Southeastern Treeing Walker Days

American Cooner, April 2012AMERICAN COONER – The 2012 Southeastern Walker Days bench show was more than just an Overall Bench Show win for Lisa Hunziker and her well-built, six year old Walker male Grand Champion ‘PR’ Red Eagle Comin’ 2 Your City.  It was proof that many years of faithful friendship and good breeding programs do pay off!  Not only did City bring back to his hometown of Pomona , Illinois the big honors of the Overall Win, but he proved that he truly has the foundation from which others can build their own little ‘cities’. City’s daughter , ‘PR’ Ky River Bella, owned by the Currens family, was by his side in the winner’s circle at this year’s SETW Days Bench Show as the Opposite Sex Winner. It was a moment of true accomplishment for Lisa Hunziker and Lee Currens.

After getting involved in the sport in the 90’s, Lisa Hunziker has dedicated her life to the Walker breed that she has enjoyed hunting and showing for so many years now. Not only has she been active in the competitive side of the sport, she has also met some wonderful people there. One of these people added much to her life as a friend, but he would also go on to play a part in the Walker hounds that she has today, including this year’s SETW Days Overall Winner Comin’ 2 Your City. That person is Lee Currens. Lee’s Kentucky River Walkers have played a valuable piece in Lisa’s creation of her own line of hunting show dogs that have evolved from that very first female she owned – Gr Ch Lisa’s Little Bandit.

Many years and generations later, Lisa would make the decision to raise her sixth generation of Walkers from Ch. Red Eagle Flying Hawk and her female Gr Ch Voigt’s and Currens Smooth Suke, from the Kentucky River line of hounds. She was not sure that her efforts were going to pay off though. “I didn’t even think she was going to have any. Only one pup was born and that was City.” It was just meant to be that City would become Lisa’s next generation of winners. In fact, he would win Lisa over right from the start.

“City was always special. He was an adorable, good, easy going, and smart pup. When City was little, he ran loose around the house. With him being the only pup, he pretty much ran the roost.”  Lisa would see at an early age that City had the makings to be a winner on the bench. “When he was nine months old, I was at Autumn Oaks and was working him on the bench. He took to it and went on to win his Puppy Class.”

Even as a pup though, City would make winning look easy. In his six years, City has created quite the bench show career resume. After that Puppy Class win at Autumn Oaks, Lisa started showing City in the PKC bench show program when he was just under a year old. He was not even be a year old when he was crowned King of the 2006 PKC Extravaganza. Then in 2007, City would go on to win the PKC Walker Days in May. Then less than six months later, at a very tender young age, City would win the first of his World titles for Lisa by being crowned the 2007 PKC World Bench Champion. Both Lisa and City were just getting started on their winning journey together.

City would continue his road to success by adding 3 Best of Breed wins in the UKC World Show and the St. Jude’s Hunt. He was been the Overall Male Winner at the Lee Crawford Bench Show and at the State Bench Shows of Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia. City has been the Overall Champion Male Winner at the American Heritage, the Grand American and Southeastern Treeing Walker Days. He has also been the Grand Champion Male Winner at several Breed Days, the Winter Classic, and Southeastern Treeing Walker Days. City has taken top honors as the Overall Bench Show Winner at the 2009 Treeing Walker and Fanciers Association Bench Show, 2011 Grand American Bench Show and the 2011 Winter Classic. Even more impressively, City added yet another World Show title to his and Lisa’s list of achievements by winning the 2009 AKC World Bench Show.

It has been a wonderful go with Comin’ 2 Your City for Lisa Hunziker. Their latest win at SETW Days was an unexpected one though. “Even though Southeastern is one of my favorite events, I really did not plan to show him at all. The main reason I had gone to the hunt was to pick up City Slicker for Bill Talley. City goes with me wherever I go so that was the only reason he was with me.”

City has thrown some very nice pups over the years and one of the owners of one of them was the catalyst behind Lisa deciding to go ahead and show City on Saturday. “I did not show him on Friday. Crystal Dawson owns a seven month old female pup off of City called Forbidden City Treasure. She was the person encouraging me to just go ahead and put him in on Saturday. I am so glad that I did.”

When it came down to it for Overall Winner, Lisa and  the other dogs had to go before a three judge panel of Alan Kalal, David Sessoms and Leo Nester for the final decision. In the end, Lisa and City would come out the unanimous Overall Winner. Even though this was a great honor, there was something that would be even more meaningful for Lisa…it was to see City’s daughter Ky River Bella crowned the Opposite Sex Winner.

Bella came from the cross of City onto All American Girl aka Brandy owned by Vera Bergbauer. Even though she took top-honors, Bella would not be the only of City’s offspring to have a good showing this weekend. “Crystal’s female Forbidden City Treasure won the Puppy Class. City Slicker, owned by Bill Talley of Arkansas, won the Champion Male Class.

Even though he wasn’t at SETW Days, that same weekend, Mike Seets won the Florida State Bench Show with Nite Champion, Grand Show Champion Preacher John the Rock, another of City’s sons.”

Lisa knows that a good breeding program is the key to the success that City and his pups have experienced. “City took about three years to really fill out, but that is part of a good foundation. It takes time to grow into  and I feel that is why he looks so good at his age now.”

As with an excellent breeding program, good friendships also take effort and time to truly develop. It is her cultivation of those with people like Lee Currens, Gary Hern, Vallen Nelson, Lonnie Mears, Sue

Ragsdale, and Janis Hunter that have not only added to her life, but those people have helped her better her line of Walker hounds whether it was by incorporating their dogs into her own or having them own and promote a piece of her own little part of Walker history with this chapter being all about Comin’ 2 Your City!

Lisa wanted to thank all of the City supporters and everyone who has a City pup or dog. “Go Team City!”  She also wanted to express her gratitude to the Southeastern membership for another huge honor at this event. “I really want to thank them for voting me Show Person of the Year.”

When Lisa rolled into Salisbury, North Carolina little did she know what going to that city would do for her and Comin’ 2 Your City! Congratulations on your much hoped for Overall Win at the 2012 Southeastern Treeing Walker Days Bench Show!

By Amy Thomas