World Sleddog Association are the largest organization in the world dedicated to purebred sled dog racing. By hosting races for FCI recognized sled dog breeds, we aim to help preserve these ancient breeds, while giving them the opportunity to do what they love. We are passionate about protecting and promoting the health and wellbeing of our dogs and bringing mushers from around the world together to share their passion and learn from each other.
The History of the IFSS In the early 1980s, ISDRA and ESDRA, under the impetus of Bob Levorsen (California) and Glenda Walling (Idaho), were proposed to jointly apply for IOC recognition. But the IOC only recognizes international sports federations and therefore recommended that the two organizations form one international organization.
So in 1985, the IFSS was formed with ISDRA and ESDRA as founding members. Glenda Walling of Idaho was elected president. Dona Hawley was appointed Secretary General. The other members of the Council were Morten Aspaas (Norway), Katy Frost (AK, USA), Bernard Pepin (France), Robert Levorsen (California, USA), Valerie Lougheed (Canada), Jürgen Lüber (Germany), Ewald Volk ( Austria).
As a first step towards applying to the IOC, the IFSS applied for membership and was approved in 1987 by the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), which unites all international sports federations. GAISF is a member of the IOC.
In October 1992, the IFSS was incorporated in the state of Idaho as a nonprofit organization under the Idaho Nonprofit Corporation Act, and IFSS first filed with the IOC in 1993.
In 2012, the IFSS headquarters was moved and registered from the US to Brussels (Belgium). The last development of the IFSS on the international sports scene is in 2011 when it was accepted as a member of the International Masters Game Association (IMGA) for the purpose of participating in the Masters Games 2015. IFSS is also actively pursuing the opportunity to be part of the 2016 Youth Olympic Games.
Glenda Walling remained IFSS Chair until 1998 and was re-elected every two years at each General Assembly. In 1998 she was not eligible for re-election and Tim White (MN, USA) was elected. Tim White remained in this position until 2006 when he was replaced by Bengt Ponten (Sweden). Helen Lundberg (USA) was elected president in 2013.
Since 1990, IFSS has hosted World Championships, originally every year, now every other year. The European Championships previously under the responsibility of ESDRA (one of the IFSS founders) are now organized by IFSS/European Director.
The History of the WSA In 1995, when some national sled dog organizations in Europe disagreed with the direction of the FISTC, it was decided to to establish a new international organization for the sport with purebred sled dogs according to FCI standards.
When Bernd Keusemann drove back from a meeting with the FISTC from Salzburg, Austria, the concept for a new organization was first mentioned in the discussion during this drive. A first meeting of potential members took place in August 1995 at Hotel Pfefferhöhe, Germany. This meeting was attended by delegates from Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Those were the first organizations that had decided to leave the FISTC.
The WORLD SLEDDOG ASSOCIATION eV -WSA- was founded
Original board members included Gitta Henz, Hanne Noike, Jürgen Falkenberg, Bernd Dahlke, Johann Lingier, Paul Kutzner and the chairman Bernd Keusemann. At the WSA's first General Assembly, Pia Joergensen and John Swanen were added as board members.
In the first few months that followed, the WSA was proud to announce new members from Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In the years since, the board has had numerous elections and re-elections of board members. In the 2007 General Assembly, Bernd Keusemann resigned as chairman and Jane Nordloff from Sweden became the new chairman of the WSA. At the same GA also Gitta Henz and Hanne Noike have resigned their respective directorships. Both were the only other members to serve on the WSA board from day one.
As early as 1997, the WSA approached the IFSS to become a member of the IFSS. After a meeting between the IFSS representatives and Bernd Keusemann at the Orly airport in Paris, the WSA became an associate member of the IFSS in 1998 and has this status as of today. It also brought more than 3,000 new mushers to the IFSS and enabled a stronger approach to the IOC and recognition of the sled dog sport.
It was time for the International Championships and the first European Distance and Sprint Championships were held in Neubau/Fichtelberg and Frauenau respectively. After that, the "WSA Sleddog Circus" traveled every year to a different location and countries from Germany across Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland to hold the annual championships.
We have had 5 World Championships in the last few years. In 2000 in Nesselwängle, Austria, where the European mushers ceded the 6-dog Siberian title to our Canadian musher friend. The first and only time a WSA title went abroad. In 2004 in Cortina D´Ampezzo in Italy, 2006 in Frauenwald, in Germany, in 2008 in Asarna, Sweden, and 2010 in Oberwiesenthal, Germany. Oberwiesenthal had over 250 starters, including mushers from New Zealand and South Africa. Both the WCs in Asarna and Oberwiesenthal were sprint and distance competitions.
To allow our members in South Africa and New Zealand to race in the spirit of the WSA, 2 trophies were sponsored by the WSA. The South African WSA Trophy and the New Zealand WSA Trophy. Both trophies require racing in national events in the respective territories. In addition to the World Championships, the WSA also held European Championships and Eurocup races. The growing number of participants in the Eurocup events proves that this is the right direction to go beyond the annual championship races. This is even more true in the years when championship races had to be cancelled.
This sports-focused work has made WSA the largest purebred sled dog sled dog organization in the world!
The WSA currently has national member organizations from New Zealand over Russia and Central Europe to our newest member South Africa. During this time, the ESDRA organization decided to Become a WSA associate member to allow her purebred mushers participate in WSA events. This applied to all ESDRA members from countries that are not yet WSA members.
The sun never sets in the WSA Empire?! This might be too outrageous (but we're working on it).
In 1999, WSA held its first racing marshal training seminar. This race marshal training and certification of WSA race marshals has been coordinated with the ESDRA and our race judges are accepted not only at WSA events but also at ESDRA events. As a result, ESDRA Race Judges may be active at WSA Races and WSA Judges will be available for events held by ESDRA Members. As of today, approximately 50 race judges have participated in the WSA race jury seminars, with 5 judges holding International Race Jury Member status.