Larry Griffin. president of the Exchange Club Fair Association, announces the American Kennel Club New Southern Heritage Hunt & Show will be held at the club’s fairgrounds Jan. 25 and 26.
ALBANY — There was only one thing to do after the Exchange Club lost a traditional coon dog hunt sponsor — figure out a way to get even.
The club announced a “New Southern Heritage Hunt & Show” in partnership with the American Kennel Club to be held on Jan. 24-25 at the club’s fairgrounds.
It just might not be a coincidence that the dates are the same as the United Kennel Club’s Winter Classic Coon Hunt that is planned, after spending 25 years in Albany, to be held in some place named Batesville, Miss. — wherever that is.
“Their hunt falls on the same day as ours,” said Exchange President Skip Nichols. “Not the other way around.”
The announcement came at the Exchange Club’s usual noon Friday meeting. Exchange Club Fair Association President Larry Griffin made the announcement.
“The AKC will be working together with the local Exchange Club of Albany... in showcasing this event as a benefit hunt and show for the prevention of child abuse,” Griffin said. “The South Georgia Coon & Squirrel Hunters Association will be the host coonhound club.”
The previous United Kennel coon hunts brought in an estimated $2 million for area motels, restaurants and merchants. The Exchangites recognized that they would be starting small. They plan to keep the event an annual affair.
With other sponsors such as the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Albany Beverage Co., the club can keep the event here and maintain more local control over the event. With more local control comes more opportunities to raise money for the club’s main objective, alleviating child abuse.
The details of the new coon hunt will be worked out, and as one Exchangite said, other types of dog owners are interested so they could be welcomed.
Many favorite attractions at the event will be kept. Take, for example, the Road-Kill Cafe and its famous Exchange Club Boston-butt pork sandwiches.
The club’s volunteer kitchen crew cooks, debones and chops the pork just the way it was done on Fussell Hughes’ granddaddy’s farm in the 1950s.
“It is cooked just like he did in the old days, over a slow pit fire,” Hughes said at the last hunt. “Then we put the ‘Butch Griffin recipe sauce’ on it. It is apple juice, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.”
You won’t find that in Mississippi.