This was the 22nd year that the Clark County Coonhunters held their annual kid’s day at the Coonhunter Club in Huber Heights. The event ran from noon till 5 p.m., but with the good weather kept kids out longer.
This was started by bench show judge Bill Clawson. He was asked to join the club 23 years ago and he agreed only if he could start a kid’s day to educate children of the community about raccoon hunting and judging the coonhunting dogs. Clawson still judges shows, but instead of getting paid for his work, he asks the shows to make a donation towards the Clark County kid’s day event. Now the event has grown and there are around 50 people who work to put on this event.
This year there was so much for the kids to do around the property. There were plenty of fishing poles down by the pond for the kids to use. The pond was full of all size fish and there was a competition going on every two hours. When kids caught a fish, they brought it to the clubhouse to be measured. Every two hours they would announce who had caught the biggest fish and let them pick a big prize from the prize box. They also announced the child who had caught the smallest fish and let them pick a small prize from the box. After the winners were announced, the next two hours starts over again with two new winners announced at the end.
In addition to fishing, there was a horse that was giving kids a ride up and down the lane. Games of dodgeball were going on in the field when enough kids wanted to play. There were also sack races and a 50/50 raffle going on. There was also a number guessing game in which the kids could take part. There was a jar with $22 in it and a piece of paper with a number between one and 200. If a child could guess the number exactly, they got to keep the $22. Kids could also take pictures with a stuffed hunting dog or visit some of the real dogs that were around the property.
Another big part of kid’s day is teaching the kids about bench show judging. This is what it is called to judge a raccoon hunting dog. There are seven breeds of hunting dogs and in a bench show, the dogs are not judged dog against dog, but dog against the breed standard. Each breed has distinct features such as muscle tone, color, ear set, and bite to name a few. The dog that closely meets its breed standard is then named the winner.
At the end of the night, if the weather permits, the members of the club take the kids who want to on a short hunt to give them the full experience.
The club house had plenty of food for everyone to snack on while playing games. The Mel-O-Dee Restaurant donated 300 pieces of chicken, boxes of bread, and their famous coleslaw. There were also pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers that were grilled in the clubhouse, pies, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and other treats. There was sweet tea, lemonade, and orange Kool-Aid along with water and coffee for everyone to drink.
No kids went home empty handed either. Members of the club donated their old hunting trophies, which were cleaned and lined up. Each child that came in got to choose their favorite trophy to take home. Along with the trophy, they each got to pick a toy from the box and a water bottle. There were goodie bags made up for each child, which contained a kid’s hunting magazine, hunting pocket guides, fishing regulations, an Ohio fish guide, a plastic wildlife card holder, 22 pieces of candy, and fun activity packet. Some of the packets had $1 or $5 written in the middle and kids with that could collect that money before they left.
Three bikes were given away in a raffle at the end of the event and there were door prizes for the adults.
The weather did not look very good at the beginning of the day, but as the day went on the rain held out for the most part. It just sprinkled rain a handful of times and during those times, everyone came into the clubhouse and under the overhang tarp. This was only the 4th year out of the 22 that they have had any rain.
In total there were around 125 kids who showed up for the event and even though the club members really crack down on planning this event each year three weeks prior, Clawson is already looking forward to making next year’s event the best yet.