The 2020 PKC Pup Shoot Out Final Four Interviews

The dogs, owners and handlers listed herein have won a prestigious PKC Truck Hunt in the years indicated.

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Jerry Moll
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The 2020 PKC Pup Shoot Out Final Four Interviews

Postby Jerry Moll » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:58 pm

By PKC National youth Director, Amy Thomas

Today is a day that will not happen again for another four years! Our Final Four are at the Isle of Capri Casino hoping that February 29, 2020 is going to be an “extra” special one for them as they head out to the woods tonight. One of these fine handler and hound duos will be the winner of the new truck at this year’s Pup Shoot Out co-sponsored by PKC, Purina, and the Isle of Capri Casino. Though the dog power at this event is young in age, each of the handlers in tonight’s Final Four is seasoned and experienced in the competition coon hunting game. One of them is going to catch all of the right breaks with their hound and we are going to be following along to see which one it will be. For now though, let’s take a moment to touch base with them before the big event begins!

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SCH Pac Again
Owned by Stephenson/Gilbert
Handled by Billy Bell

Billy Bell is not new to coon hunting. He has been involved in every aspect of the sport from pleasure hunting, competition hunting, training, and breeding some of the best. He has been in this Final Four position before and left in the new truck. That time though was in 2007 with his Peaches, a hound he knew well. This time, Billy is hunting Pac Again, a three year old Walker off of Shot Through the World and Brushy Creek Miley…oh, and this is only the third night that Billy has been in the woods with him!

It was a crazy set of circumstances that brought Pac Again to this spot. Shane Stephenson bought Pac from Mike Gilbert three months ago after Mike had gotten the young hound going. In the time that Mike had him, he took Pac to some hunts and won some money on him. However, no one planned that those earnings would end up with Pac at this year’s Pup Shoot Out. Mike was going to hunt another hound and Shane had plans with his daughter to travel to her barrel racing events. When a cancellation occurred, Pac was called up to the plate to play at the Isle of Capri Casino, but the big question was with who was going to handle him?

It would be a crazy set of circumstances that would enable Pac to make it to tonight’s Final Four. Billy Bell described how everything transpired, “It was really quick. On Tuesday, I got a call from Josh Watson who asked if I had anything to hunt in this. I did not and he asked if I wanted to hunt Pac. Josh came up to my house on Thursday. We made two drops with him and that was all I hunted with him until last night. Tonight will be the third night that I have been out with Pac. What I can say about the dogs that we have now is that I have hunted with many of the dogs that they came from. They take to certain traits in their bloodline and it makes it easier to figure out what they are going to do. It is kind of like with your family, there may be someone that you relate to and that you mimic more whether it was your dad, grandfather, uncle and it is no different in these dogs.”

Billy’s knowledge of Pac’s pedigree has played a part into getting him into the Final Four. That pedigree is also what made Shane Stephenson want to buy Pac in the first place. Shane talked about this, “Pac is out of Mike’s line of dogs being out of Shot Through the World, out of Mike’s Cowboy and What’s Up Casey. Pac is also loaded up on Bellar’s bloodline and I have always like this breeding. His mother goes back to Bellar’s Psycho and Janis Joplin. Once I learned Mike had him, I set my eye on him. I had tried several dogs before hunting with him.”

Another thing that Shane liked about Pac was his hunting style and he talked about it, “Pac is a very, very smart dog with a lot of sense. I like his heart and how he wants to be by himself. He has a lot of drive and heart and is good about having his coons. I bought him back in August in the summer and he is the same dog in the summer as he was in the winter.”

It was crazy how Pac and Billy ended up at the Isle of Capri this weekend, but all the cards fell right into place! After getting registered and pictures taken, Billy and Pac Again started off their second night of hunting together in the company of Ocean Drive’s Snooki’s Cookie handled by Justin Davenport, Buck Creek Showtime handled by Kenneth Zuspan, and Get Deep Spark handled by Chris Simmons. Billy talked about how things went for them, “Pac started off and treed a coon for 75 and 100 points. The English had 200 points on a coon. Pac got a part of that one and that put him up. Then he treed a den. At the end of the hunt, the English was treed and Cookie was treed. Anyone could have the win. Neither one had a coon, so I dodged two bullets and won.”

On the late round, Pac and Billy drew out with J&W Ohio River Sage handled by Kevin Cable, Teaquila’s Wedding Bells handled by Daryl Guess, and Timber Rattlin Nine to Five handed by Bartlett Kimbrough. They won with 125 plus points. This was an easy cast for Billy to recall and he said, “Pac treed only coon that we saw.”
Now Billy and Pac have defied some major odds to get to tonight’s Final Four. Billy talked about what it is that he hopes Pac will bring to this Final Four, “He reminds me of his sire Shot through the World and looks to tree. He does not pack up too much and seems independent. I do not know him that well yet, but from what I have seen him do the last two nights, he has treed a coon each night. He has at least found me one coon each time. I feel that by tonight he will be under a coon, it may just be one, but sometimes that is all it takes to win.”

Before they head out tonight, Billy wanted to express his thoughts and gratitude He shared, “I want to thank Shane right off the bat for allowing me to hunt Pac. Shane seems like a really good man and though we just met, I feel that I know him. He is tickled that I have him and am able hunt him up here.
I want to thank Mike Gilbert for putting in the leg work on Pac. I take no part in this success except to be able to showcase him for them. No matter what the outcome tonight, I do not think this will be the last hunt Pac will do well in. I want to thank Rodger Dale and Jarvis for all the work they put into this hunt. I want to thank my wife and kids for all the support they give me and allow me to come to these hunts. This has been a crazy week, my mom has not been doing well and this has been heavy on my heart. Life is shorter than people realize. I want to really thank God for all the blessings. Without Him we would not have all these things. I have been putting Him first in my everyday living than I used to.”

Shane also to express some major words of gratitude before Billy and Pac head out. He shared, “I want to thank Lenus Hall for recommending me to Mike and Pac. I want to thank Mike Gilbert for selling me Pac and for being such a good friend. I want to thank Josh Watson for getting Billy Bell involved. Most importantly, I want to thank Billy for stepping up, he really just got thrown into the mix.”


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GCH Tyner Creek Spice Girl
Owned by Guthrie/Yarbrough
Handled by Nathan Guthrie

It is a little ironic that Nathan Guthrie is at the Isle of Capri Casino this month for the ticket that he earned by attending and winning all four casts at the Bill Stokes’ Legacy Hunt in September! Now Nathan and Tyner Creek Spice Girl will be competing against Bill in tonight’s Final Four! Nathan and his partner Devin Yarbrough are hoping that their good fortune continues and they will be heading back home in a new truck!

Nathan has coon hunted his whole life with his grandfather and dad, but he has not been in the competition end of the sport for very long. It has only been in the past decade that he started in the competitive side of things and it is with three year old Spice Girl out of Somewhere’s Stylish Coma and Crazy X-Girlfriend that he has been able to experience some bigger achievements.

Spice girl earned her truck ticket in September with four cast wins on Friday and Saturday at the Bill Stokes’ Legacy hunt and an early round win at a Legacy hunt in Oklahoma. At the end of September, she got into the Final Four of the Fall Senior Super Stakes and ended up placing second overall. Though he is an avid deer hunter and does not usually attend the PKC World Championship due to that, since Spice Girl was on a roll, Nathan took her to see how things would go for them. They ended up doubling up on Wednesday night, but getting beat early on Friday. This has not been a bad winning record considering Nathan and Devin have only owned Spice Girl for about a year.

Nathan talked about how they came to purchase their winning hound, “Philip Colson and Bill Bunnage got her from Eric Henry when she was about ten months old. They had her and I knew about her. They kept telling me how wild she was and what a coon treer she was. I like a big hunting dog because we do not many coons in my country. They did not want to sell her to start. My partner Devin Yarbrough and I finally got her bought a year ago. They did not put her in many hunts and she only had about $1000 won when we got her and now she has over $13, 000 won. Since the Super Stake and World, we have just pleasure hunted her.”

Though Spice Girl has had a little “vacation” for competition hunting, she quickly got back to “work” this weekend. Nathan and Spice Girl’s first round for the evening included Diamond Deuce handled by Jeremy Shafer, Bayou Macon Playboy handled by James Hughes, and Sunday Morning Sidewalk handled by Dale Kinder. She would win that early round with 325 plus points. Nathan talked about Spice Girl’s performance, “Our first round was a good hunt. At first where we went did not look great as we were in a lot of water. Spice Girl got first strike. Sidewalk got second strike and got treed. One other dog backed him and it was a slick. Spice Girl ended up treed with a coon. Sidewalk then treed two coons really quick. Playboy also treed a coon. I could hear Spice Girl in there treed, but did not have to call her right then. When Sidewalk treed the third coon, I was forced to tree her. We walked the hunt out going to her due to all the water. Spice Girl had a coon. We treed on six coons that cast.”

On the late round, the hunting looked like it would be better, but that did not end up to be the case. This time Nathan and Spice Girl drew out with Bob’s Bull being handled by Robert Vanosdol, Backwood Moto Man handled by Braeden Jones, and Power Stroke handled by Dennis Byrd. They would move on to the Final Four with a total score of zero on the card. Nathan described how things went for them, “It was tough cast. I do not know if the coons were moving then. It looked like a good bottom though it had a lot of water. Spice Girl did have first strike. Bull got treed first, but he was not right and took minus. He got hooked again and got treed, but left again. Moto treed and he had a den. Stroker treed a slick and was in the hole 150 points on it. Before that, I had treed Spice 800 yards away and we walked to her as they went to score Stroker. We waited 40 minutes for them to get there. It was a big tree with a hole and was circled. By the time we scored it and cut loose again, there were 21 minutes left in the hunt. One of the dogs treed again and it was slick. Then the hunt ran out. I did get struck in the opposite direction for 50 points before it was over and she was in the water. I went and caught her. The dogs really tried and hunted hard, but just could not find any coons. 200 circle was enough for us to pull off the win.”

Now Nathan and Devin are waiting to see what this Final Four is going to hold for them and Spice Girl. When asked about what he hopes to see from her, Nathan laughingly replied, “First Place! No, seriously, I feel that she is very capable. She is normally good about having coons and being by herself. I am just hoping that she will bring her A Game.”

So far, Spice Girl has been “hot” at the Isle of Capri Casino with her game play. She has a 1 in 4 chance of leaving there with a brand new truck for her owners. Before Nathan heads back out to see how it will all play out, he did want to extend some words of thanks. He shared, “Most of all, thank my wife Misty for putting up with all my long nights and being away when I do get to the hunts. I want to thank my two sons Danton and Treyton and my friends for all their support. I want to thank my partner Devin for his support. He is out here with me. We have partnered on several dogs the past four or five years and he has been a good partner and we get along great. Both Devin and I want to thank Phillip Cullison and Bill Bunnage for the opportunity to own Spice Girl.”


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SCH Tracker’s Lil Piper
Owned and handled by Duell Murphy

Duell Murphy has been having quite a streak of luck at the Isle of Capri Casino this month. Just at the beginning of it, he and Jason Smith’s Dark Side of Skuna River got into the Final Four of the Senior Showdown. Now Duell finds himself in tonight’s Final Four and he is hoping to end this weekend in the driver’s seat with Tracker’s Lil Piper. It is not often that you get an extra day in the month and an extra shot at winning a new truck, but tonight Duel is in that position!

Being in such a major position is still something that is fairly new for Duell. With only getting into coon hunting four years ago and only hunting regularly in PKC for the past three of them, he has experienced success by placing in four semi-finals of the six Pro Hunts and three semi-finals of the five Pro Classics that he has competed in. This month has been a major success for him in seeing his partner Jason Smith in the Final Four just weeks ago and now here he is in that same position. The Isle of Capri has been paying out for him and he is hoping that with tonight he is going to hit the big jackpot!

Tracker’s Lil Piper is the hound that has made tonight possible for Duell. She is a three year old out of CC Hoosier Tracker and T B O’s Lucy Lawless. Duell has owned her since she was a weaned pup. He talked about her, “Once I got her going, I took her to Dave Collins. He trains all my young dogs. What I like about her is that there have only been a few times that she has been completely out of a hunt to where she could not win. She will make something happen quick.”

That style has helped her do well in the hunts. Duell shared some of her bigger accomplishments so far, “Piper was in the Top Sixteen in last year’s State Hunt. She has gotten into a couple semi-finals for the Pro Hunts. She has earned a National ticket the past two years. We have never made it to the Super Stakes though due to her coming into heat and this spring will be her first time with her cycle. She qualified for this hunt in December when she was the highest earning pup that month.”

Duell brought in a partner on Piper with Levi Stephenson. The two partnered up on her a few months ago. Now Levi is in the same situation that Duell was in at this year’s Senior Showdown and he will be rooting his partner on. Duell is hoping that he can win the truck since coming so close just a few weeks ago.

The first step to that second chance was to make it through that first round. Duell and Piper drew out with Badlands Dooley Ck Gunner handled by Gary Magness, Backwater Poison Ivy handled by Danny Raper, and Hypersonic Wipeout Dang3r handled by Patrick Cribb. Duell and Lil Piper would finish that round with 600 plus. Duell described how that cast went, “All the dogs struck right out of truck and treed pretty close to us. Piper went in for second tree. They had a coon. We cut off of that and it only took a couple minutes before she was treed again with another coon. When I cut her off that one, she got off by herself and had a den. When I cut her off that tree, there was one other dog that could win and he got treed in. I ended up treeing her with 45 seconds left in the hunt. If the other dog has a coon, he beats me. If I have a coon, I still beat him. We both had a coon and she sealed the deal there.”

After their first round success, Duell and Lil Piper still had work to do. This time they headed back out to the woods with Backwater Widow Maker handled by Scot Gowen, Jammin Jenny handled by John Hyneman, and History’s Makin It Rain handled by Chris Bass. Duell and Piper would end this round with another impressive score with their 550 plus. Duell talked about that late round, “We went to the same woods as earlier. I would not mind going back there for the Final Four. Piper struck out of truck for 100 under a minute and treed first. She had a coon. I cut her off that and she got struck again. She treed again and had a coon. When we cut off that, we walked toward the other dogs. Piper ended up treed again and had a den. She had 325 points at that point. The next time that she treed, I took second tree to play it safe. There were 21 minutes left in the hunt and the others were down by two coons. We cut again and she treed fairly close to us and sealed the deal again. Everyone quit after that.”

Piper has put on quite the performance in each cast so far. Duell is hopeful that this continues into the Final Four. When asked what he is hoping that he will bring to this last cast of the weekend, Duell replied, I am hoping that she does the same thing she has done the last two casts. She always puts me in there to win it. All I can do is call her right and she has to do the rest. Hopefully we bring a truck home.”

Before he heads out to see just how it all turns out, Duell had some people that he wanted to mention for their support. He shared, “I want to thank Johnny Wadkins with Coon Hunter Supply for always having what I need. He also has one of the best lights on the market. I want to thank Deep Shaft Outdoors for always helping me out with things. I want to mention JC Calls that I use for a squallor. If there is coon, it brings it down. I want to thank Eric Emery for hunting Piper this kill season and keeping her in shape for me. I appreciate all he has done. I want to thank Kevin Cable for coming up once a week and hunting and showing me the ropes. I appreciate all my buddies who go hunting with me. This really is not a one man show. It takes a lot to keep these dogs in shape. #TeamRazor”


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SCH Got A Lot of Spots
Owned by Rodger Shabel
Handled by William (Bill) Stokes

There is no doubt that out of our four handlers at the Isle of Capri tonight that Bill Stokes has already overcome the odds in life to be a big winner! His PKC family is happy to see him back at the sport that has played such a big part in his life. When it comes to being lucky, no one can disagree that Bill has already proven that luck is on his side in life. After recovering from a life threatening accident, William not only made it to the Isle of Casino in Lula, Mississippi to be a part of this event, but now he is in tonight’s Final Four. This is not the first time that he and Rodger Shabel have been part of a hound in this position and tonight they are hoping to see if Bill and Got A Lot of Spots are going to keep up their lucky streak in life!

Getting a young dog going is not hard for Bill. If the dog has the talent, he will put in the boot work to bring it out. Three year old Spot out of Abbey’s Last Trip and Hayse’s Flyin Solo is one that Bill saw winning potential in. Rodger talked about how he came in on Spot, “I have owned Spot for about a year now. Bill really liked the pup and told me, ‘This is one we need’. We got him and Bill went on to win the State Race with him. Then he laid the pup up for a while.”

Unfortunately, it would be after that when Bill was critically injured on the job while logging. Though things were looking pretty grim, Bill’s family was there for him in every way possible and part of that support was even with Spot. Rodger shared, “Bill had to be real low key with recovery. His boy Jeff hunted Spot for his dad.”

Rodger has had several hounds get to the Final Four spot of the truck hunt over the years. He knows what it takes to make a winning hound and a winning handler team. Bill is a hard hunter and he has taken his quiet determination and applied it to competition hunting to be successful over the years. However, with all that has occurred, Rodger did not think that Bill would be taking Spot to this year’s Pup Shoot Out. He was sure surprised to learn that he was wrong! Rodger shared, “The day before he left, Bill called and told me that he was heading south. I am just amazed at how Bill has come back. There is no doubt that not only is he tough, but the good Lord had him covered through all this.”

For their first round, Bill and Spot drew out with Bones Big Zeus handled by Daniel Branham, Drop Dead Amtrack handled by Shaun Welch, and Gill’s Cash Money handled by John Gill. Not only was Bill back, but he was back with all the drive and determination in the world. Bill and Spot won that round with a nice score of 500 plus.

Bill and Spot found themselves joined on their late round by The American Power Trip being handled by Brett Denney, Rock N Redneck Girl being handled by Jason Martin, and Wipeout Zima being handled by Tony Bowman. They would continue their success and win the cast with 275 plus.

Bill had told Rodger that Spot was one that they needed and he was definitely telling the truth about that. No matter what challenges that Bill has had to go through having a loving family, supportive friends, and one heck of a young dog has brought him to tonight’s Final Four! It has left Rodger truly amazed and proud to be Bill’s friend. When asked about how he felt seeing them head out tonight, Rodger shared, “Spot is an awful nice dog and I am just enjoying the ride. Being a part of the Bill Stokes story is just an honor and a privilege. No matter win or lose tonight, Bill is a winner!”
Please prepare yourself and your hound. Hunt the dog, read the Blue Book, and your Good Book!
[email protected] @ 812.212.1619

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