Lakeside start for Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race
Grand Portage Lodge and Casino a top race sponsor will host the first stage start of the second annual Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race. The start of the race will see 14 dog teams begin taking off from the Lodge in Grand Portage at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2014 to compete for the $25,000 purse. Cold temperatures and a lot of snow favor hard and fast trails for the dog teams this year.
Spectators will have many opportunities throughout the weekend to see the teams as they race through Cook County. Race Director Beth Drost encourages everyone to get involved “Mushing is such an exciting sport to watch. The dogs love to run and the mushers love the dogs. When they get together you can feel the energy. You just gotta see it!”
This year’s competitors include 2013 Gichigami Express winner, Ross Fraboni from Two Harbors. Tough competition arrives from British Columbia—world champion Bud Streeper will compete in the 2014 race. Other notable teams are Iditarod bound Nathan Schroeder, Alaskans Ryan and Erin Redington and Cook County local teams Odin Jorgenson, Frank Moe and Matthew Schmidt.
The Gichigami Express is a staged race with three starts and three finishes. The combined times determine the winner. The first stage is from Grand Portage Lodge and Casino to Hungry Jack Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. Expect teams at the finish line at Hungry Jack around 1:00 pm.
Day two starts Sunday morning at Trail Center Lodge at 9:00 a.m. again and finishes at The Landing on Devil Track around 1:00 p.m. The third and final stage will start at The Landing and run back to Grand Portage with the teams arriving around 1:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.
The Gichigami Express is supported locally. Lead dog sponsors include the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Trail Center Resort and Camp Chow and Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply. Many other sponsors, in-kind donations and volunteers have supported the second running of the race. Organizers thank everyone for working to make it happen.
The Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race is a non-profit organization that celebrates the tradition of mushing in Cook County, shares the history and culture of mushing and supports local trail systems. The race organization seeks to involve schools and educational institutions as well as local community organizations in furthering its mission.