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By Echo Menges
Elijah Ward, 16, of Edina has taken the top prize for the Professional Kennel Club’s 2020 Youth Showdown and brought home a handsome reward.
Ward and his dog Lady worked their way into the final four in the coon hunting competition taking first place on the final night of the series of hunts on Friday, December 18, 2020, in Lexington, TN.
Ward is being featured on the PKC’s website and Facebook page. Below is the introduction he was given before winning the grand prize:
Our last (but not least) finalist for tonight is sixteen year old Elijah Ward from Edina, Missouri. Elijah is the son of Maranda and Robert Ward. This is also his first time to this event. He talked about why he decided to come to it, “I heard about it and my friends were going, so I decided to come. It has been a pretty good event.”
Elijah has been coon hunting for about four years now. He has spent two of those competition hunting and he has had a pretty good run of success. Elijah shared how he got into it and some of his bigger wins, “My friend Davin York went and I went with him. Then I decided to start going myself. I was in the Final Four of Bear Creek Classic and won the Youth Championship part of it. I was also in the Final Four of Black and Tan Days and I have had other cast wins.”
Tonight, Elijah is hunting Lady, a Walker that he just bought at the PKC World Hunt. He really has not had a whole lot of time with her since she was in heat when he bought her. However, he described what he has quickly learned about her, “She is loud and good about having coons. She is usually independent.”
Elijah talked about how his rounds went on Friday night to get him and Lady into this Final Four, “My first round was not very good. We went into sudden death with circle points. The other dog treed a slick. On the late round, she covered on a coon. Then she went and treed a coon herself. After that she treed a den but that did not matter for the win.”
When asked how he felt about being in this Final Four, Elijah replied, “It is very exciting. I plan to just strike and tree my dog.”
Before heading out tonight, Elijah also wanted to express some words of gratitude and shared, “I want to thank my dad for helping me go to these events. I also want to mention Davin York and Wyatt Monen; we hunt together quite a bit and go to the hunts together.”