Friday night we ate delicious fish and chips in Haliburton, 128 Highland Street, at Baked and Battered / Cottage Bakery & Fish Fry on our way to Bracebridge. It’s ceratinly a place to return for good food.
Saturday morning we got up early at 6:00 in time to drive to Kearney for the dog races.
Wonderful friendly people, both the competitors and all of the community volunteers.
We were amazed how well behaved and socialized all of the dogs are.
Many of the dogs had already travelled a long distance this morning in a truck and now wait patiently tethered on a short leash to a chain attached to a truck parked close-by a competitors team.
Considering the excitement of race preparations and the crowds of strangers, the dogs are friendly. It’s obvious that these dogs love to go racing. At the various steps of preparation they get more and more excited. Getting their pads cleaned and coated with some type of zinc ointment to minimize chafing, getting the running booties put on, being harnessed and then hitched to the traces are each steps that seem to heighten their excitement.
By the time the whole team is harnessed is impossible for the mushers to holds the sleds with the brakes. Everyone close by reaches out and holds onto a dog, the harness or a trace and helps to keep the excited dog power from blasting off. It’s really crazy fun to be there. Most of the dogs are straining and jumping uncontrollably. Large 4 wheeled atv machines were used as slow moving anchors to get the individual teams to the start line and hold them back. The sleds were staggered starts and race against the clock. It’s fascinating to watch that at the instant the marshal starts the race the dogs become a focused team.
Many of them seem to love all the petting and attention they receive.
The dogs are not camera shy!
A couple of them wouldn’t stop nuzzling me as I was kneeling close trying to get some photographs. It’s amazing that with so many strangers holding the harnesses and traces and helping to control the dogs while getting them from the staging, that there is no snarling of snapping. These dogs are single minded and focused on running with a sled. The acceleration to full speed in just a few feet after the quick release start makes it difficult to get a picture. From all appearances the marshal was well experienced.
One moment they are still attached by a cable the large atv holding them back and the next moment they off and racing as if there were flung off with a slingshot.
It was expected that the 10 dog teams should finish the 50 mile race in less than 6 hours. Nine of the eleven starting teams finished both days of racing. After reading the race results I found that the dogs can can average about 4 1/2 hours to go 50 miles.
I took many pictures but will have to wait a couple of days before I can dump my camera, edit and post.
From the website …. KDSR Committee has changed its Mid-Distance Race format for the 2015 season to a Stage Race format. The Kearney Race welcomes the new format and looks forward to seeing returning distance and mid-distance mushers from previous races coming to experience the new format of mid-distance racing at our event.
This is the only Stage Race in Ontario; a two day event, 2 X 50 miles. ( The most popular Stage Race in North America is the International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled dog Race held in Jackson, Wyoming, which is an 8 day race.)
Mushers will be permitted to utilize a 12 dog pool with a maximum 10 dog team size for each of the two days of racing. If a dog becomes fatigued or injured, up to 2 dogs can be replaced for the next day. The race distance will be approx. 50 miles each day with the best cumulative time being the winner. Race Organizers currently have a $5000 purse and an entry fee of $80.00 prior to February 1st, 2015.
This happened to be the winning team, moving from the staging area on Saturday morning to the starting area.
the winning team
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