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American Dog Derby moved to Bear Gulch


ASHTON, Idaho (KIFI) - Weather conditions are not cooperating, so the American Dog Derby has been moved to Bear Gulch. 

Officials say hopefully snow conditions will hold, but there is a chance conditions will not be safe for dogs, so the race structure has also been changed to boost safety for mushers and dogs.

"Instead of having like four different races, we're just going to have two races combining the long-distance open class and the other races," Scafe said.

Scafe also explained what the combination of the races will look like for spectators.

"They can race up to 12 dogs, or have a pool of 16 they can pull changed out because of the heat and things like that. the others are going to be 8 to 10 dogs and they can change out dogs in a pool too, just because we figured that'd be safer," Scafe said.

Thad McCracken says he plans on mushing in the race, and says the new venue will still be a great atmosphere for mushers and spectators alike.

"The Bear Gulch system is great. I know in past years the races, you know, provided busses to get spectators out there. It's a great place to spectate. They're both wonderful venues and the race always does a really good job of putting it on no matter where it is," McCracken said.

However, he shares that the warmer temperatures can be dangerous for his 20 dogs.

"Sled dogs are no different than a random pet dog in that they can be affected by warm temps. So one of the important things we have to do as a musher is just always, to run the dogs to the conditions. So in the warm temperatures we've been having, I'm not going to ask my team or allow them to go as fast as they might like to go. We might take breaks. I want to meet some snow so they can cool off. It's kind of our job to know what the dogs are capable of in any given condition and just run them to that," McCracken said.

He also says that the lack of snow can make it harder for the dogs to stop when the race ends.

John Scafe adds the race committee will also double-check track conditions as the race gets closer and closer.

The oldest All-American Dog Sled Race is set for Feb. 16 to Feb. 17, 2024.

Officials say the good news is the $10,000 race purse is guaranteed.

You can register HERE.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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