When in 1995 some National Sleddog Organizations in Europe did not agree with direction the FISTC was going, a decision was made to create a new International Organization for the sport with purebred sleddogs according to F.C.I. standards.
When Bernd Keusemann drove back from a meeting with the FISTC from Salzburg, Austria the concept for a new organization was first time mentioned in the discussion during this car ride.
A first meeting of potential members was held in August 1995 in the 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 e.V. -WSA- was founded
Original founding board members included Gitta Henz, Hanne Noike, Jürgen Falkenberg, Bernd Dahlke, Johann Lingier, Paul Kutzner and the Chairman Bernd Keusemann. At the first General Assembly of the WSA, Pia Joergensen and John Swanen were added as board members.
In the first few months thereafter the WSA was proud to announce new members from Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In the following years the board had numerous elections and re-elections of board members. In the General Assembly of 2007 Bernd Keusemann resigned from the position as Chairman and Jane Nordloff from Sweden became the new WSA Chairman. At the same G.A. also Gitta Henz and Hanne Noike resigned from their respective board positions. Both were the only other members that were on the WSA board from day one.
Already in 1997 the WSA approached the IFSS to become an IFSS member. After a meeting between the IFSS representatives and Bernd Keusemann at the Paris Orly Airport, the WSA became in 1998 an associated member of the IFSS and holds this membership status as of today. It also brought over 3000 new mushers to the IFSS and allowed a stronger approach towards the IOC and the recognition of the sleddog sports.
The time for International Championships had come and first Distance- and Sprint European Championships were held in Neubau/Fichtelberg and Frauenau respectively.
Every Year thereafter the "WSA Sleddog Circus" traveled to a different location and countries from Germany over Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland to hold the annual Championships.
es we did have some bad luck in 2001 and 2002 when the Championships had to be cancelled due bad weather conditions, but never-the-less the following years the weather God was back on our side and we were able to organize excellent events.
We had 5 World Championships in these past years. In 2000 in Nesselwängle, Austria where the European mushers gave up the 6-dog Siberian title to our Canadian musher friend. The first and only time a WSA title went overseas. 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 W.C.'s in Asarna and Oberwiesenthal were Sprint and Distance events.
To keep our members in South Africa and New Zealand racing in the spirit of the WSA, 2 trophies were sponsored by the WSA. The South Africa WSA-Trophy and the New Zealand WSA-Trophy. Both trophies should be racing for in National events in respective areas.
In addition to the World Championships the WSA also held European Championships as well as Eurocup races. The growing number of participants in the Eurocup events proves that this is the right direction to go over and above the annual championship races. This holds even more true in the years when championship races had to be cancelled.
Due to these sports oriented work WSA has become the largest sleddog organization for purebred sleddog in the World!
The WSA has currently 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 associated member to allow it’s mushers with pure bred to participate in WSA events. This applied to all ESDRA members from countries not yet being a WSA member.
Should I say: The sun never sets in the WSA Empire ?! This may be too outrageous (but we are working on it).
In 1999 WSA held its first race marshal training seminar. This race marshal training and the certification of WSA race marshals was coordinated with the ESDRA and our race judges are not only accepted at WSA events but moreover also at ESDRA events. As a result ESDRA race judges can be active at WSA races and WSA judges will be available for events held by ESDRA members. As of today about 50 race judges have participated in the WSA race judge seminars with 5 judges being at an International race judge’s status.
I am wishing everyone of the board and the mushers of the WSA a good luck and good mushing.
Former WSA Chairman