Sled dog teams from across the Midwest will compete in Land O’ Lakes this weekend. —STAFF PHOTO
Land O’ Lakes to host sled dog races this weekend
By News-Review Staff
This season’s heavy snows and cold temperatures have created ideal conditions for the 34th running of the Three Bear Sled Dog Races in Land O’ Lakes, which is slated for this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8-9.
Fast-paced sled dog teams from three to more than 12 dogs will run through forested trails in both Michigan and Wisconsin starting from the town hall grounds in downtown Land O’ Lakes.
The races are hosted by the local Three Bear Sled Dog Races and Games Committee and organized by the Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club. The races are sanctioned by the International Sled Dog Racing Association.
Racers from around the Midwest and across the country will race in a variety of divisions, including three-dog, four-dog, six-dog and unlimited team sizes. Some racers don’t even use a sled, instead choosing to skijor on cross-country skis.
This event is not just for the competitors. Spectators will be treated to viewing areas set up along the courses and at the start and finish areas on the grounds of the Land O’ Lakes Town Hall on Highway B.
Adding to the races, the Land O’ Lakes community has planned a variety of outdoor games and activities.
The popular Children’s Mutt Race will have registration at noon on both days with racing starting at 1 p.m.
Children are welcome to take their own dogs along from home to race in a 50-yard dash.
“Thanks to the generosity of a local dog lover, there will also be dogs available for those who can’t bring their own,” said an event spokesperson.
A harness and sled will be provided. There is no entry fee for this timed event and prizes will be awarded.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, teams of three can compete in the Barcalounger Race. Two team members will push a recliner that has been upgraded with the addition of skis. The third team member will be responsible for cheering them on as they enjoy the ride.
Prizes will be awarded for the three teams with the fastest times down the snowy course.
Additional activities during the weekend will include a free walk-in skating clinic at the Snowflake ice rink on the town hall grounds.
Amy Alt, a hockey and figure skating coach from the University of Denver, will be on hand to work with beginner and intermediate skaters. Skates will be available.
Alt will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Also on Saturday, chainsaw carver Cheryl Campbell will demonstrate her craft from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Throughout both days, warm food will be available.
Saturday also will feature the Winter Festival Craft Show and Flea market inside the Land O’ Lakes Elementary School, which is adjacent to the race site. More than 40 vendors will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The activities Saturday conclude with the annual Musher’s Ball at the historical Gateway Lodge on the corner of Highway 45 and Highway B in Land O’ Lakes.
Borderline will perform music at Gateway from 8 p.m. to midnight.
There are no fees for any of these events. However, attendees are welcome to take pet food for donations to the Humane Society of Vilas County. For more information, visit 3bear.org.