Paws and Steel

Smith (111 lbs. Newfoundland) placed 2nd in the “giant” division.

On the cold, crisp Sunday morning of Feb. 17, man’s two oldest and best friends were combined: beer and dogs, called to competition in a flurry of fur, tails and steel.

This year at the Wild West Winterfest, Bridger Feed presented the 8th annual Dog Keg Pull, featuring beer from Madison River Brewing Company.

The going was as tough as the beer was smooth, with over 50 dogs competing, in six different weight classes. The heats were ordered by weight class, starting at tiny (0-10 pounds), then to tucker (11-25 pounds), medium (26-50 pounds), large (51-75 pounds), extra-large (76-100 pounds), and finally ending with giant (100+ pounds).

Registration was a simple $10 entry fee and included a t-shirt, one free beverage, a participation ribbon, a multitude of prizes courtesy of Bridger Feed and Madison River Brewing Company and the potential glory of being named fastest keg-pull dog.

The competition consisted of individual dogs pulling a sled filled with beer and judged based on their individual times. The amount of beer used was determined by weight class, ranging from a single beer bottle, a six pack, quarter keg, half keg, all the way to a full-blown keg. The furry friends then raced through a thirty-foot chute lined with straw bales, and were encouraged by their friends and families with treats, balls and shouts of encouragement. One 111-pound Newfoundland named Smith was thrown a full-sized log to encourage him to complete the course.

Prizes were awarded to the three fastest dogs in each division and a grand prize to the overall fastest dog. This year the fastest hauler was a chocolate lab named Rocky in the “giant” division, with a close second from yellow lab Maximus representing the “very large” division. Some returning favorites were two three-legged dogs, one of which managed to place second in the “large breeds” division.

Alongside Bridger Feed and Madison River was the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter. Representatives of the shelter volunteered and helped out with the event, as well as showcased the up-and-coming dogs available for adoption.

At the end of the event the sleepy pups headed home, tails still wagging, and hopefully, with their winnings in tow or hopes for better times next year at the 9th annual Dog Keg Pull.