TN Youth Challenge Four Wheeler Hunt Final Four Interviews

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Amy Kovac-Thomas
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TN Youth Challenge Four Wheeler Hunt Final Four Interviews

Postby Amy Kovac-Thomas » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:12 pm

The 2018 Tennessee Youth Challenge 4 Wheeler Hunt Final Four
by Amy Thomas


Keith Randall Miniard with Tennessee Timber Rattler AJ


Sixteen year old Randall Miniard is the son of Keith and Karen Miniard. He lives in Harlen, Kentucky and is the eleventh grade. Keith started coon hunting two years ago. He talked about how he got started, “Where I come from there are a lot of bad things kids can get into and my parents wanted to keep me away from it. My dad felt if I was hunting, it would keep me out of other things. I started competition hunting last year in UKC hunts. Last night was my first PKC hunt and my first win.”

Keith talked about AJ who has gotten him here, “A J is not mine, but I handle him for Tim Tipton, David VanOver and Lance Belcher. I met David through my dad because they work together. David introduced me to Tim. Then I met Lance at a hunt in Morristown, Tennessee. I have been hunting AJ for about three months now with David in northern Kentucky to get to know him better. This is the first hunt that I have handled him at. I like him because of how accurate he is. When he parks, most of the time he will have a coon. I have only seen him slick tree twice.”

Keith talked about this event and how he felt, “I was looking through Prohound and saw it. I asked my dad about it. He called three times that morning before we got in. I was way excited for the opportunity to hunt for a four wheeler. I did not think that I would get this far.”

Keith described his early and late rounds, “We cast out and he went trailing about 400 yards. He backed the other dogs on the first tree. I got fourth strike and third tree on that one. We went to score it and it was a circle. We walked and cut loose again. He located about 30 yards in front of us and bee lined back to that tree. He treed on it again, but that was the end of the hunt. In the late round, we started out and I got struck for 75 points. AJ went 300 yards and treed on a creek bottom. We waited two minutes listening for other dogs, but he left and I got minused. Then the other dogs treed and we walked to them 400 yards further. When they cut their dogs loose off that, I could barely hear him. I called him, but he moved again and I got minused again. He trailed around again. With a minute and thirty left, I called him treed again about 380 yards. When we got to him, it was a den and we circled it. I was the only one to get circle on that cast.”

When it came to talking about going out tonight, Keith stated, “I am very nervous. I am not sure who all the dogs are, but if they made it to the Final Four they have to be pretty good. I am going to let him do his thing and if we do not win, we will try it another time.”

Keith had some people that he wanted to thank, “I want to thank my mom and dad for getting me into this and letting me do it. I want to thank Tim Tipton of Little T Hunting Supply; David VanOver for letting me take and get used to AJ; and Lance Belcher for partnering up on AJ and helping with entry fees.”

Ava Wallace with Coma Stylish Death Wish

Eleven year old Ava Wallace is the son of Justin and Katrina Wallace. She lives Cedar Grove, Tennessee and is in the sixth grade. Ava started coon hunting with her dad when she was three years old. She has been competition hunting since last year. She likes coon hunting because “It teaches you life lessons and you get to meet new people and I love to meet new people.”

Ava has been hunting Death Wish a little last year. She talked about how they began, “Death Wish was my brother’s dog, but I just started competition hunting her at the beginning of this year. I like Death Wish because over this amount of time, we have created a bond. This is one of the bigger things that I have won with her.”

Ava talked about why she is so excited about being a part of this four wheeler hunt, “I was excited first of all because I could win a four wheeler. I was also excited that I could see people that I met at the World. I also liked the thought of having my brothers in the hunt with me.”

Ava talked about her early and late round, “We had to go into an abandoned shed because it was raining so hard. Two of the cast members withdrew when they took minus. At the end, I treed my dog at the end and she was on a den with another dog. That is what won it for me. On the late round, I had 100 strike and 100 tree points, then I took some minus, but won the tie breaker on tree point.”

Ava then shared why she is so excited about tonight, “There are a lot of things running through my mind. I could win a four wheeler and I am hunting against older kids. If I beat them, it will feel like an accomplishment.”

Ava talked about some people that she would like to thank at this time, “First of all, I would like to thank William Wood and Tolton Johns for letting me hunt their dogs and for paying my entries on big and small hunts and supporting me. I would like to thank my family all their support with my hunting. I also want to thank all the people who encourage me and wish me luck.”


Isaiah Manley with Fancy Free


Fifteen year old Isaiah Manley is the son Kenny and Amanda Manley. Isaiah lives in Dixon Tennessee and is in the tenth grade. Isaiah started coon hunting when he was around eleven to twelve years old with his dad. Isaiah began competition hunting around that same time. This moment in the Final Four is his biggest accomplishment so far.

Isaiah hunted Fancy in the four wheeler hunt last year, but has not competition hunted her much since then. He has been pleasure hunting her. Isaiah talked about what he likes about her, “Fancy won a good bit last year for my dad. She is a good competition dog.”

When it came to a youth four wheeler hunt, Isaiah talked about what he thought, “I want to be a part of it because it is just for kids. I was here last year and it was a lot of fun. Last year, I did not do as well, so I am excited to be in the Final Four tonight.”

Isaiah got to this point after his two cast wins last night, he talked about how the early and late round went for him, “On the early round, I had 175 plus points. There was one other dog in the cast with plus points. On the late round, I had 200 plus. I had 150 on one and 25 and 25 points on another. The rain was not that bad on the late round.”

Getting into the Final Four is a big deal and Isaiah talked about how he feels about it, “I am excited. I hope I do well.”

Isaiah wanted to also send out some words of thanks, he shared, “I want to thank my dad because he trained her. I want to also thank Daren Martin who also trained her with my dad. I also want to thank my uncle Ricky Manley for he also helped train her.”

Gill Derryberry with Gill’s Limited Edition Kate

Seventeen year old Gill is the son of Brad and Tabitha Derryberry. Gill lives here in Lexington Tennessee. Gill started coon hunting when he was about five years old with his dad after his father bought him an English dog for his birthday. Gill started competition hunting that same year. A few years after that Gill won at St. Jude and that set off his love for competition hunting.

Gill has been hunting Limited Edition Kate for the past four years now. Gill shared what he likes, “She is a different dog; she does everything different from other dogs. It makes her resemble myself and I enjoy her. She also is easier to call.”

Gill talked about how he feels about a youth four wheeler hunt, “This is my last year. This is an awesome experience and it is not expensive for youth to hunt in. Since it is my last year, I want to go out and do it right. It got me to where I am here.”

Gill described his early and late rounds, “Kate struck out and worked around. Then she got treed on a coon. Then she made another, but I took minus. Then she struck out 1000 yards in a swamp. That is when I got wet. I broke my phone. Late round, she treed two coons. She had one in the beginning all to herself then in the last five minutes of the hunt she treed another."

Gill talked about what he is excited about with this Final Four, “I am hoping at the end they are going to say I won.”

Before heading out tonight, Gill had some people that he wanted to mention, “I want to thank my dad and mom and my twin. My twin is my competition. We both have an English dog and we make every time we go out a competition with chores on the line. I want to thank Skylar White for always pushing me. I want to thank Ryan Douglas and Michael Stone for always going with us. I also want to thank Bobby Brown and William Woods for all they do.”
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