TICONDEROGA - Some of the best canine athletes in the Northeast are expected in Ticonderoga for the 10th annual International Weight Pull Association event Jan. 17 and 18.
Dan Plosila, the event organizer, expects more than 40 dogs to compete in eight classes to see which animal can pull the most weight, either on a wheeled cart on the ground or a sled on snow, over a 16-foot distance in one minute. The competition is similar to a tractor pull, Plosila said.
The Ticonderoga pull will be held at Wal-Mart with weigh-in at 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday and competition beginning at 11 a.m. On Sunday weigh-in will be 8-9 a.m. with the pulling starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dogs each receive points for their place and for each dog they beat, Plosila said. The top point-earners during the season advance to the national championship pull in Washington state.
There will be free admission for spectators.
New this year will be a clinic for novice dogs at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Sled pulls on snow are rare, Plosila said, even in the Northeast. That makes the Ticonderoga event, if the weather holds, attractive to dog owners.
"You don't get too many chances to get points on snow in the East," Plosila said. "We really like to pull on snow when we can."
The Northeast region of the IWPA includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.
Although the event is designed for IWPA members, it is open to provisional competitors and there will be a novice class. Entry fee for novice competitors is $5 a dog. For information dog owners can call Plosila at 891-4413.
The International Weight Pull Association, formed in 1984, is a non-profit association that promotes the sport of dog pulling through organized, sanctioned events. The purpose of IWPA is to promote the working heritage of all dogs.
The IWPA also promotes a program to keep dogs in good physical condition with a constructive outlet for canine competition. Since IWPA's inception, no dogs have been hurt in competition.
The IWPA season for sanctioned pulls runs from September through March. It sanctions about 100 pulls a season throughout the contiguous United States and Canada. Membership is about 200 people with around 400 dogs in competition. Events are open to all dogs, mixed breed or purebred.