Living down south for a husky is like living in a well insulated house.
The Southland Sled Dog Association’s annual scarper at Sandy Point will take place on Queen’s Birthday weekend, which also happens to be the association’s 25th anniversary of the big dog sled competition.
Past Association president Ragnar Berg has been with the club since the very beginning and at one point owned 14 huskies.
According to Berg, the first Sandy Point scarper that took place in 1997 was held by the Otago Sled Dog Sports Association. After that a Southland one began.
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When asked what it was like for huskies living down south, he said, it was like living in a very well-insulated house for them, as huskies worked best when it’s down to minus 20, 30 or 40.
“Minus 30 is probably the ideal temperature for huskies to work because they are so well-insulated.
Association member Karen Owen has always loved wolves, and so she found the next best thing with huskies.
“And it’s the next best thing – living with a pack of huskies.
“I love being able to be part of a dog pack. Over seeing what happens within a pack of animals,” she said.
Owen and her husband got into dog sledding about 10 years ago; first starting with one husky and now owning a pack of nine.
“….they just absolutely love to race, they get so excited, and it’s what they were bred to do,” Owen said.
A race marshall from the North Island will be travelling down for the event and there has been several entries from up North as well, she said.
There was also a possibility of a visit from a veteran Idittarod racer during the Birthday weekend.
For the first time a National Championship of the rig event will take place in Southland that weekend too.