COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It’s one of the most unique Labor Day events anywhere in the country. Hundreds if not thousands of people trek into the backwoods of Colbert County to celebrate the coon dog.
80 years ago Key Underwood buried “Troop” here on his favorite hunting land deep in Freedom Hills.
Visitors from all over the country come here – paying homage to grand champions.
“They have to be 100% coon dog,” Frank Hatton explained. “If they don’t have a pedigree with them, they at least have to have references from other coon hunters that’s swore they have seen the dog tree a coon by itself.”
Franky Hatton has two dogs buried here, “Blue Flash” and his son “Blue Flash Jr”.
Coon hunting is a tradition in the Hatton family. Lee Hatton buried his champion “Rage” here last year.
“They actually become a part of your family,” said Lee Hatton. “It just meant a lot to me to do what he had earned to do -- to bring him here and lay him to rest here.”
It's like stepping back in time when you visit the Key Underwood Coon Dog Cemetery, which may be why it’s getting more and more attention.
“A lot of people knew about this, but a lot of people didn’t. I can’t explain, it’s just exploded over the last four years,” said Janice Williams with the cemetery board.
And they are staying true to their roots. Unless it’s a verified coon dog, “Fluffy” can’t be buried here.
More than 315 coon dogs are buried in the Key Underwood Coon Dog Cemetery.
It’s open all year and they see visitors from all over the world.