WE get our picture in the Southern Highlands newspaper

Michelle Rose gets interviewed as part of the NSW Siberian Express Club

7/11/20202 min read

Dog sled racing and the Southern Highlands may not be two things you would think to put together. But as it turns out, its cooler climate makes the Southern Highlands a great place for the winter sport of dog sled racing. NSW Siberian Express will host a mock race and weekend of fun later this month at the Belanglo State Forest. And the club's annual Paws for a Cause fundraiser will this year raise money for the town of Wingello. While everyone is welcome to attend these events, club secretary Michelle Rose said only club members would be able to participate for the forseeable future.

COVID-19 has already led to the cancellation of the introduction to sledding held at the start of the year as well as a couple of the boot camps planned for earlier in the year. "So many people contacted me prior to the start of the season," she said. "We don't want to put anyone in harm's way. [But we encourage people] to come down and have a chat and we can give them information and they can take photos." While COVID restrictions may have made it difficult for the club in 2020, Rose said she hoped they would be able to welcome more members next year. And with the Paws for a Cause event on August 29, she hoped to see plenty of people there to support the event. Rose said the club would usually hold the event at the Wingello State Forest. "We can't run in temperatures over 15 degrees Celsius. The Southern Highlands traditionally gives us a much colder climate which is better for the dogs." However damage caused by the bushfires earlier this year meant they had to move to the Belanglo State Forest. Last year's event raised about $800 and Rose said they hoped to get "a bit more" this time. "We'd really like to give something back to the people [of Wingello] who have supported us over the years," she said. There will be a raffle and a relay race at the event. And while many may think of Huskies in the snow at the mention of dog sled racing, Rose said it was a family sport that welcomed all breeds of dogs. "There's something for everyone. Any medium to large dog that's capable of pulling and working [can do it]." "We're an all breeds club. Everyone is welcome." There are plenty of classes available to cater for all skill levels including novice, touring, veteran (for dogs aged seven years and over), open, pee wee and junior. And for those looking to try something a bit different, there's canicross where the musher wears a custom made canicross belt or bike-joring where a push bike is used instead of a scooter. The mock race event will be held on July 25 and 26. Visit https://www.siberianexpress.org/ to find out more about NSW Siberian Express and dog sled racing.