The Dogs Are Out!
Jan 2, 2014
Who let the dogs out? The Grande Prairie Sled Dog Derby Association (GPSDDA) that’s who! Drawing from last year’s success, the Grande Prairie Sled Dog Derby is back and at a new location. In order to protect to the trail’s condition and ensure an optimum experience for both mushers and fans, the derby will be held at 5 Mile Hall just east of Grande Prairie. An added advantage of this venue change will be the use of the hall which will allow spectators to warm up and buy a coffee or burger.
The GPSDDA is now officially sanctioned by the International Sled Dog Racing Association which, along with adding creditability to the event, also has the added benefit of attracting more drivers due to points and assurance that the Derby has proper trails, timing and is safe for both the drivers and “athletes” (aka sled dogs).
There are currently 40 teams registered and Event Organizer, Irvin Wai, estimates that by Friday there will be 60-80 registered teams. Amongst confirmed teams is local Grovedale musher Ken Bernard who won last year’s derby, as well as teams from Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, and British Columbia.
This year’s event will feature five different sled races including a four-dog junior race, a four-dog, four-mile purebred and open race, a six-dog, six-mile purebred and open race, and a 10-dog, 10-mile open race. The derby kicks off 2 pm Friday with a Dog Truck Parade through downtown Grande Prairie to Centre 2000 where fans will be able to interact with the mushers and dog trucks. It will also be the first large event of the City’s 100th anniversary which makes it extra special.
Racing starts at 9 am on Saturday and admission is a non-perishable food item. Fans can get an up-close and personal view of the mushers and their teams leaving the start line. The snow is likely to hold off on the weekend making conditions perfect. Come out to 5 Mile Hall and get into the action and excitement of sled dog racing.