On March 4, 1917, a dog sled race was held running from Yellowstone, Montana, down the Oregon Short Line, over the Continental Divide and finishing in Ashton, Idaho. A distance of about 55 miles was covered during the race. Mushers registered and finished in Ashton and started the race in Yellowstone (The town was renamed West Yellowstone in 1920 to avoid confusion with the park).
This event became known as The American Dog Derby. Races continued to be held until the late 40's. In 1952 the North American Dog Derby was restarted in West Yellowstone by old time musher Charlie Walker with races continuing until 1964.
In memory of LaMar Huntsman, Sacred Arrows Promotions (Dan & Brenda Thyer) started the West Yellowstone Dog Sled Rendezous Race in 1999. LaMar is Brenda's father and is missed by all who knew him. During the 1950's he was known throughout the States as a champion musher and sportsman. In his honour we award the LaMar Huntsman sportsmanship prize each year.
Our modern day race is held over the first full weekend in December with vet checks on the Friday. All entries, volunteers and spectators are welcome. We have a mushers meeting at 7pm Friday. The race is run in the morning of Saturday and Sunday. 20 miles for the 12-dog teams and 10 miles for the 6-dog teams with the award ceremony about 2pm on Sunday. From 1999 to 2002 our course was run on the Madison Arm loop next to Hebgen lake, however, from 2003 we have a more challenging and enjoyable course out on South Plateau just North of the Old Airport on the edge of town, where the race starts.