2007-10-27 / News

No snow, no problem!

'Dryland' sled dog races coming in November
By James Moate Endeavor News

Steve Aharrah from the Canadian-American Sledding Association addresses Emporium Rotary members about the Nov. 3-4 dry-land sled dog races and related activities at Sinnemahoning State Park. James Moate photo Steve Aharrah from the Canadian-American Sledding Association addresses Emporium Rotary members about the Nov. 3-4 dry-land sled dog races and related activities at Sinnemahoning State Park. James Moate photo Sled dog racing returns to Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron and Potter counties over the Nov. 3-4 weekend.

Early reports suggest the turnout of competitors will be twice that of last year's inaugural event, leading to national sanctioning as early as 2008. Steve Aharrah of Smethport, vice president of the Canadian- American Sledding Association, shared details as guest speaker at Tuesday's Emporium Rotary meeting.

The second annual Canadian- American Sledders Dry-Land Event starts at 9:00 a.m. both days and is open to the public. Dog lovers will enjoy the event, Aharrah said. Almost all of the participating canines are very friendly.

He said there will be plenty of wet noses, barking and tailwagging to go along with the racing.

Traditional dry-land events such as canine-cross, bikejoring and cart races will be held competitively and leisurely. All races, with the exception of a four-dog pro race, will be 1.2 miles long.

Sled dog teams from several states and Canada will descend upon Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron and Potter counties next weekend for the second annual Dry-Land Races. The public is welcome to attend and enjoy the dogs and other attractions. Sled dog teams from several states and Canada will descend upon Sinnemahoning State Park in Cameron and Potter counties next weekend for the second annual Dry-Land Races. The public is welcome to attend and enjoy the dogs and other attractions. Turnout looks promising, with 32 competitors already registered from four states. Among the racers will be John Heverly of Cameron County.

Canine-cross is a unique event where a dog is strapped to a harness attached to the runner who must run along with the dog.

"The trick is to use an older dog that is easier to keep up you along too fast," Aharrah said. "The dog doesn't necessarily have to be a sled dog. If you want to use your household poodle, then go ahead."

In bike-joring, a team of typically four dogs is harnessed to a bicycle which is used to navigate the course.

"These dogs can pull you pretty fast," Aharrah noted. "Dogs teams nowadays can reach speeds of about 24 miles per hour."

Cart-racing is similar, except the sled is replaced by a chariotlike metal cart with wheels. Some of the carts are manufactured by the racers themselves.

Sled dog enthusiasts generally enter dryland events in the off-season when there is no snow for racing. Skis are replaced by bicycle tires.

Designated spectator areas will be set up at the park. Refreshments will be available.

Sinnemahoning State Park is joining in the fun by offering geocaching, mini-snowshoe building, flint and steel firemaking demonstrations, bicycle tours and a campfire program.

Additional information is available from Jackie Flynn at the park, 647-8401.

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