Fairbanks, AK- The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association, or TRDMA, will not participate in the International Federation of Sleddog Sports World Championship next March. IFSS subscribed to the World Antidoping Code in 2008, with the goal of gaining Olympic recognition. But the rules include a list of banned substances mushers use regularly for dog care. There are also limitations on the extent to which mushers can provide care for their dogs during IFSS races. Two Rivers 200 Race Committee Chair Scott Chesney says that’s why the TRDMA has decided to stick to their original decision. “This is the final decision. We will not be associating ourselves with the IFSS world championship races," he says.
The IFSS asked the International Sled dog Veterinary Medical Association to make some recommendations about rule changes during their annual meeting last weekend. But Chesney says he’s not sure much came of the request. “From the emails I’ve gotten," says Checsney, "it looks like they’ve asked the ISDVMA to form a committee to explore that option, so that tells me that nothing’s going to change.”
Officials with the IFSS haven’t confirmed the formation of a committee, but Chesney says with snow starting to fly, timing is such that any changes or exemptions to the race rules will likely come too late.
“There’s gotta be serious logistics involved with brining a team over from Europe or Russia or wherever they’re coming from and if they can’t decide until December or January, that’s not being fair to them," says Chesney.
North Pole Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Buzz Otis says while he’s disappointed in the outcome, he’s not upset about the process. “We’re establishing a relationship with TRDMA that didn’t exist in the past, and I think only positive things will come of this, says Otis.
The Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the IFSS World Championship could bring up to 1.1 million dollars in revenue to the Borough. Otis says he’s not sure what the effect might be should the long distance race be canceled. There are currently four teams signed up to mush in the long distance event.