Tips for attending your first rally . . .
Preparation to take part in a rally can start many weeks in advance of the event, not only ensuring the dog team is up to the job, but also your own administration and equipment are in good order.
Who runs the Sled Events
There are a number of clubs and organisations that run sled-dog events such as, The Alaskan Malamute Working Association (AMWA), British Sled-dog Activities (BSA), Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain (SHCGB) and the British Siberian Husky Racing Association ( BSHRA). Some of these organisations you will have to join to be on their mailing list, others will add you to their mailing list once you have competed in one of their events.
Should you wish to find out more about other clubs, check out their websites by using our links page.
The event organiser will send out entry forms for the event, hopefully a month or two in advance of the rally date. The entry form will require information about your dogs, the class you wish to enter, and possibly your vehicle details.
Please ensure that your entry form is returned by the closing date as late entries make the administration of the event very difficult and you may run the risk of having your entry refused.
The entry form will also have other important information such as what time the venue opens, and the location with a highlighted entry point for the venue.
On the day of the event you should arrive in plenty of time as you will need to have your Rig inspected and there will be a mushers meeting before the first class runs.
The Classes that AMWA runs are as follows, and any further information on these classes can be obtained form the Rules and Regulation for membership of AMWA:
- M1 1 x Alaskan Malamute
- M2 2 x Alaskan Malamute
- MS 3 + Alaskan Malamute only 4-8 Dog Alaskan Malamute only (6 – 8 Dog Passenger Rig)
- ASFDC Mix sled dog teams (Any sled/freight dog combination) 2-4 Dog, Must consist of at least 1 freighting breed. 4-8 Dog, Must consist of a least 1 freighting breed (6 – 8 Dog Passenger Rig)
- ES 2 Dog Siberian Husky
- DS 2-3 Dog Siberian Husky
- CS 3-4 Dog Siberian Husky
- BS 4-6 Dog Siberian Husky 4-8 Dog Siberian Husky (6 – 8 dog Passenger Rig)
- S1 Scooter (1 dog only)
- BJ Bikejor (1 dog only) CX Cani-cross (1 dog only)
- J1 Junior 12 – 18 years (1 dog only)
- J2 Junior 8 – 11 years (1 dog only)
- DV Veteran (2/4 Dog with an average age of 7 – Any Sled dog combination)
Please remember that other clubs do have different classes and should you have any doubts concerning the class you wish to enter or can enter, contact the event organiser.
At The Rally
At the rally please be courteous to others.
Arrive in plenty of time so you can check your dogs are ok after the journey and give them a leg stretch and water.
Get your rig sorted and take it to the rig inspection area. The entry form will tell you what time this starts. Check at the admin area to find your start time and collect your bib number.
The Event Schedule will give you the time of the mushers meeting, the organisers will explain the trail layout and any safety concerns, and will go through any problems you may have about the trail. This is a must for the new musher as it’syour chance to ask questions.
It is always a good idea to check your watch with the starting clock. This time is classed as event time and you must be ready to start when called forward by the start. Be aware that some rallies may use 1 minute intervals between team starts and others 2 minutes.
At the start point there will be several teams waiting to start. Please ensure you keep a safe distance from the other teams to avoid any problems.
When called forward your rig will be attached to a snub line and the gang line should then be pulled out and attached to the dogs, so they are ready to go. At this point you may need an extra pair of hands!
The starter will count you down with a 5 4 3 2 1 go! You must clear the start position within 30 seconds and clear the start chute within 60 seconds. For further information see the start procedure in the rules and regs that you get with your entry form.
NOW YOU CAN GO AND HAVE SOME FUN, ENJOY!
On The Trail
Commonly used terms on the trail are listed below. However, you may choose to use other commands but you must be consistent.
Line out – Standing the dogs on the gang line ready to go
Gee – Turn Right
Gee over – Move over to the Right
Haw – Turn Left
Haw over – Move over to the Left
Trail – About to Pass
Hike on – Go on
On By – Go on past
Steady – Slow down
Straight on – Go straight on at the cross tracks
While on the trail be safe and considerate.
Teams wishing to overtake will shout ‘Trail!’ as they approach, giving you enough time to move over/off the trail.
Once passing is complete ensure you leave sufficient space between you and the other team before rejoining the trail. There will be Marshals at various points around the trail should you have any problems.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE TRAIL
The following markers are used on the trail.
This is a direction marker.
If the red marker is on the Left of the trail turn Left immediately after the marker.
If the red marker is on the Right of the trail turn Right immediately after the marker
Placed either side of the trail indicates continue straight ahead
Caution Marker Warning of a hazard on the Trail!!
No right of way. You will see this sign when you are nearing the finish. Once passed this sign you do not need to call ‘trail’.
Once through the finish do not stop just pass the line – instead clear the chute so as not to interfere with other finishing teams.
When back at your vehicle, unhitch and check your dogs over especially their feet. Give them a drink of water, treats and lots of praise. Please remember to return your bib and to tidy up behind you.
Hope you enjoy working with this fabulous breed see you again on the trail.