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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race

February 20th - 25th found my husband and I involved with the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.

  • The Canadian Challenge sled dog race for the Cameco Cup is a 12 dog continuous mid distance race held in Saskatchewan. The race follows a route similar to that of the old sled dog trail used for years by trappers, the North West Mounted Police and the First Nations community to travel between Prince Albert and La Ronge. The total distance of the race is approx. 600 kilometers.
  • Over the years, the Canadian Challenge has obtained the recognition of being a world class-sporting event and is the nation's longest sled dog, which starts, runs and finishes in Canada. The race has attracted teams from across Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, Serbia and Belgium. An added highlight is the 8 dog race from Prince Albert to La Ronge. This race runs in conjunction with the 12 dog sled race on it's way up to La Ronge'.
  • In 2007 the Junior Canadian Challenge ran for the first time. The Canadian Challenge is sponsored by the Gateway North Sled Dog Race Association, which is a non-profit organization formed in 1994 to promote traditional sled dog racing in Saskatchewan.
My hubby and I were in charge of manning one of the check points after the start of the race, but there much more to do before then.   

Day 1:  Vet Check - take photos of some of the teams as they were having their dogs checked over by our team of volunteer vets consisting of Dr Ruth - Super Vet and two other Vets...then after a quick Pizza Lunch it was off to set up the Banquet room with the banners from the Sponsor, the musher/handler race bibs, the Silent Auction Table and the merchandise table.  My hubby and two daughters helped out with task...we did a great job everything was set up in record time and the banquet room looked amazing.  Quickly did a quick change, did my hair and make up and I was ready for the evening.  This evening was big event for me as I was MC'ing the evening, now I am not afraid to speak in biggest fear of the evening was that I would mess up the protocol for introducing the Leitenant Governor of Saskachewan, representative of the Queen.  Once I got him introduced and seated everything went well.  My youngest daughter took on the task of taking photos of the evening for me.  That night is over and done, once I get home it is time to make a Crock Pot of Chilli and BBQ Farmers Sausage for our check point.   

Day 2 & 3: So bright and early we are out to the Start Line for the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.  WOW what a turn out from the public to see the teams as they start preparing for the race.  In just over 1 hour 20 teams pass through the start line on the quest to compete in this years Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.  From there I headed home to pack up everything for the rest of the week.  When hubby arrived shortly after I did we loaded up the truck and headed North to the McLennan River Check Point.  Around 10:30pm Handlers started arriving with their dog trucks awaiting the arrival of the mushers....shortly after midnight mushers started arriving, some stayed for a bit, while others pushed on through right after checking in and out.  Arrivals and departures continued on through the night with the last musher out at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon.  

So as were awaiting the last mushers departure I set out to capture pictures of the Whiskey Jacks and Woodpeckers.  Those Whiskey Jacks were scavenging any bits of food they could find. 

So after a couple of long days I didn't even want to turn my computer on let alone pull my pictures off my this time I had around 6 photos from the last 3 days.  My husband was reading the Canadian Challenge Blog and giving me the highlights...well this got me pumped back up and I set to moving my pictures off my SD card to my laptop.  This is when everything might as well have gone black for me......what my card cannot be read....nothing I could do could retrieve my photos.  I tried different software programs even took it into Don's photo a week later only to find out that there was nothing they could do.  Good thing there were others that took pictures at the start of the race.

Day 4:  My hubby headed on up to Lynx Lake Check Point and I stayed behind working with some of our other volunteers trying to read my SD Card. with a new SD Card in the camera I set off for taking more photos.  A quick trip to Stanley Mission......this is where I learned about the art of Birch Bark Biting from Rosie....she was kind enough to let me try it out.  So after listening and watching I tried this dying art myself.  WOW was I impressed with what I ended up with.  While the birch bark was folded I had no idea of what it would even look like.  I must of impressed my mentor as she showed it to her mother when she came to the hall for a visit.  So this June when the Birch Bark is just right I am going to try peeling some myself so I can try a few more pieces of this art. 

Day 5:  The winner of the 12-dog team crossed the finish line around 1:25 am on Day 5 of the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.  We stayed around town at the LaRonge check point watching teams arrive at the finish line.  Got photos of the vehicles that different sponsor donated for duration of the week with the Gerry Walker the winner of the 12-dog Race and Gillian Taylor the winner of the 8-dog race.   We got photos of the vehicle from Carlton Honda, Mann Motors, LakeLand Ford, Flaman Trailers for the use of one of their trailers, Eagle Point for the use of a Polaris Snowmobile and Pines Power Sport Marine for the use of 2 Ski-doo Snowmobiles not just for the week of the race but for a couple of weekend prior so that the trail crew could have the trail it top notch shape.  The winner of the Red Lantern for the 12-dog race crossed the finish line before 7pm that early night for all.  First time that I know of that 20 teams started the race and 20 teams finished the race....WAY TO GO MUSHERS!!

Day 6:  Awards Breakfast.....after the awards breakfast it was take down and time to head home.  Another race in the books and a very successful one too.  Now the board will start preparing for 2013's race.  I finished up the week with some really good photos but unfortunately was never able to recover any photos of the damaged SD Card.


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