WI Dairy News: Sled Dogs - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WI Dairy News: Sled Dogs

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KENNAN (WKOW) -- Richard Baum’s farm used to be filled with a small herd of 25 registered dairy cows. Today he’s opened his farm to dryland sled dog competitions.

“It’s a family thing,” said Baum. “You know, you’ll see people here, I mean everybody in the family is doing part of the race!”

The Baum family got involved with sled dog racing because of their daughter’s interest in animals. When the neighbor’s Husky had puppies, they adopted one. From that point on, their passion grew!

“That’s one thing nice with the farming,” said Baum, “it really fit in because we have the area to work with them. You can make trails, and you can do training all year-round.”

He says there are many parallels with dairy farming and dog sled racing.

“The feeding, the cleaning up, and the daily care of them,” said Baum. “You know it’s the same as the cows..”

Jan Bootz-Dittmar, who operates a dairy farm with her husband, has been racing for years and says it’s become a real passion for her!

“All I ever wanted was four dogs,” said Bootz-Dittmar, “that’s all I ever wanted, and now I have 24, so…!”

She also see’s several parallels with dog racing and dairy farming.

“It’s not a hobby any more, now it’s just a way of life,” said Bootz-Dittmar, “because you have to be out there taking care of them morning, noon, and night.”

Jan also says it’s not only the love of animals and the adrenaline rush, but something else which keeps her racing!

“We are very competitive people,” said Bootz-Dittmar, “but if there’s ever any problems, we can count on each other to help.”

While farming may still be part of Jan’s life, the Baum’s are happy that their farm is still a place for animals and people to work together!

Dryland sled dog racing was seen as a training run for sled dogs prior to the arrival of snow. As popularity increased, these races have now become International Sled Dog Racing Association sanctioned competitions for medals in events staged around the United States. 

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