Sled Dog races to return to South Fork

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club

SOUTH FORK — The Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club will be hosting a race in South Fork along the Beaver Creek Reservoir thanks to the recent snow that has accumulated in the area.

It has been several years since the last time the races could be held in the area and people are eager to watch or participate in the event.

Leslie Fields with the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club said that the event will be held over two days with combined times on Feb. 19 and 20. This is a perfect opportunity for guests to enjoy a winter near South Fork and to see dogs of all shapes and sizes vying for the finish line.

“We have drivers who lead teams with dogs of all kinds, not just the Huskie breed and races begin at 9 each day. It is going to be really fun,” said Fields.

The event was made possible with the help of the South Fork Visitor Center and the South Fork Friends Foundation. Fields is anticipating between 15 and 20 drivers this year though, in events past, they had as many as 40 drivers participate.

"We are hoping to generate interest from other local sled dog groups and to bring drivers in from all over,” Fields said.

The club was established in 1960-61, making it one of the oldest sled dog clubs in the area. Their most recent event featured 40 drivers at 10,500 feet on top of the Grand Mesa near Grand Junction which was the 16th year for that event. 

Fields said there will be a 2-, 4- and 6-mile race for two-, four- and six-dog teams that will race on the groomed trail south of Beaver Creek Reservoir.

“Spectators are welcome to attend and can watch the start and finish of the races. If people want to snowshoe or ski up the trail to see the race further up, we ask that they stay to the side of the trail, so they do not interfere with the race,” Fields said.

Along with the team sled dog races, there will also be a category for Skijor races that includes one- or two-dog teams. In this category, the dogs pull their driver on skis. It is one of the more popular attractions, Fields said.

The Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club also asks that spectators leave their dogs at home as they can sometimes be a distraction for the dogs that are there to compete.

For more information, visit the club's Facebook page under Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club Followers.

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