Guide for spectators and photographers
Guide for spectators and photographers…
…to help you enjoy your day and us to enjoy our racing
Husky racing can provide you with unique and exciting entertainment. Teams travel from all over the country and what you witness on the day is merely the product of months of training, care and preparation.
Generally we do not charge spectators for admission but in order to make the best of the day and not impede a competitor’s weekend, please pay heed to the following tips:
- We reserve a lot of space for dog vans/trucks, competitors and race officials. Plan on walking to the centre of the action, not parking right next to it.
- You’ll want to bring a camera, because there is going to be a lot of amazing shots to take (and share on social media!).
- Bring some money, as most races have a catering truck of some sort.
- Please do not bring your family pets. Your pet dog will not enjoy watching a sled dog event. Fast moving teams will frighten most dogs and with over 800 dogs at most events, the noise in the start/finish area can be overwhelming at times.
- If you DO bring your pet(s) to the race site please ensure it is kept on a tight lead at all times and that it is kept well off the trail when the teams are running. Drivers of racing teams cannot be responsible for the safety of your animals and races can be disrupted by pets bolting onto the course.
- Please co-operate with race officials.
- Be respectful of the musher’s space and their time. Our competitors are friendly and love talking about their dogs and this sport, but they’re maybe also nervous and hyped up before they run and most have a pre-race routine.
- The dogs are here for one reason: to race. While the dogs are largely very friendly, please ask permission before touching any dogs any time you encounter them – before, during or after the race and never offer a dog treats.
- A dog sled race can be a hectic, noisy place. There are going to be trucks, dogs and people all over the place. Things might seem chaotic, but there is an organised plan.
- Always ask the owners before taking your best selfie with the dogs. Most of the time they will gladly help. If you keep a respectful distance and aren’t in the way of their preparatory chores, you’ll find some amazing images to take as the dogs are naturally very photogenic.
- Do be careful walking around the area as there are many things to trip over such as stake-out chains, lines, harnesses, and rigs.
- Keep smaller children in hand and don’t let older children wander too far. Eager dogs, ready to run, may leap or rear up in anticipation of the race and it would be unfortunate to have an accident that was the fault of neither dog nor child.
In the start/finish area
- While the teams are getting ready for the race, there are some great opportunities to watch mushers and see their dogs and equipment – but please be respectful of the space that excited dogs require.
- Teams leave at 1 or 2 minute intervals.
- The start chute is a noisy place but you can watch mushers and handlers hitch their dogs in and ‘launch’ themselves down the trail.
- The finish chute where the team finish their run and are led back to their truck/van for a well-earned drink and a treat.
On the trail
- Do not block the trails at any point.
- When a race is in progress, please stay clear of the trail and try to stay in the same position until all teams have passed. If you move around or move too close to the trail, it could distract the teams.
- Be aware that the top teams run at speeds up to 25mph and in almost total silence. Dog teams running at 20mph can take over 50 feet to come to a stop.
- Getting tangled up in a team can be extremely hazardous for you and also the dogs.
- People crossing the trail can distract the teams and possibly cause disruption.
- Bring your camera and take all the pictures you want!
- If you can, check in with the Race Organiser(s) who may well be able to advise you on a good spot to sit.
- If you have a noiseless shutter, please use it especially if you’re using a ‘motor wind’ or you’re taking ‘bursts’ of images.
- Do not use flash photography as this can startle some teams. When a team is running, it is in total concentration. Any movement or camera flashes can startle the dogs and break their concentration.
- Pick your position ‘out of sight’, (preferably not on a corner) and hold it until all teams have passed you.
- If you’re going to change your position between teams, be aware that the teams can approach you at 25mph and in almost total silence so keep checking behind you just in case!