Sled dogs take to Brant Tract trails for SSASO Time Trial

BROCKTON – Saturday, Nov. 20, wasn’t the perfect day for a leisurely stroll along the trails of Brockton’s Brant Tract, but it was perfect for the Sled Dog Sports Association of Southwestern Time Trial. Ontario (SSASO).

This event was dryland mushing – no snow required.

The Dryland Mushing is a catchall for all dog activities that don’t involve snow. This can include Canicross – running with a dog attached to you via a modified climbing harness, Bikejoring – biking with one or two dogs in a harness attached to your bike, Skooter/Kick Bike – one or two dogs pulling a scooter adult or kick bike and rig – three or four dogs pulling a musher on a three or four wheel cart/rig.

Fun? It was hard to tell who was more excited, the mushers or the dogs.

“They (the dogs) love to run,” said SSASO President Lisa DeGennaro of the Paisley area. She has been practicing dog sledding for nine years.

Whenever a team was ready to hit the trail, every dog ​​in the staging area looked and sounded eager to be there too.

There were approximately 34 individual participants and 72 teams. DeGennaro said there is also a subcategory for each class for registered Nordic breeds such as registered Siberian huskies. However, there were a number of races involved in the event.

DeGennaro said one of his four-dog teams placed first overall. Jenny Lee from outside Quebec was second and Bekka Haase from Buffalo, New York was third.

Karen Koehler of the Muskoka region earned multiple overall (open) firsts in the one- and two-dog Bikejoring and one- and two-dog scootering.

JC Ono-dit-Biot, a relatively new and very competitive musher who came over from France a few years ago with his girlfriend Floriane, who placed first in the two-dog RNB Scooter class.

SSASO is a non-profit sled dog association dedicated to the education and preservation of sled dogs and physical literacy through harnessing activities for humans and canines. The association focuses on the history and evolution of the working sled dog and provides information and support for those interested in getting into the sport.

DeGennaro said COVID has significantly curtailed association activities, making the event at the Brant Tract a welcome one. She loves the trails there, but also helps plan and run events at MacGregor Point and elsewhere, including the MacGregor Park Dryland Dog Sled Derby.

She commented that Brant’s trails are wide and safe, making them perfect for rookies who might be intimidated by the thought of racing in an all-pro race. “Offering a smaller-scale time trial in Brant Tract makes the sport much more accessible for people who want to learn more and try it out,” she said. And she praised the team at Brant Tract, who were very easy to work with and eager to see something new on the trails.


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Bette C. Alvarado