Sit back in the grandstands and watch powerful dogs pull a weighted wheeled cart over an earthen surface or a weighted sled over snow. The dog who pulls the most weight 16 feet wins its class.
The IWPA embraces dogs who love to work and please their masters. Not only does the competition promote the working heritage of all dogs but it keeps them in top physical condition. During the pull the handler has no contact with the dog so it's up to the dog to pull the weight. No dogs have been hurt in competition since the IWPA organized in 1984.
The Championship brings together regional medalists to compete for the title of "International Champion." The dogs are separated into weight classes, with the little guys like the Jack Russell and Boston Bull Terriers in the 20-pound class to the St. Bernard and the Alaskan Malamute in the 150-pound class. A wide variety of breeds compete: Mastiffs, Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, American Free Hounds, and even Norwegian Elk Hounds.
For instance, at the 2010 Championships a 20-pound Pitter/Patt breed named Mouse pulled a 595-pound wheeled sled on wet carpet to win its class. A 15-pound Jack Russell Terrier named Squiggy pulled 355 pounds to claim second.
But the big boys are fun to watch, too. In the 150-pound class, a Mastiff/Bernard mix named Hanna lugged a 2,950-pound wheeled sled to win the 150-pound class.
Dogs pull less weight over snow but the effort is no less impressive. For example, at the 2010 Championships a Mouse again won the 20-pound class pulling a 290-pound sled over snow.
Many good dogs have pulled amazing loads in relations to their own weights but the records are only set at the Championships.
For more information, contact Estes Park Events Office at 970-586-6104 or visit the International Weight Pulling Association's website at www.iwpa.net.