2011 PKC World Hunt
Teamwork is summed up by the relationship between father Bill Griffin and son Josh, both from Cullman, Alabama, and builds to a huge win at this year’s PKC World Hunt, held in Salem, Illinois. Their impressive male Walker hound, Griffin’s Cross Creek Roller catapulted to the prestigious title of PKC World Champion, and now holds his place in history, with Josh at the helm.
Although Josh began hunting with his dad at about age ten, he became involved in school sports, and didn’t begin a solid competitive coonhunting career until about six years ago. He had gone back to pleasure hunting and from there things developed into a normal progression of things as he began competition hunting with his dad.
Josh shared, “Dad has always bought the dogs and stuff like that and we pleasure hunted together again. This just folded right into the competition side of things. So, yes, I started about six years ago. And I had a really significant thing happen to me about three years ago.
“Well, it’s not a thing—it’s a life-changing event. I got saved and accepted Christ three years ago and was actually coon hunting with a group of guys when it happened. My preacher— although he wasn’t at time—was there that night, and the dogs were treed when it happened. His name is Malcomb Carter.
“And my dad wasn’t there that night. He works offshore and has a schedule where he’s in for three weeks and offshore for three weeks. He was the first person I called the next morning. Of course I had told mom (Christine) about it when I came home that night. Now, I work as a manager for the local Chick Fil-A and I’m youth pastor at Grace Community Church in Holly Pond, Alabama. Now, Holly Pond is kind of like a suburb…” Josh laughed, “…that is actually in the outskirts of Cullman about ten miles. And my girlfriend’s name is Shauna Looney.” Josh also has a brother named Michael that’s 18 years old; Josh is the elder brother at 25.
In Josh’s competitive career thus far, he made it to the semifinals in the Top 64 of the PKC World Hunt, and also got in the semifinals of the Nationals one time, and in the Top 16 of the truck hunt one time. I asked about Roller and Josh told me, “We actually bought him this past January. I had hunted with him before and I liked the way he operated. He really likes to get by himself and he’s good about having coons and I liked what I saw. We got him from Mr. Walter Moore.
“But, I hadn’t actually taken Roller to any big hunts before the World Hunt. I mean, he was just in the state race and had $1400 in state money this past year. The World was his first big hunt. We have a truck ticket, too.
“And there’s a story to all this. A friend of mine, Michael Ward, and I started with something about three or four years ago when we were running the races. Oh, you know how people do… we were running and doing well. People started to talk a bit of trash, you know, and they’d say stuff like, “If he not in Cullman, he’s not going to do any good,” and well, Michael started messing with me. In a way he became my good luck charm. And that year I made the Top 64 he texted me every round, saying, “You’re not going to do any good— ha—because you’re not in Cullman,” and we’d do well.
“He texted this year all the way to the final cast. I’m superstitious. Now, Michael was there until Friday morning and then he went home. I went up to Flora with Dad and we got in on Monday. I hunted our other dog, Buck, on Monday night and had a good hunt. We actually treed a lot of coons but just got beat in the early round. We’ve had him for I guess five years.
“Then, on Tuesday I hunted Roller and didn’t do any good. On Wednesday night, Roller got a coon treed in the early round and I won that cast.
On the late round, Roller treed two coons and we had 75 and 100 on each of those two.”
“So, did you rest on Thursday night?” I asked. “No… on Thursday night I actually hunted again. We decided to re-enter Buck, but didn’t do any good.
“Then, on Friday night in the early round, I drew Clay Young with Hellbilly the Kid and Jackie Coomer was the judge. Anyway, we treed four singles and Roller struck for 25 and treed for 100 four times. He looked pretty good there.
“In the late round, I had Smokin’ Blue Roxy and Cody Westbrook, Tin Man and Steve Ratcliff, and Chunky River Singing Cricket, handled by Clint Jones. The dogs treed a coon together right off the bat and then Roller treed one by himself. With fourteen minutes to go, I almost blew it
because I made a bad call and struck the wrong dog. “You see, Roller had three barks on him, and I was gonna wait until the next bark to put him on the card. A dog squalled out, and I opened my mouth and I knew I struck the wrong dog the very second I did it. Now, there I was with 75 minus and that put me losing the cast with 13 minutes left.
But Roller got struck back in for 50 and then he got deep through the country. “Can you believe that with just over three minutes left, he got hooked and had a coon to pull us out of losing and back into winning the cast.
“You just don’t come back from a call like that! I told my dad on Wednesday that I felt like the Lord wanted us to win, because doing so would give me a chance to share my testimony with other hunters. And, even when I thought I had blown it on that cast, I just had a feeling that it still might work out—and then he treed that coon—but that was way too close for comfort!”
The final cast consisted of Skuna River Squeaky, a Walker female owned by Finley or Wegner and handled by Jed Finley; 4E Tricolor Bone Chiller, owned by Proulx or Gilbert or Eddins and handled by Duke Proulx; American Express, owned by Johnson or Sullivan and handled by Coy Sullivan, and Roller.
Continued Josh, “On Saturday in that final cast, we cut loose and in the first three minutes, Express slammed a coon right out of the truck. Squeaky got right-handed, it sounded. They treed, and Express had 200, where then Squeak was in for 25 and was split treed, so he went up to 100. Roll had 50 and 50. Then, Duke and Bone Chiller got treed, and on the card had 75 and 100. This leash locked all of us. Chiller was
on a circle tree.
“We cut back loose and Express treed for 100. Chill got treed behind us again and I could hear Roll and he sounded like he was coming treed and locating. I couldn’t hear Express any more. If he treed another coon that would put him way in front. I took 25 on the tree and the alternate judge went to Chill’s tree, which was circle. Express and Roll drew minus from unhooking off that tree, with Express at 100 minus and Roll at 25 minus. Squeaky treed for 100 and two got her.
“Then, Chill treed again and Squeaky backed him. Roll got on his own tree in there. We went in to score that tree and the Judge, Kevin Roberson, found the coon.”