10th annual Redpaw Dirty Dog Dryland Derby draws record number of teams Submitted: 10/25/2015
Story By Stephanie Haines

10th annual Redpaw Dirty Dog Dryland Derby draws record number of teams
PEARSON - The rain didn't stop any of the mushers from taking on the trails on Saturday and Sunday at Redpaw's Dirty Dog Dryland Derby in Pearson.

The Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club organizes the event.

"Drivers came in spattered with mud from the little dogs' feet throwing back on them," said organizer Beth Castaldi.

This was the derby's 10th year. It had a record 106 teams. People traveled from all over the country to compete.

"We do it because we love it," said Maria BB, a musher from Massachusetts.

The sport takes a lot of athletic skill, especially for canicross. In canicross, you are literally tied to your dog and for a mile and a half you have to sprint behind it.

"So the key is to elongate your stride and then when you're suspended in the air (suspension in the air when you're not touching the ground), they're still pulling you forward," said Crystal Tholen, a musher from Minnesota. "So that's kind of how you don't, you know, land on your face."

She said she can run as fast as an eight-minute mile with her dog. 

The sport is tough, but mushers say they are passionate. 

"Standing on this moving sled being pulled by dog power, and you're dealing with animal nature, human nature and nature, and every time, you can go on the same trail an hour later, and there's always going to be something different about it," Marla BB said. 

This derby is only the beginning of the mushing season.

"My ultimate goal is to qualify for an Iditarod or Yukon Quest," Marla BB said. "I've never worked as hard in my life as I have being a musher."

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