By Brian Davidson, Uncharted Staff
It’s an event that screams for nicknames.
Lydia “Whistlin’ Lyd” Hutchinson you’ll meet in a moment. Right now, let’s talk about Tud. “Tud” is the nickname. “Tud” Kent. He regularly ran the mail from Ashton, Idaho, to the Railroad Ranch in Island Park, Idaho, a journey of about thirty miles. In 1917, he and four others founded the American Dog Derby. He won the first race that year, a 55-mile slog through deep snow and a raging blizzard from Ashton to West Yellowstone, Montana. In the subsequent ten years, he won five more times, each time in a blizzard. They had better blizzards back then.
This year, those who participate in the 100-mile race will do so in Tud’s honor – the race now bears his name.
But there’s room for the new at the American Dog Derby, too. The 60-mile race, for instance, is named this year for Ray Gordon, of Rock Springs, Wyo. Since 1995, he’s won five races at the American Dog Derby, a record no modern racer has bested. He also boasts of running the Iditarod. Twice. Best I’ve done is hook our wiener dog up to the kids’ sled for a race down our suburban street.
So go to Ashton this year to see the real thing. Races this year kick off Feb. 18 at about 7:30 am (I’m fudging a bit on the time here, get there early to get a good view and so you don’t miss the race). Races go on through Saturday the 20th, with plenty of events in town to keep you entertained.