The two big walker hounds have won four gold cups in the past.
The fact that the walker hounds have won so many gold cups already is significant because it shows what kind of competition Billy and his dogs are up against. Only three teams of dogs remain to participate in the runoff, and the winners will be the recipients of this competition's gold cup. Old Dan and Little Ann have done an amazing job to have been included in the group which has not been eliminated. Their owner, Billy, is a young boy who has saved his money for years to buy them, and their presence in the competition is due to the determined work of Billy's grandfather, who has also managed to scrape together the money to pay the entry fee.
In contrast, the other dogs in the competition are an illustrious group, whose owners for the most part are able to take them to competitions regularly around the area. Billy says,
"I had seen many coon hounds but none that could equal these. There were red bones, blue ticks, walkers, and bloodhounds. I marveled at their beauty...in the veins of these hounds flowed the purest of breeded blood. No finer coon hounds could be found anywhere."
When he is asked whether he is aware that Old Dan and LIttle Ann will have to compete with "some of the finest hounds there are," Papa puts things into perspective with his response. He points out that he has two mules out on his farm, one little and one big, and "the little mule can outpull the big one every time." Although Billy's hounds may not be as distinguished as the other dogs, they have as good a chance to win as any of them (Chapters 15-16).