American Dog Derby

1917 to 1922

Photo Collection Of Early Dog Derby in Chronological Order

1917 (Photo) First American Dog Derby Street Scene
1917 (Photo) First American Dog Derby Street Scene
Photo taken on Main Street looking West near intersection of 5th and Main at the first American Dog Derby. Photo can be dated. The new Ashton Hotel that was rebuilt after a fire in 1920 should be visible to the right but is not so this photo must be prior to 1920. There was new fresh snow in 1919 so this cannot be 1919. The Derby of 1918 had warm and sunny weather with objects casting shadows, standing water, and bare sidewalks near this intersection. Weather and snow conditions in this photo are consistent with 1917. Moreover, same two-lane track down Main Street can be seen in dated photos of 1917. Finally, zooming into center of photo shows a railroad boxcar at the tracks in the distance in the exact location as in the other 1917 photos. This is a photo of the first American Dog Derby in 1917. The mushers in 1917 were to race down the unplowed Yellowstone Branch railroad from West Yellowstone but 12 of the 16 entrants did not make it through the deep fresh snow in Island Park to start the race. The musher in this photo (at right) must be one of those who did not make it to West Yellowstone to start the race.
Neal C. Wickham