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Staff report, Published March 05 2009

Halstad, Minn., to host Red River Sled Dog Derby this weekend

HALSTAD, Minn. - Teams consisting of 12 dogs will race 164 miles from Halstad, Minn., to East Grand Forks and back in the second running of the Red River Sled Dog Derby set for Saturday and Sunday.

At stake is a purse of $4,000 plus prizes. As of Tuesday, there were 21 teams registered from Minnesota, Ontario, Montana, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Colorado.

The Red River Valley has roots in dog mushing history. In 1802, Alexander Henry of Pembina, N.D., used sled dogs to transport furs and other trade goods. Jolly Joe Rollete traveled from Winnipeg to St. Paul using sled dogs in the winter.

This year’s race marshal, Ed Dallas, played Gunnar Tveit, the great Norwegian musher in “Iron Will,” the Walt Disney movie about the 1917 Winnipeg to St. Paul Dog Derby. This year’s race will commemorate that run.

To volunteer, call (701) 345-8554 or e-mail hcorlew@polarcomm.com.

If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, e-mail raceinfo@redriversleddogderby.com or call (701) 352-2029.

The tentative schedule of events is:

Friday

- 1 to 5 p.m.: Musher registration and pre-race vet checks at Red River E-Clinic in Fargo.

- 6 p.m.: Musher Bib Draw & Pre-Race Banquet at the Prairie Rose Inn & Convention Center, tickets required.

Saturday

- 7 to 11:30 a.m.: Breakfast in Halstad American Legion.

- 8 a.m.: Race staging.

- 10 a.m.: Race starts in Halstad, Minn.

- 2 p.m.: Teams will start arriving at the Frog Point checkpoint.

- 6 p.m.: Teams will start arriving at LaFave Park-East Grand Forks checkpoint.

Sunday

- 10 a.m.: Teams will finish the race in Halstad, Minn.

- 4:30 p.m.: Musher’s awards banquet in Halstad; tickets required.

For more information on the race and the mushers, log on to www.redriversleddogderby.com.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.