The American Dog Derby has been a popular event in Ashton since 1917. This historic event is usually held in February and will be again for 2021. John Scafe is the race director and committee chairman for the American Dog Derby. He has been involved in the race for almost 30 years. When he was a young boy, his mother helped with the race as well.
“My mom was kind of involved in the racing, back before, [a] long time ago. She and I got interested in it, and I don’t know, it’s always been a good community event [and] I always felt [it] was a good outlet for winter sports, to get people outside in wintertime,” Scafe said.
The American Dog Derby features many different dog sled racing events. Some of the races are 45 miles long, with others 25 miles or 4 miles. The junior race is 7.5 miles. Other events for kids and teenagers are snowshoe racing and the mutt race.
“[For] the mutt races, they get to bring their own dog and they can run down the track with a sled behind them, just as a dog derby effect. It is just a lot of fun for the community and the kids,” Scafe said.
This upcoming year, a new series of events will be featured. Intermountain SnoCross Racing reached out to the American Dog Derby and asked to be a part of the event.
“Years when the dog racing was not going on, we had snowmobile racing here in Ashton. I remember going to it as a kid. So, this IMA, Intermountain Association they’re over on the old high school football field. They came to us and wanted to put it on the circuit for racing.”
Intermountain SnoCross Racing plans to host nighttime drag racing, snow bike racing and oval racing, along with other events.
The American Dog Derby is planned for Feb. 19 and 20. However, the event may be canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions. They are currently planning on moving forward with the race.
“So, tentatively, that’s the days we are going to have it, and you’ve just got to watch the website and Facebook page to see if something happens,” Scafe said.
More information about the American Dog Derby is available online at americandogderby.com. On the website, you can see updates on the race and register for events.