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Haliburton's 10th Annual Dogsled Race Canceled Hot

Dog SleddingOntario's Tenth Annual Dogsled Derby has been CanceledThe 10th annual Highlands Dogsled Derby of Haliburton, Ontario was canceled this week do to a lack of snow and funding. The event, which was set for January 21st-23rd, will have to wait one more year to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Since 2002, the Highlands Dogsled Derby helped turn Haliburton into a winter tourist destination as mushers and spectators from around the world came to Ontario and Haliburon’s challenging landscape.

The Highlands Dogsled Derby is the only dogsled race held in Haliburton.

Although the 2011 race lacked sponsorship the event’s organizers and founders, Hank DeBruin and Tanya McCready-DeBruin, planned on continuing the race. It was only after inconsistent weather turned the snow into ice that the organizers cancelled.

"If we had only one of the two problems maybe we could have made it work, but with no snow and a decrease of sponsorship it was just, 'Yikes.' There was just nothing in the forecast that [gave us an indication that] we would have enough snow next week to start working with," McCready-Debruin said earlier this week.

This cancellation of the Highlands Dogsled Derby is not an isolated case. Warm temperatures have plagued dogsled races this year, resulting in multiple cancellations throughout Canada.

McCready-DeBruin will change her fundraising approach for the 2012 race by exploring government grants in addition to the local sponsorship that has supported the race in past years. The race has lost three major sponsors over the last two years.

If the Dogsled Derby had been cancelled any other year, it would have been a crippling blow for Haliburton’s winter economy. However, this year Haliburton is hosting Ontario’s Senior Winter Games, which will inevitably compensate local businesses and accommodations for the unfortunate cancellation.

Despite this year’s complications the Highlands Dogsled Derby founders are optimistic for a strong return next year. They will begin their fundraising this spring and hope to introduce an improved, more spectator friendly race for the derby’s 10th anniversary.

"Hopefully next year everything will be better and some people will come forward with more ideas and help. We'll be off and better than ever," she said.

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