RACES ARE CANCELLED FOR 2013
History of Sled Dog Racing
Dog teams, historically, have played a vital role in the survival of the people of Alaska as a means of transportation and vehicle for hunting food. In addition, sled dogs enabled explorers such as Byrd, Peary and Amundsen to explore the frozen lands of two continents and were instrumental in bringing civilization to the snowbound areas of the world. Throughout Canada and Alaska mail teams delivered the news to outlying settlements. One of the most well-known stories of dog sled accomplishments was in 1925 when diphtheria was discovered in Nome, Alaska and the supply of antitoxin in the city was inadequate to stop the epidemic. A relay of twenty-two native and mail teams forged through the rough interior of Alaska and across the Bering Sea ice to bring serum to the town’s people. This once critical form of transportation has now become major sporting events in Alaska (the Iditarod), Canada and the United States.
New England Sled Dog Racing
In the early 1920's the Brown Paper Company in Berlin, NH organized an International Race to be held near the border of Canada and attracted the attention of the Boston and New York newspapers. Two Canadian and two United Stated teams entered this race. The race was held for three days, with an average of 39 miles per day. Arthur Walden, with his lead dog Chinook, driving a single hitch of nine dogs won the race. The publicity was nationwide and Walden and Chinook became famous overnight. Enthusiastic fans of Arthur and Chinook gathered at Wonalancet Farm in New Hampshire to form a club to promote this new sport of sled dog racing. This club became the New England Sled Dog Club which adopted its constitution and by-laws on November 5, 1924.
At present, The New England Sled Dog Club has an enthusiastic membership of 130 who attend several races during the course of the year. This year’s race at Appleton Farms is the only International Sled Dog Racing Association sanctioned race in New England. With this honor comes the task of providing courses that are challenging while keeping the dogs and mushers safe.