Derby competitors do their doggone best as weather co-operates for festival events

Festival scenes ... (clockwise from above) Queenstown lights up; Serena McGlade and Pip share a...
Festival scenes ... (clockwise from above) Queenstown lights up; Serena McGlade and Pip share a burger after competing in the dog race; Stirling Deaton leads the Otago Polytechnic ski instructors in the tug-of-war on skis; American visitor Kimberly Zita competes in the suitcase race. PHOTOS: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A few centimetres of fresh snow overnight was the icing on the cake for Queenstown Winter Festival events at the Cardrona Alpine Resort yesterday, with plenty of blue sky and a strong, cold nor'wester thrown in for good measure.

The main attraction was the dog derby, divided into races for both town and country dogs.

Arrowtown electrician Richard Dunnett, with 18-month-old German shepherd Sam, took the honours ahead of a pack of mixed breeds in the town section.

The farm dogs event was won by Chris Lawson and 3-year-old Meg, from Otapiri Gorge.

There was one mishap: Ben Bland, of Wanaka, finished with a suspected broken nose after a fall near the start, but his mixed-breed dog Skipper was unscathed.

And there was one scratching. Police constable Regan Smith, of Queenstown, was forced to lock up his long-haired German shepherd pet Opie, who behaved in a disorderly manner before the start.

Several competitors in the field of about 40 said they would be back for the Coronet Peak derby in September.

The tug of war on skis was won by four trainee ski-ing instructors from the Otago Polytechnic, and a small field with an even smaller crowd of spectators hung on in windy conditions for the suitcase race.

Over at Queenstown's Earnslaw Park, there was plenty of colour, costumes and cheap shots in the annual dodgeball championships.

In first place was The 4 Horsy Men and second place went to the Floppy Missfits, while Skilli Sausages were named best dressed for their full-body, hot-dog outfits.

Other events in Queenstown last night included a fireworks display, and today there will be the Undy 500 and the birdman event.

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