economic impact of the United Kennel Club Winter Classic Coon Hunt for the area in 2011. She expects 2012 to be better.
“That’s everything,” Beasley said. “Bed, fuel, food and retail. The retail is usually really good because the club promotes this as a family affair and so the wives and girlfriends come and shop.”
According to Beasley, the United Kennel Club event is among the region’s largest economic boosts each year.
“Less than the ASU homecoming, but definitely bigger than Quail Unlimited (Celebrity Event),” Beasley said. “They’re two different things. Quail Unlimited is good for Albany because it puts us on the map for a lot of big-money people and celebrities. It has the potential to do a lot of good. The Winter Classic is just a real boost to our economy all around.”
According to Beasley, the United Kennel Club has branches in 26 states.
“They come from all around for this event,” Beasley said.