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Joy All Stars

January 2024 All-Star: Zach Hawkins
Zach Hawkins is from Pinckneyville, Illinois, home of Joy Dog Food headquarters. Zach was first introduced to coonhunting by his father when he was 5 years old. Zach was hooked from the moment his dad first brought him coonhunting. Some of the fondest memories Zach had with his father were travelling to Jacksonville, IL to coonhunt with his grandfather, or going coonhunting with the mules, or taking the trip to compete in the PKC World Championship. His father paved the way to not only the sport of coonhunting for Zach, but also how to handle and train a dog. 


After a couple years of coonhunting with his dad in the evenings, Zach wanted to get more involved and compete just like his father had. He started competing in hunts at the Pinckneyville Coonhunters Club, which is also where he qualified at the PKC Youth World Championship. In 1998, Zach not only qualified for the Youth World, but won the PKC and Joy $1,000 essay contest. In 2002, Zach finished in the top 8 at the PKC Youth World. As Zach got older, he got busier with sports and school so he did not compete as much as he did when he was younger. He of course would join his father coonhuntig in the evenings, but he had slowed down on competing and focused on his academics and sports. After graduating college, Zach jumped back into competing like he had never even quit. He was handling a dog named Tess, and with her he finished top 16 in the Illinois State Race with her 4 years in a row. Zach got a pup out of her and once again finished top 16 2 years in a row with the pup as well as doubling him up at the fall Super Stakes as a junior, and once more as a senior later on. After a while he bred that dog to a female and got a pup named Dixie who he doubled her up at the 2023 PKC World Championship. 


Now that Zach is a father and has a family of his own, he doesn’t compete like he used to. He still trains and runs dogs with his father and now even his son, Rhett joins them. He takes pride in his son following his footsteps and continuing the tradition he and his father started 30 years ago of going coonhunting and making their own special memories together. “I want to make sure Rhett has as much fun as possible when he comes out with me, sometimes we will get on the fourwheelers and ride them while we track the dogs. He always has a blast and I want to make sure it stays that way so he continues to want to come out with me” Zach said. 


Zach has fed Joy Dog Food all his life, even his father fed Joy. From his first time attending the PKC World Championship in Aurora, KY and receiving a bag of food, jacket, and hat from Joy, to now, Zach has supported the brand and watched it grow and expand. “I appreciate what Joy does for our sport. They are one of the driving forces keeping it alive and growing and I know one day, when he is older and can compete, my son is going to be just as excited about the publicity Joy Dog Food provides for competition coonhunters” Zach said. 


Fuel your dog like the champion they are, fuel them with Joy Dog Food- visit our dealer locator to find Joy near you! 

Zach Hawkins
Joy Dog Food dealer

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Pinckneyville, Illinois:


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Pinckneyville, Illinois 62274

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