Inland Empire Sled Dog Association
IESDA members with author Gary Paulsen at Ikidarod
Hosting the US Pacific Coast Championship Sled Dog Races at Priest Lake, Idaho
The Inland Empire Sled Dog Association (IESDA) was incorporated in 1966 for the purposes of promoting sled dog sporting by supporting events such as races, rallies, and demonstrations. Vince and Brendia Heintzleman were two of the first members (see a tribute to the Heintzlemans and their kennel) IESDA is devoted to the safe, humane and knowledgeable treatment of dogs when participating in these activities and the perpetuation of good sportsmanship among participants.
The Association's primary activity is promotion and support of the Priest Lake Sled Dog Race. This race has been a fixture at Nordman since 1969 and is one of several races that form the Pacific Northwest Championships. Mushers come from all over the west to participate in the Priest Lake Race. There are a number of different classes in which teams compete. They include 6/8 dog mid distance, 8 dog sprint, 6 dog sprint, 6 dog purebred, 6 dog malamute, 4 dog sprint, 4 dog purebred, 4 dog malamute, Advanced Skijor, Novice Skijor, Novice Sled, Teddy Bear, and PeeWee. This event benefits the economies of both Priest River and Priest Lake and provides a unique spectator experience. These communities in turn support the race through their sponsorships. The Priest Lake Sled Dog Race is always the first weekend in February.
Since 2005, the club has also sponsored an autumn cart race at Riverside State Park in Spokane. This event, usually held on the first weekend in November, is known as the Spokane Dirt Rendezvous. It began as a one day event and now covers two days and attracts dryland mushers from throughout the region. Dryland races include similar classes as the snow race, but teams pull rigs on wheels. 4, 6 and 8 dog teams pull carts while 2 dog teams pull scooters and bicycles.
Other club activities include a semi-annual clean-up along Highway 2 near Newport, WA. While some members travel around the northwest on the Pacific Coast Championship, which is primarily a sprint circuit, others attend longer mid-distance events. Still others stay closer to home and enjoy the beautiful trails that abound here in northern and eastern Washington. IESDA members own and train a variety of dogs, including Alaskan Huskies, Eurohounds, Siberian Huskies, Seppala Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds and more.