BLOWING ROCK — Prep your pups.

The fourth annual K-9 Keg Pull, an event that benefits Todd-based animal rescue Partners! Canines, will make its way to Blowing Rock’s American Legion Building during WinterFest on Jan. 26.

Dogs of all sizes are matched up with empty beer kegs, which will be mounted on sleds and snowboards. Keg size will be determined by weight. From there, participating dogs will race down the approximately 100-foot course to the finish line.

Races will begin at 1 p.m. and go until 4 p.m. depending on the number of competitors.

“It’s silly and funny, and a great fundraiser,” K-9 Keg Pull Founder Lynn Smith said.

Half of the proceeds from the event will go to Partners! Canines, which has physically transported 900 animals from shelters, mostly dogs, and aided in the transport of 400 more dogs just this year.

In between races, Melissa McKinnon of Woof Pack Pet Services in Boone will provide entertainment by way of dog tricks.

Spectators are also welcome to bring their dogs to the keg pull.

“Doggie-related prizes,” based on size category, will be awarded for Overall Fastest, Overall Slowest, Oldest Dog and Youngest Dog. Pet Place in Boone donated prizes, along with various shops in Blowing Rock that provided gift certificates.

Furry friends don’t have to feel left out of the nearby beer garden either — non-alcoholic dog beer will be provided by Woof Pack.

Preregister online for the K-9 Keg Pull at highcountryk9kegpull.weebly.com from now until 10 a.m. Jan. 25. Day-of registration will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pre-registration and day-of registration are the same price at $15. For a race packet with a T-shirt included, registration is $30.

Smith said people have started to approach her asking for race training advice. Smith advises having the participating dog pull become accustomed to pulling something behind them, preferably if the object makes a noise.

The keg pull is something that Smith believes will continue growing.

“I see it as an event that will grow as large as the Woolly Worm, I’m hoping,” Smith said.

For now, Smith hopes to raise $3,000 to $4,000 and have 75-100 participating dogs. The second year had the largest attendance thus far with 50 participating dogs. Frigid temperatures during 2018’s keg pull affected event participation, so Smith is looking forward to a larger turnout.

Partners! Canines Executive Director Eva Hyatt said the cost associated with transporting one dog is approximately $25, but can cost up to $50 if medical issues are prevalent — which they often are. Keg pull participants and spectators have the chance to donate to Partners! Canines by sponsoring one dog transfer or a whole transfer.

For more information about Partners! Canines, visit www.partnerscanines.org, its Facebook page @PARTNERSCanines and its Instagram @partnerscanines.

Two “yappy hour” events will precede the keg pull at Stella Blue’s Pawtique from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 24. Attendees can enjoy beer or wine while their furry friends tag along. The store is located at 110 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock.

Bistro Roca will host the second yappy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 25. The restaurant is located at 143 Wonderland Trail in Blowing Rock.

Blowing Rock WinterFest will run from Jan. 24-27. For more information about the winter-themed events, visit blowingrockwinterfest.com.

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