Grant Beck came out on top at the Canadian Championship Dog Derby over the weekend.
The two-day event took place on a circuit carved by volunteers around a 45-mile track on Great Slave Lake, starting and finishing at Yellowknife Bay.
Warmer weather meant the race times had to be moved earlier for the 10-dog race. Jordee Reid, organizer of the event, said the time change helped the dogs perform better, since they are used to training into colder weather.
All the racers were polled about the time change, to avoid any disadvantage, says Reid. The time change went well, although it was hard to get the message out to spectators.
Grant won the 10-dog race, the derby’s showpiece event, coming first on both days, beating his brother Richard Beck by three minutes over the two legs of the race.
Grant was one of five Becks competing in the race.
Reid said because the race was closed to competitors from the south of Canada because of COVID-19, only racers from NWT kennels were able to compete, most of whom are related.
“I think there was only one team that wasn’t a cousin of some shape or form,” said Reid.
While some races and events have faced financial difficulty because of the pandemic, Reid said the Dog Derby should be secure for the future.
“We were just really grateful that in the north here that we can put on dog races whereas in other parts of Canada that’s not the case,” she said.
Changing weather also shouldn’t be a problem in the future because as the climate changes, the dogs will get used to training in warmer weather, says Reid.
“As long as there’s still snow on the ground — and up north I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon — we’re good to go.”