Sled Dog Races
March 8th and 9th
February 28, 2014
The Berlin Daily Sun
BERLIN – The success of last year's sled dog race at Jericho
Mountain State Park convinced the sponsors to host the event again this year.
The two-day event will be held March 8-9 and is expected to attract 15 sled dog
team and five ski-jor teams.
"It was so popular last year that's why we're doing it again. It was a lot of fun," said Sally Manikian of North Country Mushers.
North County Mushers works with the White Mountain Ridge Runners snowmobile club to put on the two-day race. The 17-mile race course is on existing snowmobile trails and has been designed to offer mushers some challenging terrain while keeping safety in mind. The course also provides some spectacular views.
Sled dogs teams will compete in two categories – a 4 to 6 dog class and an 8-dog class. There is also a ski-jor class, which consists of a cross-country skier pulled by one or two dogs.
Manikian said teams will run the same course both days with winners determined by combined times for the two days. Last year the top time for the two-day event was under three hours and most finished in less than four hours. The ski-jor teams were slower; the top finisher came in at 4:41:20 for the combined event.
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.
Manikian is competing this weekend in the 250-mile Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog race in Fort Kent, Maine. The Shelburne woman said the race is the only mid-distance sled dog race in New England. It will be the longest distance race she has done.
Manikian qualified for the race by successfully competing Feb. 1 in the 100-mile Wilderness Sled Dog race in Greenville, Maine. She said she has been training with her team since September, racking up 1,500 miles of trail work.