FARMINGTON — While this weekend’s annual sled dog races will have several changes, the anticipation and excitement seen among mushers, the dogs and viewers will be the same.

The races, sponsored by Down East Sled Dog Club, will be held at Sandy River Farms’ cornfields on Route 2 and 27 this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 22 and 23. The club has renamed the event this year. The new name is Maine State Championship Races.

Races both days will also start an hour later at 10 a.m. Events are scheduled to last until 3 p.m. but may end sooner on Sunday.

For years the sled dog races in Farmington have been organized by Mark and Joy Turner of Jay. Their son Jake Turner, Down East Sled Dog Club President, competes as do his three daughters. With warmer weather predicted this weekend, Jake Turner has announced the eight-dog races will be held prior to the four- and six-dog races.

Husky breed teams will be competing in the eight-dog division and the earlier start could prevent overheating in those dogs, Joy Turner said.

The combined results from both days of racing determine the winners in each category. Categories include one- or two-dog skijor (for professionals), three-dog junior, four-dog, six-dog and eight-dog. On Saturday afternoon a recreational-skijor race will be held after those races are completed.

Back 40 Events will return this year, after a successful first appearance last year, to provide music and time each race. Each team will have a computerized chip attached to the musher’s bib. Sponsor names will be advertised on the mushers’ bibs, Joy Turner said.

She said the purse for the races is about $2,000. She raises half of that amount.

The Turners are hoping for a good turnout this weekend. There is another race in Vermont this weekend but several mushers have already indicated they will be in Farmington. Regular registration ends Friday. Mushers may register Saturday with a late fee.

“The more mushers there are, the better it is for the local community,” Joy Turner said. “People like to see us come back.”

The Franklin County 4-H Beef Boosters Club will be selling food. A bonfire will be available to help keep spectators warm between races.

The sled dog races are free for the public but donations will be accepted to help cover costs.

For more information call Joy Turner 645-2864, Mark Turner 578-1057 or Jake Turner 491-9165.

 

 

 


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