The New England Sled Dog Club welcomes you to our sled dog races and hope you will enjoy them as much as we enjoy racing. For many of you, this will be your first race, so we know you would like to know what you can do to help make this an even more successful race.
About our Races
The NESDC organizes sprint races—i.e., races between 2 and 12 miles in distance, depending on team size. Team sizes range from one dog (“bikejoring” or “skijoring”) to more than eight dogs. Races usually last two days and competitors must race on both days. Men and women compete as equals.
By all means, pick yourself a team to cheer for and let the driver know you appreciate his or her team’s efforts. As in all sports, it always helps to know you have someone cheering you on.
Tips for Spectators
We do not charge spectators for admission. The holding area and start/finish line are accessible to spectators. Depending on the race, you may also be able to go out on the course—please ask a race official or NESDC volunteer (check near the start line between races).
Feel free to visit the holding area and take all the pictures you want. Do be careful walking around the holding area as there are many things to trip over such as stake-out chains, harnesses, and sleds. Drivers and handlers will be glad to answer any questions you might have if they are not too busy. Just remember that it takes a lot of work to get the team ready for the race and up to the starting line, so at this time drivers may not have time to stop and talk to you.
Please, do not bring your dog (or worse, cat!) to a sled dog race. If you have one with you leave it in your car or some place away from the race. Remember, a driver handling several dogs cannot be responsible for the safety of your pet.
Also, keep your toddlers in hand. Eager dogs, ready to run, may leap or rear-up in anticipation, and it would be unfortunate to have an accident that was the fault of neither dog nor child. Lines connecting the teams and chains attached to tied-out dogs can be dangerous to a child.
Sled dogs are trained racing dogs and not house pets, and you should never feed them or offer them anything unless the owner has said that it was all right.
Please stand back when you are near the starting line or out on the trail. If you are too close you might distract the dogs and even cause them to leave the trail, which could result in the disqualification of that team.
You may have been expecting to see Siberian Huskies. The dogs used for sprint races, however, tend to be Alaskan Huskies (dogs derived from Siberian Huskies and other breeds including Coonhounds and Pointers), Pointers, and mixes thereof. In the one- and two-dog classes you may see a greater variety of dog breeds as just about any fast dog over 30 lbs can pull a bike or skier. Whatever the breed, our dogs love to run, just as a house pet might like to go out on the leash or dig up the neighbor’s flower garden. Although they might look tired after a race, they are very happy animals. The only time a sled dog is unhappy is when he is not with the team.
We hope you enjoy the races and if you do be sure to tell others about the sport.
Thank You For Coming . . . And Good Sledding!