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Ashton gearing up for February’s Dog Derby

Posted On
Feb 01, 2017
Activities near Yellowstone


Mayor Teddy Stronks may be the only person in the entire Upper Valley—quite possibly in all of southeastern Idaho—who wants it to keep snowing.

That’s because of the city’s annual American Dog Derby scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18, where lots of snow will be needed.

“I’m sure my city crews wouldn’t want me to say that anymore. They’ve been working day and night keeping snow piles off Main Street,” he said.

Yet it should be plenty cold and snowy if Ashton’s weather continues as it has in previous years.

The United States Weather Service reports that in February, Ashton usually experiences temperatures between 15 and 33 degrees. It also reports the city receives about seven inches of snow during the month. If the Farmer’s Almanac is to be believed, the city can expect rain and snow with temperatures around 39 degrees next month.

The city met to follow up on Dog Derby plans during its monthly meeting held Wednesday night. This year’s dog derby is particularly significant, as it marks the derby’s centennial. It’s expected that more people than normal will attend to celebrate the event.

“We’re gearing up for it,” Stronks said.

Longtime Dog Derby committee co-chairman John Scafe also attended the meeting and announced plans for the 2017 race. The dog derby starts at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 17. That will be followed by a Soup Challenge at 5 p.m. at the community center. Various cooks present soups to be judged. It costs $2 to taste the dishes, with proceeds going toward various Dog Derby programs. “It’s really fun. We usually have 10 to 12 different soups. For two bucks, you eat pretty good,” Scafe said.

A judge announces the prize winning soup around 7 p.m. That will be followed by a dance. The Roberts’ band “Rocking A” will provide the music that evening. It costs $3 a person, $5 a couple and $10 a family to attend the dance.

The following morning, the race continues at 8:30 a.m.. Also that day, at 9 a.m., officials plan to host their first Sno-Cross snowmobile race at the high school’s old football field. At 11 a.m., the Kids’ Snowshoe Race will be held.

The Mutt Race follows at 11:30 a.m., where dogs of various breeds and sizes will pull sleds. At noon, officials plan a Celebrity Race.

“We hope to have some senators racing on a dogsled or in a snowshoe race. We might have mayors race against each other. We’ll have two or three races like that,” Scafe said.

At 1 p.m., a Weight Pull will be held.

“The dogs will pull different weight classes. They keep putting weight on the sleds until the dogs eliminate themselves. One year we had on dog pull 1,200 pounds on a sled,” he said.

Following the Weight Pull race, awards will be given.

Scafe says the city’s population may increase significantly next month and says he’s received calls from racers from all over the country.

“I am expecting a lot of people. I’ve got calls from Minnesota, Montana, Colorado and Utah. I’m hoping for over 1,000 people to visit,” he said.

Scafe encouraged Upper Valley residents to attend.

“It’s an historic event that’s been going on for years. The mushers and everybody are just a great group of people. You can’t beat them. They’re really neat. It’s just the excitement of the dogs and things like that that make it just a really fun time,” he said.

For more information call 208-360-0988 or 208-681-0266 or visit