On November 12 and 13, 2011, Timberland Tours in Bristol will host its 2nd annual Canadian Dryland Dog Racing Championship. As its name suggests, Dryland racing is practiced on dry land as opposed to traditional dog-sled challenges which are run on snow. Denis Rozon, owner of Timberland Tours, and a racer himself, is responsible for bringing this event of international reach to Pontiac. Last year, 76 racers entered the competition, 80% of whom were from the U.S. and Europe. “That’s six more competitors than entered the U.S. championship,” said Rozon who is hoping that more Canadians will compete this year. (There are even whispers of a Jamaican team entering this year’s race.)
Given the officially recognized quality of the event and track, Rozon’s hopes are likely to come to fruition. Competitors in all registered races in 2010 ranked Bristol Dryland third worldwide for the overall quality of the event. Ed Clifford of New Hamshire, a world-champion who has raced in seven countries including last year’s Canadian championship, also highly praised Bristol Dryland, saying that it was the best set-up he’d ever seen.
Rozon is aiming higher this year. ”We’ve made a lot of improvements, such as clearing around the track to allow spectators to see the entire race. And at $10,000, our purse is now the largest in the world.” The 2011 edition line-up also boasts a 1-km junior Canicross for young competitors.
With the beautiful and friendly dogs on their way and eager to race, and another solid line-up of international competitors, it’s up to us spectators to go to the races, doo dah day, and cheer them along. Admission is free, and there will be hot goodies to keep the tummies warm.
Hike! But first, let’s get race-ready with this primer on Dryland Dog Racing.
Tied together with a short length of elasticized rope, man (or woman) and dog work as a team. This is the six-legged race of the competition, with the dog propelling the runner along to voice commands (see mushing lingo down below).
A 2.5-km Canicross race will open the Canadian Dryland Race Championship on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. A 3.7-km race will be held on Sunday morning at 9:00. (See the full schedule in the Calendar of Events on this page.)
In ‘Bikejor’, the dog is fitted with a harness equipped with a tugline attached to a bike. The dog runs ahead, pulling the musher-cyclist along. One to three dogs are generally used.
From an equipment perspective, bikejoring is a good sport for beginning mushers since most people already own a bike. The activity is often used to train racing sled-dogs off season.
Scootering is like bikejoring except that the racer rides a unmotorized scooter. The dogs wear the same type of harness as in other mushing classes and are tied to the scooter with a gangline.
Dog scooterers tend to be more relaxed about their voice commands, using right and left instead of gee and haw. Gee!
There will be one- and two-dog races in the Bristol Dryland competition.
Also called ‘gig’ racing, this is the closest to sled racing in Dryland Mushing. Cart racing uses larger teams of dogs (the minimum is four dogs), and is more costly than other classes; gigs generally cost more than $1,000.
Bristol Dryland Canadian Championship has three cart races on the program: a four-, six- and eight-dog race on saturday and sunday. (See the full schedule in the Calendar of Events on this page.)
Before you go, know your sled-dog lingo…
Hike: “Let’s Go!”
On By: “Ignore what’s distracting you”
Easy: “Slow Down”
Sources: Wikipedia and americanmushwer.web.com