MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — The best time of the year has arrived along with mushers who will be competing in the 30th annual UP200 sled dog race here in Marquette
Organizers held a banquet to allow racers to enjoy an evening with friends and family before the long nights ahead.
Competitors from all over will be racing in this weekend’s events and some even have ties to the Upper Peninsula.
Laura Neese, Nature’s Kennel, McMillan, MI, Third UP200 said, “It’s really fun. It’s kind of a home town feel for us and it’s always fun because it’s a U.P. trails, similar to our home trails and always fun to be next to lake superior.”
Jaye Foucher, Sibersong Sled Dogs, Mohawk, MI, First UP200: “It’s been fantastic. There’s so much snow here. Great trails, great people. I’ve gotten better training then I would back East and we got on sleds a lot earlier then I would’ve, so it’s been great.”
Many of the mushers, look forward to one specific feature of the UP200.
“The UP200 start is my favorite in the whole sport. The starting at night is just really awesome,” said Neese.
Especially those who are racing the UP200 for the first time.
“The start. I’ve seen videos and pictures and I think it was last year I watched the live stream and I was like ‘Wow! That looks so cool.’ Running down the street and all those people. It’s similar to how Can-AM in Maine does it. I love that it’s a night start, so I am really looking forward to that,” said Foucher.
Local 3 asked the race organizer if the order in which racers start matters?
“Depends on which musher you’re talking to. Some of them don’t care one way or the other. Others would prefer to not be first in line because there is no set time on the trail or their just or their just nervous or whatever, but most mushers really don’t care. Once they’re out on the trail it will all even out and they end up being where they are and having a good time running on the trails,” said Darlene Walch, President of the U.P. Sled Dog Association.
The opening ceremonies for the UP200 begin at 6:30 pm tomorrow followed by the race starting at 7 p.m.
For more information on the UP200 schedule of events, click here.