MARQUETTE – The anticipated U.P. 200 kicked off tonight.
Preparations for the UP 200 began earlier today with mushers making last minute checks on their sleds. The family winter event brought people from all over the world to see just what these dogs can do.
“I’m coming from the northern part of Germany. I think this is the first guy who will see this big event,” said Helmut Fisher, Northern Germany visitor.
Gwinn resident, Wendell Kurr added, “Really, the dogs are just fantastic creatures. To think what they can do in 240 miles.”
Spectators weren’t the only ones who were excited for the races to start as dogs barked their enthusiasm. As some dogs got booted up, others couldn’t wait to race down the chute after months of training.
“We’ve been training since September once it was cool enough to hook up the dogs in harness again,” said Musher, Laura Neese. “I’ve been looking forward to racing distance for a really long time.”
Each team consists of 12 dogs and there are 14 different teams racing in this event. The UP200 is 240 miles long, while the Midnight Run which is also taking place tonight, is only 64 miles.
At 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning some of the mushers will return to downtown Marquette. The teams did not ride all through the night however, as they were required to take a 5 1/2 hour break in Chatham.