November Joy All-Star: Joey Craver
Joey Craver, the winner of the 2023 PKC World Championship, grew up coon hunting with his grandfather, whom Joey affectionately called ‘Papaw.’ His grandfather not only taught him everything he needed to know about running dogs but also instilled in him a passion and love for the sport. His grandfather never entered any competitions with his hounds; he simply enjoyed pleasure hunting. Joey wasn’t introduced to competitive coon hunting until he met the late Clyde Davis when he was about 17 years old. Joey’s first competition was a UKC Coonhunt at the Montgomery County Coonhunters Club, and he didn’t win. This happened many times in those first couple of years. Joey didn’t have a mentor to guide him or teach him the ways; he had to learn everything on his own through observation. Through many trials and tribulations, Joey gained an in-depth understanding of competing, and when he started handling Wipeout Sundy (Tank), he finally began to see some payoff from his hard work.
Joey handled Wipeout Sundy (Tank) for several years, winning numerous hunts, making finals in some of the biggest hunts he entered. Together they won numerous Pro Hunts, the Breeders Showcase in 2014, CHKC Little World, made the final four in a few truck hunts, and even placed in the semi-finals at the PKC World. Once he started placing in hunts and seeing the payoff, a fire was lit inside of him that wouldn’t be contained until he achieved the ultimate win.
After Joey sold Wipeout Sundy (Tank), he handled another dog for a few years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he saw a good friend of his, Daniel Scott, selling a dog from his previous dog, Wipeout Sundy (Tank). Tank was the best dog he had handled, so he knew he wanted a puppy from Daniel, ultimately leading to Brad Mitchell buying Tank 2, so Joey could train and handle him in hunts. When Joey received Tank 2, he had very little experience, with only 60 nights of hunting time and absolutely no competition experience. He knew he would have a long road ahead of him with this dog, but it would be worth it if he was anything like his father, Tank. After some time, Tank 2 started winning some smaller hunts, qualifying him for bigger hunts. Before they knew it, they were pulling up to the Marion County Fairgrounds in Salem, IL, to compete in the PKC World Championship. They would end the long weekend as champions, winning $30,000, a World Championship title, and a story to tell for years to come.
When asked about winning the PKC World Championship, Joey expressed his immense gratitude during his interview: “It’s been a long journey handling Tank and Tank 2 to get to where I am today. It’s always been a dream of mine to win a World Championship title. I have always been a competitor at heart, always involved in sports since I was just a kid. I am not as young as I once was, so winning a World Championship in baseball or football isn’t in the cards for me anymore. So being able to win this World Championship in the sport that I love is a dream come true. I am grateful for the people who have supported me throughout this journey and for companies like Joy Dog Food that support these events and broadcast them live through Facebook for our families to watch at home. It brings the sport to a whole new level of excitement for the hunters, and we couldn’t thank Joy enough for what they do to show their support.”
Joey feeds Joy Dog Food to his dog Tank, and he has been doing so since last year when he ran into former PKC World Championship Winner, Joe Manning, at a PKC hunt. He noticed how great Joe’s dog looked and asked him what he was feeding him to make him look so good. Joe answered with Joy High Energy 24/20, and after hearing from other fellow coon hunters, Joey finally decided to try it out himself. He was instantly impressed not only with the improvements in Tank’s appearance and performance but also with his wife’s golden doodles’ appearance. Joey said, “I feed Joy to my dogs because it makes them look good and helps with performance when working long hours at a time. I appreciate the consistent quality Joy offers, never switching formulas or ingredients. I also choose Joy because of the constant support they show for the hunting community. There aren’t many companies that want to support hunters anymore, especially coon hunters, so I will support the companies that do support my sport.”
To find Joy Dog Food near you, visit https://joydogfood.com/dealer-locator/.
Congratulations once again to Joey Craver on winning the 2023 PKC World Championship. Stay tuned for more on Joey Craver on the Fueled By Joy Working Dog Podcast.