Catch the Excitement of Dog Sled Racing on Grand Mesa
by Gus Jarvis
Jan 20, 2011 | 2318 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>MUSH!</b> – Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club President Lynn Whipple and her four-dog team turned a corner while racing in Leadville, Colo. last March. Dogsled racing comes to the Grand Mesa on Jan. 29 and 30. (Photo courtesy Lucy Bettis)
MUSH! – Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club President Lynn Whipple and her four-dog team turned a corner while racing in Leadville, Colo. last March. Dogsled racing comes to the Grand Mesa on Jan. 29 and 30. (Photo courtesy Lucy Bettis)
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GRAND MESA – The excited sounds of racing dogs’ yips and barks dogs will fill the air on Jan. 29 and 30 at the top of the Grand Mesa when the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club, the Colorado Mountain Mushers and the Grand Mesa Byway Merchants Group host the fifth annual Rocky Mountain Dog Sled Races.

The races start at 8:30 a.m. each day with classes in four-, six-, eight- and 10-dog race classes. There will also be races in one- and two-dog skijor classes; skijor is an exciting race where dogs pull a skier for an exhilarating race around the course.

Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club President Lynn Whipple said the race offers an exciting opportunity for the entire family to get outdoors on the Grand Mesa and experience everything dogsled racing has to offer.

“This is a great race to find out what this sport is all about,” Whipple said. “It’s a positive sport for both humans and animals. It’s great for kids to see these dogs enjoy what they do and see these dogs work together.”

Mushers from around the region will be on hand to compete in the International Sled Dog Racing Association-sanctioned event. The races will be held on groomed trails in tiptop racing condition for high-speed competition.

“In our club, we have some top-ranked mushers that compete internationally,” she said. “A lot of them will be going 20-plus miles per hour. It’s really exciting.”

Part of the excitement, Whipple said, is watching the dogs do what they love.

“They love to put their energy into a productive use. They enjoy having a job to do and they give you so much and ask for so little in return,” Whipple said. “It’s very rewarding to work with them in this sport. It’s a phenomenal experience, and it’s exhilarating to be pulled by a dog team through the snow.”

Whipple adds that the event will be a good place for those interested in mushing to become more familiarized with the dogs and the sport. A musher herself, Whipple got her start by skijoring her dogs for exercise and soon fell in love with dogsled racing.

“Somebody showed me how to hook up the dog while I was on skis and I was immediately hooked,” she said. “The dog does the hard work but I still get the exercise. The dogs thrive on it. It’s an amazing thing when you are working together in the backcountry. This will be a good place to go and find out what it’s all about.”

The site of the race is approximately 20 miles from Cedaredge on the Grand Mesa National Forest on Hwy. 65, at the Mesa Tops Parking Lot, near the Land’s End Road turnoff.

A concession stand with food and warm drinks will be available. For more information, please visit rmsdc.com

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