Skip to main content
Local News

American Dog Derby in Bear Gulch

BYU-Idaho Radio · American Dog Derby in Bear Gulch
The coronavirus is keeping a lot of events from occurring, but it won’t stop Ashton’s American Dog Derby. 

The dogsledding race has been around since 1917. Race director John Scafe told BYU-Idaho Radio in an interview that it all started with a bet. 

“It started with a bet in a barber shop in Ashton. Everyone was bored, so they started doing mushing there, and it just grew,” he said. “Union Pacific brought in even more people and it’s been growing and growing ever since.” 

Scafe has been the race director for about 10 years, but he’s been on the race committee for closer to 30 years. He’s seen the dogsledding a lot because of it, and his favorite part of the race is getting to watch it. 

“The mushers are the biggest thing I enjoy. They’re great people and it’s unique how they take care of their animals. You’d think with how these dogs get excited they wouldn’t have much power, but you’d be surprised,” Scafe said. 

The race usually attracts a lot of attention, but COVID-19 has put a hamper on that. However, Scafe wasn’t going to allow the race to get cancelled, so he’s done some work to make it safe for everyone. 

“Our musher registration in downtown Ashton at the community library requires masks and has hand sanitizer available. We encourage social distancing at sign-ups and meet-and-greets with the racers, as well as at the event itself,” he said. 

The races take place Feb. 19-20 at 9 a.m. Usually the race runs through Ashton, but due to a lack of snow, it will be held at Bear Gulch instead. 

You can check out more on the American Dog Derby at their website,