Dogs pull to place this weekend

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dog lovers of all ages are invited to watch a host of competitive dogs pull for points this weekend in Suffolk.

The Mid-Atlantic Weight Pullers competition will be held Saturday and Sunday at Epps Farm Supply, 2170 Joshua Lane. The competition is part of the International Weight Pull Association, a nonprofit that promotes the dog sport in organized, safe and family-friendly events.

Each participating dog must pull a sled or cart weighted with cinder blocks 16 feet within 60 seconds, according to IWPA rules. There are eight different dog weight classes that include all sizes and breeds — some weighing more than 151 pounds. The winning dog is decided by the most weight pulled in the shortest time.

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“We have an 8-pound poodle and a 14-pound Dachshund,” said Debbie Lee, a region seven representative for weight pulling. The poodle’s name is Chewbacca and the Dachshund is Patrick Henry.

Owners must always have their dogs under control, and absolutely no cruelty is tolerated. Whether or not the dogs pull for 16 feet is up to them and their owners’ encouragement. Lee has been doing this for at least 25 years, she said, and she still enjoys the canine camaraderie.

“It’s always fun to get that working partnership,” she said. “When you’re doing something together, it just builds that bond all the way around, (plus) it’s fun to figure out how to push their buttons because they push our buttons all the time.”

Winning dogs will be awarded points that can qualify them for the championships that will be held this May in Colorado. Lee described them as the “mini-Olympics for dogs” where they can officially make or break records.

She encouraged parents to bring the kids out to Epps Farm Supply this weekend to watch the scruffy competitors.

“It’s always good to get kids involved in stuff, and kids love animals. It’s a good atmosphere for them,” Lee said.

Weigh-ins will be held from 8 a.m. until competition starts at 9 a.m. on both days. Spectators pay no fee, while it’s $10 for the first dog entry and $8 for each additional entry. Non-members need to pay an additional $5 per dog.

Another competition will be held at the same location on Feb. 9 and 10. Visit or search “Mid-Atlantic Weight Pullers” on Facebook for more information.