It was very picturesque on the course where the dogs and mushers were to run the Wolverine Challenge Sled Dog Race on Saturday, March 26th/ The day before had been sunny and warm, not the best conditions for the heavy-coated snow dogs. Larry White and Gary Doonan spent many hours after the recent snowfall to ensure these trails would be suitable for the dog teams.
Unfortunately, the trails had been damaged by other snowmobiles and this can cause trouble for the dogs. They become confused and are uncertain which direction is laid out for them. However, they seemed to do well enough, despite the careless disregard the unknown snowmobilers caused.
A team of cheerful people inside the golf course clubhouse waited at a table, ready to hand participants a numbered bib and register them as entrants. Also in attendance was BC Ambulance, represented by Hazel Peters. The categories for the race were, Kid & Mutt; Ski Jor; 4 Dog Team; 6 Dog Team and Long Distance 6 Dog Team.
Unfortunately the mushers were unable to attend. Lajeunesse had tried to coordinate the dog sled races for the previous weekend but there was not enough snow on the golf course and he was unable to coincide the event with a snowmobile event at the Core Lodge. It is also common for mushers to have a fairly set agenda where they plan to race and once the circuit had missed Tumbler Ridge during Winterfest, many mushers simply were unable to change plans and come here. Such a shame, when they had an opportunity to pick up $1000 in prize money simply for showing up and racing.
The day was not wasted on the many who came anyway and spent a good part of the entire day at the golf course, cheering on Stacey Lajeunesse?s nephew Chase, aged 6 ,who came from Dawson Creek to participate in the Kid & Mutt race. He took second place last year and this year was awarded a medal and $50 prize money for his efforts.
The remainder of the prize money and all donated materials will be rolled over into next year?s event and hopefully the continued support will be there from the town as well as participants. Said one bystander, ?It would be great to see our Tumbler Ridge kids out there racing in the Kid & Mutt event, especially.?
Amber Doonan, Larry White and Stacey Lajeunesse all ran the course for 4 Dog Team with times as follows. None received prize money, as they were simply participating for the benefit of the 20 or so people watching and also to run the dogs who were waiting to go. Amber Doonan ? 24:24; Larry White ? 21:40 and Stacey Lajeunesse 21:10. Time-keepers were Eric Mueller and Hans Ruck. Volunteers were coordinated by Crys White.