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First-ever ‘Sucker River Mud Bath’ to bring springtime sled dog race to Grand Marais

Grand Marais, Mich. (WJMN) – We are all aware of the cancelation of The UP’s two premiere sled dog races: The UP 200 and The Copper Dog 150 in Calumet. Well, you still have an opportunity to see world-class canine athletes compete in a different type of dog sled race.

The Great Lakes Sled Dog Association is holding its first-ever Sucker River Mud Bath, a dryland sled dog race in Grand Marais on April 27 and 28th. There will be a full slate of dryland races as well as a mountain bike race and a 5k run. Race Chair, Brian Juckette says that although the two major distance races in the UP were canceled, the mushers and the dogs still want to run.

“Well, number one, if you’ve never been to a dog race in general or a dog sledding race, it’s that. So, you got dogs that like the pole things that it’s kind of their job and they love doing it. So, a lot of people in the Upper Peninsula have been to maybe the U.P. 200 or, you know, Copper Dog or something like that. But it’s basically a dog sledding race. But there’s no snow.” Said Juckette.

Grand Marais was hit especially hard this past winter with most winter activities halted due to lack of snow. Juckette says this dryland event is good for the sport and hopefully good for the community.

“So, you can go hang out, you know, in the morning.” Said Juckette. “And I think there’s some pancake breakfast and other things going on around town in the morning. You can grab some food and then, you know, come out to the race. We’re also going to have, I think, you know, some vendors out with coffee and pub and pasties. And I think even the Sportsmen’s Club is going to be cooking some hotdogs.”

Veteran Musher Jana Roberts is excited to compete against some of the best dog sled teams in the country but is equally enthusiastic about getting newcomers to the sport to participate.

“And then most importantly, there’s a fun run class. So, all the pressure’s taken off. You can do a bike scooter. You can run one dog or two dogs. We will have gear available to borrow. So, if you’ve got a dog, you’ve been kind of working toward and you’re just curious how they’ll do. Don’t worry about trying to get all the gear together, we have gear you can use.” Said Roberts.

Jana says that even though they will be running on wheels rather than sled rails, The governing bodies of sled dog racing take safety very seriously.

“The international federations for both associations provide mileage distances based on what they think is safe and they do it within a range.” Said Roberts. “So, you, as a race-organized organizer, can look at temperature, humidity, and what the trails are looking like to be able to set. I think, in this case, all the dog classes are 3.4 miles. And then the youth in the fun running class will be at a one-and-a-half mile.”

For more information on this fun and exciting weekend in Grand Marais. Visit their website: up200.org.

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