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Forum Communications Co., Published January 02 2010

Frazee sled dog race canceled

FRAZEE, Minn. – Organizers of an elite annual sled dog race here have canceled their upcoming winter race and are exploring founding a dryland race next fall instead.

In mid-December the Frazee Sled Dog Club voted to cancel the Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous set for Jan. 22-23, and instead investigate hosting a dryland race, which could be less costly to operate and depend less on Mother Nature’s cooperation.

A relatively new trend in sprint sled dog racing, club members decided a dryland race might be a better direction for their efforts.

In dryland racing, racers use wheeled “sleds” pulled by dogs instead of the customary sleds on skis used in winter racing.

Because the farmland the club used for winter races wouldn’t be available for a fall event, club members are searching for a site that could accommodate the start and finish line of a three-mile race, in addition to accommodating spectator and musher parking.

The track would have to be made of dirt or have to be mowed, and club officials hope to find a site that would provide spectators a view of the entire race.

“We’re really excited about this change,” said Frazee Sled Dog Secretary Gale Kaas. “There’s nothing more disheartening than to plan a race and put all the work in and have Mother Nature not cooperate.”

The Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous was first held in 1999 on a farm outside Frazee. It was the brainchild of world sprint champion Eddy Streeper, farmer Ike Fischer and Frazee-Vergas Forum reporter Lori Fischer Thorp.

Races were held there eight times over the past 11 years, with the exception of 2003, when it was moved to Long Lake near Vergas due to lack of snow.

Over the years, the top open sled dog teams have competed in the event from all over the globe.

“We could not have pulled in these world contenders without the support of the local businesses,” Kaas said. “We thank our loyal supporters for all their help and financial assistance. We hope when the club gets a new plan ironed out these supporters will be on board.”

The Park Rapids (Minn.) Enterprise is owned by Forum Communications Co.