98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dryland Dog Sled Races Near Port Elgin

Saugeen Shores | by Liny Lamberink  

It's new but similar to dog sled races on snow, at MacGregor Point Park.

If your dog is dragging YOU on walks, then an event at MacGregor Point just south of Port Elgin may be of interest to you.

The Sled Dog Sports Association of Southwestern Ontario is organizing the first annual Dryland Sled Dog Derby. 

Lead Organizer Lisa De Gennaro says the spectator-friendly event welcomes experienced mushers, but has novice races for first-timers too.

"If your dog has any drive to move forward on a leash or in a harness, that's exactly the sort of dog that would excel at this sport."

The sport in question stems from more commonly known sled dog derbys on snow, which have adapted to climate change and the cost of living. 

"It really redeveloped the sport from these huge long-distance races like the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest, to more small races of two, four, six dog teams that the average person can get involved in."

The races are Saturday and Sunday at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, starting at 8:30 AM until 4 PM. 

Admission for spectators is the price of a daily vehicle permit into the park, while participants get in free.

De Gennaro reminds people not to bring dogs that aren't racing in the derby, because the environment can be overwhelming. 

"It's actually quite amazing. When the first musher for first races takes out their harness, the whole dog yard explodes."

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