The Full Story
Jamaican sled dog racer Devon Anderson and his four-dog team have been making waves in the United Kingdom (UK) as they prepare to compete in Europe’s largest husky racing event at Aviemore, Scotland this weekend.
Compared to the history making bobsleigh team, which inspired the movie ‘Cool Runnings’, Mr. Anderson and his dogs are generating a lot of publicity, appearing on BBC, Channel 4 Television, while there has been scores of newspaper and magazine features on them.
Mr. Anderson and his dogs, which are strays rescued by the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA), will compete against 220 other teams and more than 1,000 dogs at the two-day meet, which starts Saturday (Jan.21). The team will be on the four-mile track at Loch Morlich.
Businessman Danny Melville, founder of the sled dog team and chairman of Chukka Caribbean Adventures in St. Ann, told JIS News that the idea came while on a business trip to Canada last year.
“I was always looking for new and unique tours and I was up in Canada looking for dune buggies and saw this contraption. I asked what it was and was told that it was a dog sled. I was told that in Scotland, they used the sleds for tours for tourists so I felt if they can do it in Scotland, we could do it in Jamaica,” he explained.
Mr. Melville then made contact with Alan Stewart of the Cairngorm Sled-dog Adventure Company in Scotland and Mr. Anderson, who is Chukka’s Operations Manager, went to Scotland to learn how to run a team.Mr. Stewart, his son John and a musher (driver) from the United States also visited Jamaica to teach the art of dog sledding.
Mr. Melville said the Jamaican team was hoping for a good draw for the first event, as the time would determine the team’s position for the finals on Sunday.
This weekend’s event, which has been organised by the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain, begins with a torchlight procession through Aviemore.
Mr. Melville told JIS News that he planned to introduce three-wheeled dog sleds as a tourist attraction starting in April.