American Dog Derby past event. | Courtesy American Dog Derby
ASHTON — After two years of being held in another location, a popular dog sled race is finally coming back to its historical roots in downtown Ashton.
“It gives a historical value for our town, and mushers like to have the crowds around to cheer them on when they go out,” said John Scafe, chairman of the American Dog Derby. “We are definitely excited! We have schools coming up to cheer them on. A lot of people are excited to have it back in town.”
The American Dog Derby will be in Ashton, at 5th and Main Street. It’s scheduled for this Friday and Saturday.
“It’s kind of like starting it all over again without doing it for two years in Ashton but all of my committee members are doing a great job getting it all lined up,” Scafe explained. “2021, there was COVID going on in town … we went ahead and had it at Bear Gulch, and then last year was a lack of snow, so we had it at Bear Gulch too.”
RELATED | Historical dog sled race moves locations due to lack of snow
The problem with the Bear Gulch location was the lack of space for spectators. Though last year, there was a great turnout. Scafe says he’s excited that it will all be brought back downtown this year and that there will be more space.
As for the community events, including the mutt race, weight pull, and snowshoe race, are scheduled to happen this year, whereas last year, they were canceled.
“We have about five or six kids line up … running in snowshoes. If you have never done it, it is quite comical for a lot of people. It’s a lot of fun,” Scafe said about the snowshoe race.
Past snowshoe race. | Courtesy American Dog Derby
According to the American Dog Derby website, there are five different races offered for competitors. Races for mushers will start at 8:30 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Scafe says mushers that participate in the event come from all over, like Washington, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.
He said mushers typically have teams of anywhere from six to ten dogs. This year, there will be one team that’s a bit different.
“I think I am going to have one team with 14 dogs which will be exciting to see 14 dogs come up to the start line,” Scafe said.
The American Dog Derby is in its 106th year. It was founded in 1917, and according to its website, it’s the oldest dog derby in North America.
Courtesy American Dog Derby
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