NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Dryland Dash made it back up to Negaunee this year for another weekend filled with races.
Dryland Dash was held this weekend, bringing in dogs and owners from all around the region, ready to participate in a version of sled dog racing that only takes place on “dry land”.
This year the amount of entries in the race were extremely high. Race organizers said they received over a 100 entries, making the total almost double of what it was last year.
“It was a record registration this year,” says Mari Vaydik, Vice President for UP200 Board of Directors. “There really is this growing community of dryland races around the Midwest, and I think were seeing that interest grow both with participants, and spectators.”
There is no fee to go watch the dash, but the fee to enter this race has a large range. The price to enter is dependent on how many dogs you are racing, and how many events you participate in.
The dash kicked off on Saturday morning beginning with the mushers meeting, followed by the first team crossing the start at 9 am. Teams raced throughout the rest of the day, with no set end time, just finishing once the last racer crosses the finish line.
Dogs, owners and race teams were all excited to see what the weekend had in store for them, once dogs where hooked up and ready to race, their love for the sport truly seemed to show as they anticipated what came next.
“If you ever see us hook them up they won’t shut up,” said Rich Besler, 2-dog Bikejor Racer “They’ll be jumping and yellin and sceamin, it’s just incredible, dogs in the line, they just know what they’re doing. Once you put the harness on em, they just go nuts.”
Racers started on a 2.2 mile loop at the Negaunee Township Park, with race officials leaving a two minute gap between each team. Second day of racing order was determined by team time on the first day, beginning with fastest finishers, and ending with the slowest.
Racers can participate in many different sections of the Dryland Dash, some categories include 4 and 6 dog rig classes, bikejor, scooterjor, junior, and canicross racing, creating about 35 different classes to participate in.
“I just encourage people if they want to try this sport,” says Tim Trowbridge, chairman of the UP200 Dryland Dash “If they feel like that they can’t because they only have 1 or 2 pet dogs, we have an opportunity so that people can try it.”
The Dryland Dash has a lot of beginner opportunities, offering many races that you may only need 1 or 2 dogs for and not a lot of equipment. The dash also gives beginners the opportunity to sign up in a sport class, a class that is for any non-competitive mushers.
Dryland Dash rounded off on Sunday evening after all of the participants finished and the winners were posted. Winners were determined based on their times from both days, adding them up to get the end total. The winner of the dash received a $2000 cash prize.
If anyone is looking to volunteer for any UP200 races, click here to sign up for events offered in the area.