Lula, MS -
Saturday February 03, 2018
By PKC National Youth Director, Amy Thomas
All year, many dedicated PKC hunters travel thousands of miles to try to win enough money to qualify for a truck ticket. Sometimes the ticket and spot comes easy and sometimes it is by Divine intervention that someone gets to show up to try to win the truck sponsored by Cullman Auto Mall, PKC, Purina, and the Isle of Capri Casino. This year the Senior Showdown has three finalist who had their tickets in hand and knew they were heading to Lula, Mississippi and one finalist who got all the lucky breaks to be able to be there in the first place. However, one thing that all four of these finalist and hounds have in common is that no one doubts that they all have a pretty even shot at ending up in the driver’s seat of the new truck. These are good handlers and proven hounds and only time will tell who will pair up ability and lucky breaks to end up as the big winner!
Let’s take a moment to read about our four finalist before they set out on the last part of this weekend’s journey!
Spavinaw Creek Insane Emmy owned and handled by Lane Denny
Lane Denny knows what it feels like to win big. This young man from Oklahoma was the 2014 PKC Youth World Champion with this same Walker female that has him in tonight’s Final Four - Spavinaw Creek Insane Emmy. The two have done a lot of growing up and maturing since then which only benefits them as they head out tonight to try to win the truck. However, though Lane is now 21 years old and can actually walk through the casino to get from place to place, he still has a baby face and has been carded time and time again. At least he looks like he is old enough to drive a truck home!
Lane learned all about coon hunting from some of the best and most meaningful people in his life…his dad and his mentor Carl Reed. His dad had grown up pleasure hunting, but got out of it for a bit while he established himself in life. Once Lane came along and got to an age that he was interested in coon hunting, his father brought home two coon hound pups and that started the chain of events that got Lane where he is tonight. When Lane ventured into competition hunting, he met Carl and that was when Lane really began to learn about handling – not only a hound, but himself as a person in the hunts. Carl has instilled in Lane the creed of doing things the right way. Looks like that has paid off!
The hound that has Lane where he is tonight is five year old Emmy. Emmy had just turned two when she won the PKC Youth World Championship for Lane. Now she is at a prime time for competition hunting – young enough to have the gas needed and experienced enough to have the smarts to make the trip the best one possible. Emmy is out of Gorgeous Gomer and is a granddaughter to Rat Attack along with being double Nailor bred. Lane has owned her since she was ten months old and the two have grown up together. Now they are wondering if they are going to be driving home in a truck they won together this weekend.
Lane has been pretty quiet on the competition scene for the past couple years. He has finished diesel mechanic school and is working for his brother. He has been pleasure hunting a lot and has also began handling Ringo, an English hound, for Devon Yarbrough. He has placed Ringo in some events for Devon. Last year, Lane and Emmy won their state race and that goal is what got them to the Isle of Capri this weekend. However, it was not accomplished as one might have expected. Lane talked about all the factors that came together to get them to this spot, “So much had to happen for us to get here. We ran for a ticket in the month for May, but got beat by $40 dollars… so basically one cast win. Then in the month of September, we were just trying to keep State Race Lead and got in at the Little Dixie and at an added purse in Kansas, but got beat by a few dollars again. Then I just hoped for an at-large spot. I was hoping for someone not to come. Brandon Coselman’s dog came in heat and that is how we got here. So many things had to happen for us to be here and they did. I am blessed for sure.”
The lucky breaks just continued for Lane at Emmy as they started off Friday night. Emmy won her early round with 175 plus and Lane talked about how their early round went and the turn that went their way to get them the win, “It went well. When we cut the dogs loose, Sugar struck for 100 points and Emmy struck for 75 points. They were working close to us when the other two dogs got struck through the country. Sugar treed within 300 to 400 yards of us, but she had a slick. After we heard Gene’s dog open, Sugar was restruck. We tried to tighten up on Emmy, but she just kept going further. We were hunting in the hills. Sugar treed again on a den. Then Gene’s dog came in and took strike minus. Reid’s dog was out of the country in the opposite direction. We could not hear Emmy and the six was on her. I asked Doug if we could walk and we got to the top of a hill. That was when we finally heard Emmy. Reid’s dog worked back toward her and also got treed. Emmy had a coon. We got back into hearing of Reid’s dog and he also had a coon. Sugar got treed in the meantime, which leash locked Emmy. That was how the early round went. It was crazy that we heard her in those hills at practically a mile away, but somehow we did. It was just a lucky break.”
Two lucky breaks had gotten lane to the late round. This would be an action packed one, well at least for the first hour or so, and they would end up winning that cast with 400 plus points. Lane discussed how that round went, “The first hour was really exciting. We cut loose and all the dogs struck close to where we cut. Emmy struck in for 100 points and the rest piled in behind her. The other three dogs went to the right and Emmy went to the left more and then came around to the right. All the dogs got treed. Brad and I went to handle Emmy. Tracy went with the cast. One dog was slick and two of the others were together on a coon. I know on that first tree that Joe had 25 and 100 on that coon. Emmy also had a coon. When we recut, Emmy struck for 100 again. Emmy had another coon. Speedy got treed. Joe treed another coon for 125 points and Speedy had a coon. We had five coons in first hour. The last 40 minutes though, they spread apart and got through the country trailing. Nothing made a tree.”
Now they are about to head out on the last and most important cast of this weekend, Lane shared what strengths he feels that Emmy will bring to this Final Four, “She is just a dog and you never know how things will go, but if I have to say something about what I think she will bring, honestly, it is just her heart. She never gives up and has probably the most heart I have ever seen in a dog. No matter what she will give it everything she has. She has a lot of determination and grit. She also will be by herself.”
The time has come to see what Emmy has under the hood. There will be a fan club of people waiting to see how it all unfolds for her and Lane. Lane wanted to take this moment to mentions those who have been supporting him on this journey, “There are a lot of people I could thank because there are so many people out there who are trying to keep us motivated to win this truck. The number one person that I need to thank is God because there is so much that had to happen for us to get here. We are here hunting against three of the best dogs in the country. I cannot thank God enough for allowing me to do what I love night in and night out. It is amazing what a person can accomplish with God behind them. Then I also want to mention my mom, my dad, and my brother who are all so supportive. Of course, I have to mention Carl because without him, I would not be the dog person that I am today; he taught me the right from the wrong and the ins and the outs.”
There was one person who wanted to wish Lane good luck tonight and that was Cheyenne Cummings, who he will be heading out against. As Lane concluded this interview Cheyenne walked by and said, “Congratulations, but remember second place is not too bad either!” Lane ended his interview just in time for the trash talking to begin (though it was all in good humor!) Good luck tonight!
Redneck Backwoods Shack owned and handled by Cheyenne Cummings
Cheyenne Cummings has a reputation of being a very good sportsman and hunting a good hound. Now the time has come to see if Cheyenne’s next known for fact will be for winning a new truck at the Isle of Capri! Cheyenne is hunting a hound that he has bred, raised, and trained so a win of this magnitude would really mean the world to him.
Coon hunting has been a part of Cheyenne’s life as long as he can remember….no seriously! Cheyenne has been coon hunting since he was three or four years old. His grandfather and father along with his uncles on both sides all coon hunted. However, it was a gentleman who lived by him when he was a young kid by the name of Laverl Corey who got him started in competition hunting. Mr. Corey probably had no idea of what he was introducing into Cheyenne’s life at the time, but it was something that would be very defining. It also helps that his wife Jennifer loves the sport as much as Cheyenne!
Some of Cheyenne’s bigger wins have included getting into the semi-finals of the 2016 Nationals, winning the state race in 2015 and winning the Missouri pup and male race. Now Cheyenne can add getting into the 2018 Final Four of the Senior Dog Showdown to that resume and he is hoping to change that up from ‘getting into’ to ‘winning’ after tonight’s final round.
The hound that has gotten Cheyenne to this place is four year old Redneck Backwater Shack. Shack is out of Cheyenne’s male Redneck Mafia and High Country Ann. Cheyenne talked about what it is that he likes about Shack, “He is hard hunting and real accurate.”
Those qualities earned Shack his truck ticket for this weekend. Cheyenne talked about how they earned it, “We ran the local hunts and got on a roll. We won four or five casts the first week of the month and went from there.”
Shack and Cheyenne have been on a roll since they arrived at the Isle of Capri this weekend. Cheyenne talked about how their early round went that they won with 300 plus, “We had a good hunt and treed five coons. Right off the bat, I struck Shack for 100 points. The Tough dog got struck in for 50 points. They treed, but Thug was split from Shack. Shack had a den there and he had a coon. Then Shack treed three more coons. Both of the Walker females Wichita and Worm treed coons, but ended up taking some minus.”
They would continue their winning streak into the late round and won that with 225 plus. Cheyenne talked about how that cast went, “We cut them and Noff was struck for 100 points and I struck Shack for 75 point. Sampson struck in for 50 points and 3 D got in for 25 points. D had a coon and I had a coon. Sampson was further from us, but he was slick. We made some dens. Then Shack got 50 points on a coon that Sampson treed. 3 D then took 100 tree minus on one and that was how our hunt ended with a couple of dens between there.”
Going into the Finals tonight, Cheyenne shared his thoughts, “It is going to be a good one. These dogs are all good and they are all going to be by themselves. It will be about who is going to get the breaks.”
Before he heads out to see if Shack is the one that catches the breaks, Cheyenne wanted to share some words for those who been there along the way, “I want to thank all the judges who have helped out this weekend. I have had some really good judges here. I also want to thank my wife Jennifer for her support. She is down here with me and goes to all the hunts with me. She probably takes it more serious than I do!”
Cheyenne may have given Lane Denney, the youngest handler out there tonight, some smack talk earlier in the day, but he did eat with him and is excited to see the young man also in the Final Four. Cheyenne knows that he is getting ready to head out to the woods with some top-notch hounds and handlers and he is just hoping that Shack can put a new truck in the garage tomorrow for him and Jennifer!
Full Throttle Melt Down owned by Landreth/Landreth and handled by Dustin Weed
Last year Dustin Weed and Full Throttle Melt Down were sitting in this same position only it was for the Pup Shoot Out. Now the two are back at it and they are hoping that this opportunity is going to be the one that pays off for them in the form of a new truck! Dustin has been on this journey since he was a youth hunter and now as a grown man, father, and husband with the support of Andy and Dillon Landreth, he is going to try to bring home that truck for all those who have stood behind him on this journey that always leads him back to the Isle of Capri
Dustin Weed is also a young hunter whose father coon hunted and then got out of the sport. However, the stories his father told about his coon hunting stuck with his young son and lit a fire in him that has yet to be extinguished. Not only did Dustin get his dad back into it, but he started coon hunting himself and never looked back! Dustin’s life has been molded by coon hunting and he has hunted many good dogs for himself and for others. However, it was when he paired up with Andy Landreth that he would take competition coon hunting to an even higher elevation in his life…and it was already sitting pretty far up there!
Dustin and Meltdown were paired up under Andy and Dillon and the two of them came out of the gate together winning big for the Landreths. Right off the bat, the 12 model Walker off of Robert Stiver’s Full Throttle Jiggs won the National Male and Pup Leader that first year that Dustin began handling him for the Landreths. They have won all over the country in their years together, but the one place that they really want to win big at is in Lula, Mississippi! This is Dustin’s third time to make the Final Four of the truck hunt in his PKC career and as they say, “Three is a charm” or at least that what is being hoped for in the Weed/Landreth camp tonight!
Things started out well for Down and Dustin this weekend. They won their early round with a nice score of 450 plus. Dustin talked about how that cast went for them, “We had a good hunt. Down treed four coons and the rest of the cast quit with about twenty minutes left in the hunt.”
Then Dustin and Down were back at it and won their late round with 300 plus. Dustin talked about that hunt, “In the first 35 to 40 minutes, Down treed two coons. None of the other dogs made a tree. After that though, he ran the rest of the night and never made another tree.”
Five year old Down already had a good start on winning leading up to this year’s truck hunt. In fact, he has been on a pretty good roll. Andy talked about his performance lately, “Last month, we took him to the Lonestar 5000. We only hunted two nights there, but got him in on one of them. Then we took him to the Black Eye Pea Classic. Down got in on Thursday and they hunted it off and ended up with second place. Down got in on Friday and they hunted it off and got second place gain. Then on Saturday night, they got into the Final Four and split it.”
With the performance that Down has shown lately, Andy is hoping that continues all the way to the end of this last round. When asked what strengths he feels Down and Dustin will bring to this Final Four, Andy stated, “Consistency is all I know to say. They have been doing well treeing those coons consistently here lately. Dustin is confident. We have been a pretty good roll for the last month, so I feel his confidence is really good. I only hope that we have not used all our winning streak up – maybe we got one more win left in him!”
Dustin added what he feels that Down will bring to this Final Four, “He never gives up. You always have a chance to win when you cut him loose.”
There will be quite the fan club at the Isle of Capri to root them on. Andy stated, “We have a lot of family and friends down here already and seven or eight more coming. There will be a good crowd rooting us on. We do want to take this time to thank everyone for their support. We also want to thank PKC for putting the money that we have been shooting for on the line. We want to thank all the judges and everyone who works so hard to put this hunt on for us.”
Dustin also wanted to thank those who are there for him tonight as he tries to see if three really is charmed, he added, “I want to thank my family and Andy and Dillon for making it possible for me to be here. I also want to thank PKC for putting on a great hunt!”
Down has proven himself a winner all over the country any time of year in any type of weather. However, it is Lula, Mississippi where Dustin Weed really hopes that Down’s next big win comes from. A lot of miles have been put in to make Down the dog he is today and it would be nice for Dustin, Dillon, and Andy if the next round of miles come from a truck that he won for them at the Isle of Capri!
Bad Habit Sambo owned and handled by Robbie Rhodes
Robbie Rhodes ended 2017 on a rough note, but no matter what a person’s opinion was about the situation that arose for him and Sambo, NO ONE can doubt the ability of this proven winner of a hound! Robbie knows what type of dog that he is packing and he is looking forward to seeing how things unfold for him tonight as he draws out with three other top notch hounds and handlers.
Robbie owes a lot of where he is tonight to a man named Randy Adcox, who he considers to be one of the best dog men in the country. Randy was also a man who was not too busy to take a young kid hunting. When Robbie was around twelve years old, Randy would come and pick him up and take him coon hunting. Robbie’s family hunted, but coon hunting was not one of those areas for them. Randy taking the time to take Robbie to the woods changed everything for him and it is part of what has gotten him in the Final Four tonight. Robbie also knows that he is packing a dog that has proven time and time again that he can win big and Robbie is just hoping that the two of them can catch the needed breaks to bring home the new truck!
Sambo has accomplished a lot in his five years of life. The crossbreed paring of a Walker/Bluetick is off of Eubank’s Bad Habit Bandit and Sweet Talkin’ Sally and has already won the Super Stakes and World Championships. Sambo got qualified for this Senior Showdown hunt in December of 2016. Robbie talked about that, “We hunted at the Palmetto Jamboree and there were 117 dogs; Sam got in the Final Four and we hunted it off and won. That was $638, but I was not sure that would be enough to get us a ticket. We went on and hunted some more and he ended up with over $900 to win for that month.”
That ticket won well over a year ago has now been cashed in and has Robbie and Sambo sitting in the Final Four! It has been a good weekend so far and Robbie is hoping that it continues that way. Their first round was a good start and Robbie got to see the other high caliber of dogs that were also there. Sambo and Robbie won their early round with 250 plus, but they drew out with Young’s Southern Grits who made the Final Four of the Pup Shoot Out last year and this year Grits was hot on their tails with 200 plus. Robbie talked about how that round went, “Grits is a super nice dog. It came down to the wire. When we cut loose, Sam struck for 25 points, but Grits was struck in for 50 points. After we pulled Freak off her tree, we could hear Sam through the country, so I treed him. About three minutes in, Grits treed with him for 25 points. When got there, they had coon. That put Sam at 125 plus points and Grits at 75 plus. We cut loose off that and Grits treed a coon putting him at 200 plus. Sam got treed in the opposite direction on a layup coon. At the end, Grits treed and if he had a coon, he would have won. It was a big den. I do want to say that Mr. Dennis who was hunting Grits was a super nice guy!”
The early win was a close one, but Robbie and Sambo pulled it off. That put them heading back out Friday night for the late round. This round had some sentimental meaning for Robbie. He talked about this, “A week ago today my grandpa passed away. I lived with him my whole life. We turned loose almost to the minute of the time that he passed away. When we cut loose nothing opened for five to six minutes, but then Sam struck for 100 points. Now he is not a first strike dog, so I knew I was good to go there if it all worked out. In the process, we had a dog tree in the opposite direction. We were hunting along the Mississippi River and we walked a good hour and a half to that dog. We were also walking away from Sam and Denney’s dog. That dog had a circle. So we went back to last place we heard Sam and Brett’s dog. We treed our dogs, but Brett took 100 minus and I took 75 minus. We walked our six minutes as fast as we could toward them. Brett treed in again for 100, but I laid back before I treed back in. They were split. Brett’s dog was circled and when we got to Sam, he was treed in a big hollow tree. I got on my knees and looked up in it and at a certain angle all you could see was the coon’s tail. The judge and cast all looked up in there and Sam won that cast with 125 plus.”
Now Robbie and Sambo are in the Final Four. When asked what strengths he feels Sambo will bring to this Final Four, Robbie replied, “I am not one to say anything positive about a dog. The only thing I will say is that as far as a dog goes, Sam is my best friend and we get along well. Final Fours are fun and everything, but what I love to do is pleasure hunt and knock coons down to him. I know that he is just a dog and he can look good or he can mess up. Whatever happens, happens and I am happy to be here. I am going up against some good dogs and dog men. What I can say is that I respect people who consistently win because they have to work really hard and they have to prepare to win.”
Before heading out, Robbie did want to give a shout out to those who have supported him along the way. He shared, “I want to thank everyone for the calls, texts and support. I want to thank my girlfriend for putting up with me going to the coon hunts. She is with me this weekend and has really enjoyed herself. I want to thank Elliot again for being an awesome partner. What I can say is that in life, when things get rough, you really find out who your friends are. I do not dwell on things in life and I can say that the past is behind me. People are always going to have their own opinions on things, but there really is more to what happened than meets the eye. I just appreciate all those who have stuck by me and are rooting us on for tonight.”
There is one thing that Robbie is also excited about as he heads out tonight and that is that he finally got to give an interview that people get to read! Good luck tonight Robbie and we wish you the best as Sambo heads out to show once again why he is in another important Final Four!
Now the time has come to see which of our Final Four will be the lucky ones to drive home with a new truck sponsored by PKC, Purina, the Isle of Capri, and Cullman Auto Mall! Good luck to everyone!
The dogs, owners and handlers listed herein have won a prestigious PKC Truck Hunt in the years indicated.
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