U.P. 200 sled dog race organizers look forward to banner year

U.P. 200 sled dog race organizers look forward to banner year

[Photograph Courtesy of Bruce Schlehuber] www.brucesphoto.com

MARQUETTE — The U.P. 200 Sled Dog Championship was held for the first time in 1990, so this is a milestone year.

The 200 has ten entries at the moment, one of whom hails from the Upper Peninsula. Organizers are expecting to have 15 teams by the time the race starts two weeks from tonight. The Midnight Run has 19 mushers, five of whom live in the U.P.

Organizers have sometimes needed to truck snow in from surrounding areas for the downtown Marquette start, but that won’t be a problem this time.

“We have plenty of snow, and we’ve got some wonderful trail reports,” U.P. Sled Dog Association president Pat Torreano said. “A couple of places, they’re worried about, but it’s simply a matter of how we’re going to make turns, and so on and so forth. Nothing about snow, no; we’re in very good shape.”

The race weekend needs sponsorships and a year–long fundraising effort in order to sustain itself, but the work to attract that support has gone well.

“You know, this is our 25th anniversary, and we’re trying to make this extra-special,” Torreano said. “I’d like people to know that downtown, we’re going to have maybe some more activities between the two races and we’re trying to keep the crowd there.”

The U.P. 200 starts at 7:10 that Friday night, and the Midnight Run will begin at 8:30. The Jack Pine 30 race starts at 10:00 a.m. on Valentine’s Day at Larry’s Family Foods in Gwinn.