By PKC National Youth Director; Amy Thomas
As much of the country gets ready for the big battle of Super Bowl Sunday, there are four handlers who have a bigger battle than that ahead of them at the Isle of Capri Casino in Lula, Mississippi as they hunt it off for a much bigger trophy – a brand new pickup truck from Cullman Auto Mall of Cullman Alabama. Sixty-four hounds and handlers showed up hoping to find themselves in this position, but there were only four talented and lucky ones who found themselves in this Final Four! It is a pretty interesting combination of handlers as they all live pretty close to each other and are well versed in how the others hound operate. This should be a pretty good Final Four! Now let’s take a closer look at these finalists:
Mojo’s Big Jed
Owned and Handled by Galen Ray Wagler
Galen Ray Wagler is the youngest of the Final Four at only eighteen years of age. This is Galen’s first time to hunt in the any of the truck hunts and he has truly started off the experience in quite the manner! Galen is down at the Isle of Capri with his trusty side kick and mentor Chris Bailey. These two have traveled many a mile together and now they are wondering if they will be traveling the rest of this year in style with a brand new truck!
The hound that has gotten Galen to this spot is a five year old Walker male directly off of PCH Boogar Hollow Mojo and SC Skuna River Bark’N Bell. Galen has owned Jed for about a year now. He talked about how he came to own him, “We were looking for a dog and Scotty Christen and Gus Berry said that they had one there. I talked to my dad about getting it and he sponsored me with the money. We went down and bought Jed and he has been quite the hound for me already.”
When asked what it is about Jed that he likes, Galen said, “When you turn him loose, he strikes quick and honest. He is very independent. He is also very consistent and very accurate.”
Jed has earned Galen this truck ticket and a Youth Nationals ticket. This is the biggest achievement that they have so far though. Galen shared, “This is really the first time that I have pushed him. When I first got him, I broke my arm and could not push him real hard. I won some added money hunts, but nothing really big.”
Galen and Jed started off winning their early round on Friday with 200 plus after drawing out against Big Top with Blaise Bauer; History in the Makin with Lee Varner; and Trespassing Polo with Dillon Bradshaw. He talked about how the cast went, “We started off in some nice woods. When we turned them loose, they struck off the leash. I struck Jed for 100 points. Two of the dogs treed with a den, but Jed went deeper. Then I did not hear him for about five minutes. He kept circling around. Finally he came about 300 yards away from us and let loose eight big locates. I treed him and he had a coon. I recast and they all struck back in for 25 points. The other dogs treed a circle. By that point, the dogs had left the first woods that we were in and got into a big batch of little green trees. It was rough getting to them. Jed finally treed again and had a den. It took a while for him to tree that one. We only got treed twice since it took so long to get to them after they got out of the first woods.
Galen and Jed would finish up their night with the second and much desired cast win with their 375 points. This time they would find themselves joined by Zelda-Dee and Dustin Litwiller; River Swamp Crow and Andrew Bryan; and Wild Crow and Asa Briggs Jr. Galen shared how the late round went, “We turned loose in a valley. A lot of dogs babble before the minute, but Jed does not. He made one little bark and then he went about 100 yards and opened before the minute. He took the track over the hill and across the road. He threw some big old locates and I treed him. He had a coon up a little, small tree. I recast and Zelda Dee struck in for another 100 points and he struck right in behind her for 75 points. Then the Bluetick got treed with a coon. I got down to 50 and I was worried the Bluetick would tree another coon and beat me. Then the dogs all got into a swamp. Jed finally got out of there and fell treed. He was by himself with an hour and eight minute left in the hunt. We had to go though some serious swamp to get to him. He had a coon in that one too.”
Galen and Jed are now facing the biggest moment so far in their coon hunting career by being in tonight’s Final Four. Galen talked about how he feels, “I am a little nervous. I am very proud of what Jed has accomplished. This is the biggest event I have ever placed in. I am proud of him and what he has done for me.”
When asked if there any people that he wanted to mention before going out tonight, Galen said, “I want to give a big thank you to Chris Bailey. When I started hunting, I had two dogs that were no good. I was so burned out and was getting ready to quit. Chris gave me a female named Callie and she would tree a possum as quick as she would tree a coon, but I did not care. Chris drives me around to all these hunts and has been very good to me. I also want to thank my family and everyone for letting me hunt. I also want to thank my dad for sponsoring me. He allows me to hunt every night that I want to. I also have to mention the J.C Call that Scotty Christen makes. I do not know if I would have found my coons without it. I want to thank Trent Wagler who goes hunting with me all the time and helps me do a lot of my training. Finally, I want to thank PKC for all they do and making this all possible. I have had good hunting and good judges and everyone has gotten along. It has been an awesome hunt so far.”
Now the moment has come for Galen to find out if he and Jed can finish their first trip to the truck hunt in the biggest of ways. When asked what he would do if they are the winners, Galen said, “I always said that if I got close to winning it, then I would keep it. I will have to see when the time comes. I never dreamed that I would ever be in the position to win it. It has been fun.”
Spring Hollow Major Pain
Owned and Handled by David Blake
Spring Hollow Major Pain spent his sixth birthday yesterday bringing in two cast wins down at the Isle of Capri Casino. It was quite the way to ring in the new year of his life and David Blake may be the one getting the birthday present if the two can rise to the top of tonight’s Final Four!
For David, this is not his first time to the truck hunt. In fact, David is the oldest of our four handlers tonight. In fact, David has some history with this event. He was in the very first one and he also placed second in it in the early 2000’s. David talked about these experiences, “I have been here before. I hunted in the very first one they ever had. There were only 12 pups that were in it back then. The pup that I had won my ticket with got killed and I got to replace him, but I did not do any good. Then Bobby Burden got sick several years ago and I hunted Echo for him and got second place. That was the year that Tequila Sunrise won the truck. I have been at this for a while.”
Tonight it is Major who has gotten David into this Final Four round. David got Major from John Harris when he was just eight months old. Major is out of a dog from Alabama named CH Allen Creek Big Lightning and CH Yellow Hammer Jackie. David shared what it is about Major that he likes, “He is very independent and stays by himself all the time. Major is super accurate and has a coon when he trees. You can also hear him. He is big hunting dog and he has a good mouth.”
Over his years of owning him, Major has placed in the Final Four of the three year old Super Stakes division, doubled up at the World Hunt every time he was there, and won the Jason Daugherty Invitational last year. Now the two can add the Senior Showdown Final Four to their resume and they are hoping that winning the truck will be added in behind that credential!
After arriving to the Isle of Capri, David and Major found themselves drawing out early against Wipeout Threat and Brett Denney; Quick&Ez and Tyler Clay; and Alabama Lick and Dalton Talley. David and Major were the only ones to have plus points and won the cast with 325 plus. David shared how that round went, “Major had a 100 and a 100 on a coon by himself about 850 yards from us. Then he got 25 and a 100 on another coon by himself over a mile from us on that second one. We were in hills and it about killed me.”
Luckily the hills did not do him in because even with that first cast win under their belt, David and Major still had another round late Friday. This time they drew out with Jim and Spencer Brown; Shaft and Luke Williams; and Premo and Robert Halfacre. David and Major would win that round with 250 plus. David shared how this round went, “We turned loose and their dogs went right handed and struck in. Major went to the left and I struck him for 25 points. Major treed a coon. We went back to score the other dogs. They had a den and a slick. At the end of the hunt, he was a mile away and the stationary was put on Major. I had to tree him. We went in there and he had a coon. The others never did tree one.”
That late round win has brought David back to a spot that he has been before and he knows that it is just up to who gets the lucky breaks in the end. When asked about how he feels getting ready to head out tonight, David replied, “It is just another day. It is what it is. Major is pretty consistent at what he does, so I think he will do the same thing. It really is just a lot of luck especially when hunting one like him who is going to be in the opposite direction of the other dogs. If he has a coon that way then good deal. If they have one where they are then I am beat. He is liable to walk you to death in the process.”
Winning the new truck from Cullman Auto Mall would be quite the way to celebrate Major’s sixth birthday weekend and David has some plans for it if it does happen, “I retired five years ago and all I do now is hunt. I appreciate my wife not fussing every night that I go hunting. I told her if I won the truck, I was going to give it to her.”
Also, David wanted to take a moment before this last cast to express some gratitude to those supporting him, “I appreciate everyone who has called, texted, or posted on Facebook congratulating me and wishing me good luck!”
High Stylen Straight Edge
Owned by Berry/Sweet
Handled by Ki Roberts
Ki Roberts started hunting as a youth with Kyle Short and Kevin Cable and it is very fitting that tonight he finds himself in the Final Four up against Kevin with a hound that Kyle set him up with. The circumstances that have led him her tonight sure have brought him full circle in life!
Ki is handing High Stylen Straight Edge, a five year old Walker out of High Stylen Rowdy and High Stylen Rapsy. Edge was originally owned by Gus Berry and Kyle Short. When Ki broke his hand at work, he had some mandatory time off and decided to keep the boredom away with some hunting. He talked about how he ended up handling Edge, “I was going to be off work for three months so I called Kyle up about getting a dog to hunt. Kyle was not hunting much and he told me to come get Edge and hunt him. I got to hunting him and liking him. Then I hit some hunts and started winning them. They were wanting to sell Edge. Since I have always hunted for Eric Sweet, I called him and told him about Edge. It just so happened that Gus was visiting in Florida where Eric was and they met up. They decided to partner up on Edge and let me handle him.”
It would be different for Ki and Eric to now have a dog running in the state of Indiana as all their other joint projects have been part of the Florida State race. That got the two excited to push Edge even more. Ki talked about this, “I decided I was going to try to win the Indiana race in July. We won around $5,000 with added purses in two months. We won the Legacy Hunt in Junction, Illinois. I ended up only getting beat out of the state race by $100. Edge has won or gotten in everything that we have taken him to so far.”
When asked what it is it that he liked about Edge, Ki replied, “He is independent. He just has a lot of heart and tries to have a coon. He does not miss too many too often. He is pretty good at staying by himself and out of trouble.”
That description is exactly what Edge has put forth since arriving at the Isle of Capri. Ki and Edge began Friday night by winning their first cast with 75 plus against Wipeout Andy and Chad Doolin; Sissy and Shawn Harrell; and Wipeout Crayz and Chris Sterrett. Ki detailed how that early round went, “It was a crazy round. I told you that he does not miss too much, but I do not know what happened there. He treed the only three coons that we scored on, but he had two slicks too. They were all layup coons and he just missed a couple. Andy treed a den right out of the truck. Sissy struck for 100 points and treed for 25 points. Crazy was struck for 75 points and was at our tree, but never treed. Sissy and Crazy just trailed the rest of the night. At one point, I was winning on the tie breaker and Edge got treed in the water and was slick; that put Sissy in the lead. Then I messed up and struck the wrong dog and took 50 minus with an hour to go. I thought it was over then. Luckily, he blew through the woods about a mile and got treed with a coon. Then he treed another coon about 500 yards from that one. Sissy got treed again and if she had a coon she won, but she left.”
After their warm up round that helped work out the kinks from the drive, Ki and Edge were primed for their late round. This time they would draw out against Combo and Doug Blackwell Jr; Little Booger and Landon Pearrow; and Sport and Steve Gowen. Ki and Edge won this round with 375 plus. Ki described how this cast went, “Booger struck in for 100 points and Combo struck for 75 points. They hit a track as soon as we cut. Edge and the other dog never barked. It ended up that when they got in about 300 yards they slowed up. Then Edge got treed in there. He had a coon for 150 points. Combo then treed and also had a coon. Booger came treed on a fence edge and had a coon. Sport was handled at our tree. We recut and Combo struck for 100 points, Booger for 75 points, and Edge for 50 points. They were just running in there and beating around. Edge blew out and made a loop and treed. Combo went left-handed. Booger went to Edge, but the tree was dead so he took minus. Combo barked and we recut. They went over into a field. I went into defense and just hung back. I had that slick tree from earlier in my mind. Booger treed for 100 points and I treed for 75 points, we pulled off that and Combo came back in and took strike minus. Sport also came in and took minus. We recut and Booger struck back in for 100 points, Edge for 75 points, and Combo for 50 points. Combo did a good job and was treed shortly after for 100 points. He had a coon. Edge was treed and had the stationary put on him. I knew he was not right. Combo went in to him and he treed Combo for 100 points. I waited and treed in for 25 points. We got there and Edge was headed out of there and came off the tree. It was a den. I took 25 minus. Combo had 175 points at that point, Booger had 250 points, and Edge had 375 points. Booger was about 15 yards from there. We recut and Combo got struck back in for 25 points and I knew he could not beat me. Combo treed again, but the two minutes got him. Combo treed again at the end of the hunt. Edge also treed at the end of the hunt, but I knew I could not be beat so I did not tree him. Edge did have another coon when I went to him.”
It was an exciting two rounds that got Edge and Ki into the Final Four. Now the most important cast is ahead of them. When asked about how he feels as he gets ready to head out tonight, Ki replied, “Edge looked really good late. He has been looking good lately. I ran him down this summer going to all those hunts, so since then I have just been pleasure hunting outside of going to the Claremont Legacy hunt. Edge is good and healthy and the hunting around here is a lot like around my house. The terrain is not too much different and Edge is fast; if coons are moving he can tree them with the best of them.”
The two are about to see how this weekend end up for them, but before going out on tonight’s Final Four, Ki had some people that he wanted to mention, “I want to mention Gus Berry and Eric Sweet, of course. If not for Eric I would not be going to many hunts. It is also fun to be going out with Kevin Cable. I started out hunting with Kyle Short and Kevin and we spent weeks together on the road. I learned a lot from both of them. Galen Wagler lives right down the road from me and we pleasure hunt together. David only lives about an hour from us. There is tough competition around home and any of these dogs could win if they are operating well.”
Money Maxed Out
Owned by Cable/Danner
Handed by Kevin Cable
For Kevin Cable a win tonight would bring him his second truck hunt win. In 2015, after the Pup Shoot Out, he and Big Money returned home from the Isle of Capri with their first truck. With the miles that Kevin, his wife Angie, and their son Jaxon put on a truck coon hunting and showing dogs, a new one four years later would be a welcomed addition to the Cable family. Kevin and Money are just one cast away from making that happen.
PCH Big Money brought home Kevin’s first truck and it is very fitting that this time it is his son Money Maxed Out aka “Little Money” that may be bringing home another. Big Money was quite the hound for Kevin and he has proven himself as a reproducer and for that Kevin is quite grateful. Little Money is a five year old off of him and CH Wipeout Page. Page has also made quite a name for herself by throwing a Super Stakes Champion and two World Champions.
Little Money has definitely done his fair share of ‘big money’ winning for Kevin. This hound is quite a winner and when he shows up, he is going to be a contender. Some of his larger accomplishments include winning the PKC Pro Division, the ACHA World, and accumulating right around $50,000 in earnings.
Kevin shared what it is that he likes about him, “Little Money is just really consistent and does the same thing every time you turn him loose. He will be by himself with a coon and stays out of trouble.”
Kevin and Little Money definitely earned their spot into tonight’s Final Four. Each cast yesterday was pretty competitive and close. Friday’s early round was a coon treeing cast when Kevin and Money drew out against She’s Got Style and Wyatt Wright III; Jewel and Mary Elizabeth Sigmon; and Rage and Henry Blessing. Kevin and Money emerged the winners with their 575 plus points. Kevin described how his first round went, “We treed nine singles and Money treed four by himself. I won in the last 32 seconds of the cast. Wyatt was winning at the end of the hunt when he had a coon and I was down 25 points at that point. Then I treed Little Money a mile in. He had a coon and that put me in the lead.”
Scores were again close for Kevin and Money in the late round. The two found themselves heading back out against Fly and Mike Deen; Shady and Landon Dodd; and Gypsy and Shane Groves. Kevin and Money won the cast with 150 plus points. Kevin shared how that late round went, “Little Money treed a coon right out of truck for 50 and 100 points. Gypsy had 75 strike and covered me for 25 points. We cut back loose and were in knee to waist deep water. Fly treed a coon for 25 and 100 points. Then we cut back loose off that and stood there forever. Money finally got treed. When we got to him, he was in knee deep water on a den tree. Gypsy was treed about 500 yards away and had a coon. Fly treed and as we headed to her, Shane treed Gypsy again, but she left. That put me in the lead again. Fly treed again, but it was a den. It took me about two hours to get to Money after the hunt. I had to pretty much swim to get to him.”
Now Kevin is back in a familiar spot and he is hoping that tonight Little Money will be a chip off the old block and bring home the truck like his father Big Money did not too long ago. When asked about how he feels heading out tonight, Kevin replied, “I feel pretty good. The dog is in good shape. He feels good and has been operating right about the last month or so. This is almost $30 event at home with this cast. They all live about an hour and a half from me.”
Kevin also had some people that he wanted to mention before him and Money head out tonight. He shared, “I want to thank my wife Angie for all her support. I wish she could be here with me, but she stayed home and is caring for all our dogs. I would like to thank my dad for coming down her with me. I would like to thank my partner Larry Danner. We have been good together as partners. I would also like to thank Josh Michaelis of Big Game Calls. Lastly, I want to thank Shane Groves, Hunter Jones and Roger Miller for helping me get my dog when the hunt was over.”
The dogs, owners and handlers listed herein have won a prestigious PKC Truck Hunt in the years indicated.
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- Director - Field Operations
- Posts: 5333
- Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:11 pm
- PKC Name: Jerry Moll
- City, State: Batesville, IN
- PKC Member Since: 02 Feb 1989
- Lifetime Handler Earnings: $29,791
- Cell #: 812-212-1619
Please prepare yourself and your hound. Hunt the dog, read the Blue Book, and your Good Book!
[email protected] @ 812.212.1619
[email protected] @ 812.212.1619