The Kearney Dog Sled Races offer several different race categories for participating mushers… and ski-jorers. Not only are there Sprint Races (the 4 and 6 dog sprint races), the two day 10 Dog Stage Race and even a fun race for junior mushers with the Kid and Mutt races but there’s also feature Ski-joring Races.
What is Ski-joring you ask?
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skijoring
Skijoring (pronounced /ˈskiːʃɜrɪŋ/) is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving.
Skijoring with a dog is a sport in which a dog (or dogs) assist a cross-country skier. One to three dogs are commonly used. The cross-country skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds additional power by running and pulling. The skier wears a skijoring harness, the dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope. There are no reins or other signaling devices to control the dog; the dog must be motivated by its own desire to run, and respond to the owner’s voice for direction.
Many breeds of dog participate in skijoring. The only prerequisite is a desire to run down a trail and pull, which is innate in many dogs. Small dogs (less than 35 pounds) are rarely seen skijoring, because they do not greatly assist the skier; however, since the skier can provide as much power as is required to travel, any enthusiastic dog can participate. Athletic dogs such as Pointers, Setters and herding breeds take to skijoring with glee, as do the northern breeds, such as Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Inuit dogs; however, any large energetic dog is capable of enjoying this sport. Golden Retrievers, Giant Schnauzers, Labs, and many cross-breeds are seen in harness. Pulling breeds work well also such as American Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, American bull dogs, and mastiffs.
The sport is practiced recreationally and competitively, both for long distance travel and for short (sprint) distances.
The Kearney Dog Sled Races offers both 1 and 2 dog Skijoring events raced on both Saturday and Sunday. The race route (for 2015) follows the same route as the 4 Dog Sprint Race. This year we offered our first online registration for mushers and ski-jorers. As part of the online registration process we asked our participants to tell us a little bit about themselves and provide a photo of them and their dogs. Here’s the story of our very first Ski-Joring entry online. [ read more ]
Eric’s First Ski-joring Event
Local Huntsville ski-jorer Eric took a moment to register on our website for both the one and two dog ski-joring events for the 2015 Kearney Dog Sled Races. We’re happy to tell Eric’s story, everyone has to start somewhere and for Eric the 2015 Kearney Dog Sled Races will be the very first Ski-joring event entered. We wish Eric all the best with his efforts in this years race. See you at the starting line and on the trails Eric.
I grew up Alpine Racing for North Bay Ski Racing Club and always dreamed of sharing a descent with my dog(s). Fast forward about 10 years, my wife and I discovered Ski-Jouring. I was hesitant at first as I’ve always been a big mountain alpine sort of guy, while ski-jouring employs x-country skiing. I found some old x-country gear in my parents garage and went to work getting myself into x-country and our 5 year old Australian Shepherd into the pulling spirit. After the second “training” session, the Aussie and I were ripping through forest trails and across Mary Lake and Lake Nipissing, we are both hooked. This season we have added our 2 year old German Shepherd into the Ski-jouring team.
By no means am I, nor my team “professional,” nor would I expect to be overly competitive. The thought of standing in another start gate, this time with my dogs running the course with me, is too exciting to pass up.
Question & Answer
How many years have you been running dogs?
I’ve been ski-joring with my dogs two years now
Tell us about your dogs? How many do you have etc?
My wife (Kathi) and I have 2 dogs; 6 year old Tri Colour Aussie “Raja”, and 2 year old German Shepherd “Zeeva”
What do you love most about running sled dogs?
Skijoring is a great way to keep our beloved family members in shape during the cold winter months. Be Canadian and take advantage of winter!!
How did your dogs get their names?
We choose short and similar names, easy to call when hiking through the woods, or chant while ski-jouring
List recent sled dog races and/or best performances
I have never competed in a Ski-Jouring or Dog Sled Race before.
What years have you competed in the Kearney Dog Sled Races
2015 would be the first year attending the Kearney Dog Sled Races.