More Bad News For Albany Economy With Relocation of Annual UKC Winter Classic
For Twenty Five years, Albany has been the host city for the United Kennel Club ‘Winter Classic’ Coon Hunt. This event brought many people into an otherwise economically depressed area and is reported to have pumped over Two Million dollars each year into our local area.
After 25 years, the UKC has just announced that future events will be held in Batesville, MS rather than the traditional South Georgia location. Losing this 2 Million dollars of yearly revenue is just another notch in the ever tightening belt for local restaurant owners, motels, sporting goods stores, and other locally owned businesses.
According to the UKC Forums, the decision was made exclusivly by the UKC Board. Todd, the forum moderator said the following
Well, like the press release says, it moved because we thought we could put on a nicer event for our customers. There are lots of factors. This is a beautiful facility and this event will be unlike anything else in the sport being held in the civic center. And we should have a better draw being more centralized in the south. It certainly puts the event closer to more people.
We wanted to move it last year but decided to stay in Albany for the 25th anniversary celebration out of respect for the Deep South Classic Coonhunters and the city of Albany. But we would simply like to try something different for the next 25 years. Autumn Oaks hasn’t always been held in Richmond? It’s moved from time to time. I think that event has been improved because it was moved.
It strikes me as a bit odd that the first reason cited is the availability of a Civic Center in Batesville? Last I checked, Albany had a perfectly good Civic Center.
In looking through their forums, one member speculated that it might have to do with a rash of thefts reported from attendees of last years event here in Albany. Other UKC members commented that Albany “just wasn’t what it used to be”.
It seems this recent announcement hurt many feelings among local hunters who have stated they will not attend the new hunt. It is Albany Uncovered’s hope that some new event can be found for Albany to help lessen the economic effect of losing this yearly National Event.