It was a race like no other in the Pilbara and celebrated the region’s most famous four-legged friend — and after seven long years, organisers of the Red Dog Relay hope it will return next year. Launched in 2013, the unique event lasted for two days and tested teams of four to six people over legs in which participants had to run, bus, drive, walk, swim, cycle and paddle from Dampier to Karratha, then Millstream, and back. In its first year, about 70 people competed in 15 teams but the event grew in popularity, with a massive 300 people taking part in the final year as well as a film festival and dog show as part of the 2016 edition. The Red Dog Relay and Festival was announced as one of several Pilbara events to receive funding on June 8 through the State Government’s 2022-23 Regional Events Scheme. The Regional Events Scheme grant aimed to help the Red Dog Relay and Festival return to Karratha this year from 26-28 August. However event organiser Peter Kay told the Pilbara News it would be unable to take place this year as it had not received support from the City of Karratha. He said organisers approached the City in October with a major events funding application to reactivate the festival, but the City had decided not to financially support it. “This decision by the City of Karratha not to consider all options to reactivate this potentially iconic annual Pilbara event was very disappointing, particularly given continued local community support over the four years of the event from 2013-2016, and since the last event in 2016,” he said. A City spokesperson said the City had indicated it could be interested in sponsoring the event, but the proposal did not meet application guidelines. “The City is a major sponsor of a wide variety of community events and contributes a substantial amount of funding every year to ensure these can go ahead,” the spokesperson said. “The City has previously provided funding to the Red Dog Relay and indicated it was potentially interested in supporting the event again under the City’s Major Events Sponsorship and Attraction Program. However the proposal received by the City did not meet the application guidelines. “Officers advised the organisers of this and sought to work with them to adjust the proposal. However, this was not taken up.” Mr Kay said the Red Dog Relay and Festival was a chance to create a truly iconic event for Karratha and the Pilbara region. “Whilst Karratha does have an annual events calendar, there is no major signature stand-out local event that authentically celebrates Karratha and the Pilbara and attracts visitation from around the State, Australia or overseas,” he said. “Red Dog Relay and Festival is a totally unique community and corporate multi-sport team relay event for Dampier, Karratha and the Pilbara that can’t be held anywhere else, given the film and book history with Hammersley Iron, now Rio Tinto, and therefore should receive proper levels of long-term funding support from the City and the State Government to be viable over the long term.” Mr Kay confirmed Red Dog Festival Pty Ltd had declined the Regional Events Scheme funding and had requested an extension until the same time next year.