As Jason and Erin Sperry - and their kennel of dogs, the Nordic Paws Racing Team - prepare to participate in a competition serving as the trial event for the 2011 Skijoring World Championships, they do so with the support of the Fulton Companies.

Fulton offered the sponsorship to Erin, the company’s commercial heating product manager, and her husband Jason, both of Mexico, N.Y., as they participate in the professional sport of skijoring this year. On March 5-7, Jason will compete in the Scandinavian Open Championships in Hamar, Norway, a competition serving as the trial event for the 2011 World Championships.

“We appreciate this sponsorship and the support of Fulton. Caring for our dogs on a daily basis, and the time and effort required for training and racing, requires not only financial resources but flexibility with personal time,” Erin Sperry says.

Kathy Sega, executive vice president and general manager at Pulaski, N.Y.-based Fulton Companies, shared Sperry’s enthusiasm. “Fulton is very proud to sponsor Erin, Jason and Nordic Paws Racing this year. As a family-owned company, we strive to support our employees in their personal lives - encouraging health and fitness and community involvement. Their dedication to this sport is something that we all can learn from.”

The Sperrys actively compete in professional and international race circuits with Nordic Paws, which consists of German shorthaired pointers and English pointers. The skijoring race season runs from January to March, though the Sperrys and their team compete throughout the year, including races with a dog pulling a mountain biker (bikejoring) or a runner (canicross) in the fall and also dock dog jumping in the summer.

Skijoring is a sport that originated in Scandinavia, and today is popular in countries all over the world. It is a combination of Nordic skate skiing with dog sled racing, or mushing. Skijor race teams consist of a skier and the one or two dogs that pull them. Participation and excellence from both the quality of the skier and the dogs contribute to a successful team. Nordic Paws also enters traditional sprint sled races, which vary in distance from five to 10 miles, and are considered sprint races when speeds average over 20 miles per hour.

Erin and Jason have both won medals internationally through the International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) race circuit. They have also competed in multiple World Championship Races put on through the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports (IFSS). The results from competitions in the 2010 racing season will hopefully lead to a berth to compete in the 2011 World Championship races to be held in Norway.

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