Hilltown Sleddogs hosts first cani-cross race in southern New England Sunday

  • A cani-cross race in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, England. WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

For the Gazette
Published: 10/9/2018 3:33:37 PM

WINDSOR — Dog owners who enjoy running or walking the scenic trails of western Mass with their canine companions may want mark their calendars for the first ever cani-cross race to be held in southern New England.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, Hilltown Sleddogs, in conjunction with the Trustees of the Reservation, will be holding the cani-cross race at the scenic Notchview Cross Country Ski Area in Windsor.

Once an off season training activity in the mushing or dog sled community, cani-cross involves one runner and one or two harnessed dogs who are attached to a belt around the runners waist by a bungee like leash.

According to organizer Marla B. Brodsky, owner of Hilltown Sleddogs, you do not have to be a runner or have a special dog to participate. Dogs of all breeds and sizes can take part as can people of all ages and abilities.

“All you need is a belt like you wear on your pants, a leash, a walking harness and your dog,” she said.

The only requirement to take part in the race is that dogs are well socialized and do not become reactive or aggressive with other dogs.

“People can also just come and watch, but we don’t want them to bring dogs if they are just sitting on the sidelines, she said.

Brodsky, is an award winning dryland musher, and while she doesn’t participate in cani-cross herself, she understands excitement, value and reward of working as a team with dogs.

“Doing this is a real labor of love for me, and I am really hoping to get the word out about cani-cross,” she said. “Giving your dog a job to do, and than doing that with them is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to enhance the bond you have with them.”

Brodsky said that cani-cross is an extremely popular sport in Europe and it is fast becoming so in the US as well.

The cani-cross race will begin at 12:30 p.m.

There will also be a 3K run/walk event for humans only starting at 1 p.m.

Registration for both events will be from 11 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Entry fee is $20 for the cani-cross and $10 for the fun run.

At 11:30 there will also be a Dryland Sled Dog Sports Demonstration by Hilltown Sleddogs. Mushers and handlers will be available to answer questions about Dryland Sled Dog sports and help participants try out gear.

Food will be on sale and musical entertainment provided by The Sawmill Boys.

“This is going to be a real family friendly event,” Brodsky said. “I am hoping that this will become an annual fall festival.”

Proceeds from food sales will go to the Trustees of the Reservation and Notchview.

For further information Contact Hilltown Sleddogs Marla B Brodsky at 296-0187 or email hilltownsleddogs@gmail.com

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