Sled Dog Race This Weekend at Jericho

March 8, 2013
by Barbara Tetrault
Berlin Daily Sun

BERLIN For the first time ever, a two day sled dog race is set to take place this weekend at Jericho Mountain State Park.

As many as 15 sled dog and Skijor teams from across New England are expected to participate in the 20-mile race that is being hosted by North Country Mushers and the White Mountain Ridge Runners snowmobile club.

Musher-Sally Sally Manikian of N.C. Mushers has worked with WMRR Assistant Trailmaster Larry Gomes in setting up a course on existing snowmobile trails that is both safe and offers mushers some challenging terrain. Manikian said a section of the course is pretty hilly but there are not a lot of twists and turns that are difficult for sled dog teams to maneuver.

Sled dogs will compete in two categories a 4 to 6 dog class and an 8-dog class. There is also a Skijor class, which consists of a dog assisting a cross-country skier. Manikian said teams will run the same course both days with winners determined by combined times for the two days. Sunday will feature a one-day sportsman race.

The race will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday from the Visitor's Center at Jericho State Park with the teams taking off in one-minute intervals. Spectators are welcome. Manikian said the start and finish offer spectators the best view of the race although she said snowmobilers can also get good views of the racers out on the course. She estimated the top racers will cross the finish line in about 90 minutes but said it will take close to two and a half hours for the final team to complete the course.

Manikian said North Country Mushers in the past put on a similar race in Stratford but this year decided to try Jericho State Park.

'This is sort of a test to see if people like it,' she said.

Manikian noted Berlin has a long history of sled dog racing and said the city hosted the first long distance race in New England back in the 1920s.

She praised the snowmobile club for its help on the race. While Manikian, a musher herself, has worked on setting up the race course, she said club President Jaye Foucher, Vice President Steve Jaillet, and Treasurer Rhonda O'Hearn will organize and run the actual race.

 

Sally Manikian of North Country Mushers holds her two dogs Plexico and Tawhio.
Manikian has been working on the trail layout for her organization's Jericho Sled Dog Race
this weekend at Jericho Mountain State Park (BARBARA TETREAULT PHOTO).

 

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