Hundreds of dogs drooling over annual coon hunt

Dogs competed in bench shows / Donnie La Curan

Folks from all over the country are making their way into Albany this weekend for the 24th annual UKC Winter Classic. The event, taking place at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds, features two night coon hunts as well as well as bench shows throughout the day.

Lisa Hunziker spent 12 hours driving from her home in Illinois to the UKC Winter Classic in Albany. Hunziker says she comes to the classic every year to show her dog. "It's a great location, great people, and a lot of prestige if you happen to win a class or anything. It's a great honor to be here and show," says Hunziker.

This is the shows 24th year in Albany. United Kennel Club Vice President of Hunting Programs Todd Kellam says the Winter Classic in Albany is always a great event. "It's one of UKC's three biggest events of the year. It's our first one of the year; we've got a dog show going on and a night hunt tonight," says Kellam.

And just like Hunziker, folks and their four legged friends traveled from near and far to take part in the big event. Liz Gray with the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau says a huge crowd has made its way to the city. "Over 600 dogs are registered in the hunt and more than 8000 people will visit the community over the weekend," says Gray.

And that means a positive effect on Albany's economy. The weekend festivities are expected to bring in millions of dollars to the area. "With all the people coming in town getting gas, getting food, lots of people go out to eat, spending nights in the hotels makes a huge economic impact in Albany," says Gray.

But the event is not just for out-of-towners. Kellam says it's a great event for Albany residents to come out and enjoy. "There's no admission to get in there's lots of activities, lots of vendors a lot of things to see and do, so everyone's welcome to come on out," says Kellam.

Saturday morning kicks off with more bench shows and finishes with another night hunt. The event finishes up early Sunday with a few awards.