FARMINGTON — The trails are groomed and ready for the Farmington Dog Sled Races on Saturday and Sunday.
Mushers and their teams of dogs will race across the York fields on Route 2, also known as the Farmington Falls Road, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, said Joy Turner, who organizes the event along with her husband, Mark.
The dogs are always ready.
“Once they see that line, they know exactly what to do,” she said. “They are ready to go.”
A local snowmobile club has helped groom the trail for some hard and fast races, she said.
The couple contend with weather conditions and snow, whether a lack of it or too much, each year while preparing trails that are safe for dogs and mushers alike, she said.
The event starts between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, with the popular skijoring in which a person on skis is pulled with a rope by one or two dogs, she said.
It is followed by junior classes or youngsters who are old enough to harness a dog and can handle a sled.
Competition between teams of four dogs, six dogs and eight dogs continue throughout the day. The distance averages about a mile for each dog. Four dogs go about 4 miles, eight dogs nearly 8 miles.
People can see the races from Route 2, starting from the field where Bussie York holds his corn maze to the Farmington Motel, she said.
Spectators are welcome. There’s no charge but donations are accepted to help with the weekend expenses, she said. Mushers are good about answering questions about their dog teams.
During lunch Saturday, children will compete in a one-dog class. They go about 50 yards, she said.
A recreational class for skijoring begins approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday when beginner mushers with their own equipment and dog teams compete.
The time is approximate, depending on when the six- and eight-dog races finish, she said.
The recreational class is held only Saturday afternoon.
Sled dogs need to be smart, she said. They can’t be just any dog. They need to know some basic dog sled or skiing commands.
Upkeep and training of dogs, a commitment and an expense, has fewer mushers competing. This year, there will be no dual start or two teams going out at the same time.
Meals are available for purchase both days.