The Maine State Championship Races are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Feb 26-27, at Sandy River Farms in Farmington. Because of recent warm weather and rain, the sled dog races may need to be postponed until the second weekend in March. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — The annual sled dog races at Sandy River Farms are scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26 and 27, but the weather will determine if they are held or not.

“We’re hoping,” organizer Joy Turner of Jay said last week. “It’s up in the air, doesn’t look promising.”

Renamed Maine State Championship Races last year, the races have been held in the cornfields off Route 2/27, Farmington Falls Road, for years. Several times they have had to be canceled from lack of snow.

Winners in each category are determined by the combined times of their dogs’ speed from both days. The races Saturday may start closer to 10 a.m. with Sunday’s a bit earlier, Turner said. Races are scheduled through early afternoon both days, she noted.

Turner has been working hard getting sponsorships for the races. She is close to meeting her $2,000 goal.

Warm temperatures and rain predicted for last week and this could deplete what snow cover there is. Snow is predicted for the end of the week, but it may be too little too late.


Joy Turner said her husband, Mark Turner, hasn’t put the trails in yet. Area snowmobile clubs have agreed to help, she said. The parking lot was done, it’s down to the ground, she noted.

Son Jake Turner is president of the Down East Sled Dog Club. The family has helped organize the races for years. Jake and his children compete in them.

“We look at the trail conditions,” he said Friday, Feb. 18. The safety of the dogs and mushers, if mushers can’t set a hook, and other factors are taken into consideration, he noted.

“There are a lot of mushers in the area, not a lot of races, we have some flexibility,” Jake said. “[The races] can be pushed to the second weekend in March.”

Farmington’s Fire and Ice Festival is scheduled for March 5.

Providing races for area mushers and the opportunity for community members to watch is what Jake would like to see happen. He hoped to make a decision by Feb. 20.

“If the groomer can’t get out, we’ll make that call,” he said.

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