ASHLAND, WI — The city of Ashland has been host to the annual Sleigh and Cutter Rally for more than a decade now, and competitors and organizers, alike, say they don’t want to see it go.
The partial government shutdown almost put an end to the event’s 33 year run, but thanks to a little push, riders and their four-legged teammates went trotting along Saturday.
“We had a little bit of a scare this year with the federal shutdown due to this being a federal property, but with some petitions to the right people, we got the thumbs up to be here today.” Organizer Julie Dahlberg said.
There’s a lot of moving parts to the annual event, with awards ranging from 17 different categories.
“Lots of prep at home to training horses, cleaning sleighs, getting everything loaded in a trailer to come here and enjoy our horses and show off for the public,” Dahlberg said.
Some have been involved since the very beginning, like Beth Ann Perendy.
“We heard about this when it used to be in Duluth, and we would drive up — my husband and I would drive up — every year to watch it, and then we were lucky enough to get a horse that drove and that we learned to drive so that we could actually partake in it, and, so now, we just follow it wherever they have it,” Perendy said.
She says the best part doesn’t have to do with competition.
“This situation here in Ashland and the support we get from here is so wonderful. We hope we never have to move again,” Perendy said.
For her, it’s about being in a place like Ashland, surrounded by people who appreciate the sport.
“We’re thrilled that we’re able to have this event, and I think the public is happy that we’re here too, so it’s a great day in Ashland,” Dahlberg said.