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Grand Mesa hosts annual sled dog racing event

Grand Mesa Hosts Annual Sled Dog Racing Event
Published: Jan. 22, 2022 at 5:47 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Dogs took over the Grand Mesa today, and alongside their mushers, they participated in the 16th Annual Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Sled Dog Race.

“We’re at 10,500 feet. The highest dog sled race in North America,” said Steven Bethke, Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club president.

Bethke states the courses they offered were four, six, and eight miles. And all the dogs that participated are well trained, “Everybody up here is trained, and we all practice, of course, depending on where you live. You got to find a place to do it. So, we are kind of fortunate that we have Grand Junction and Montrose. We have several mushers. We come up here and wrap up on the pass all the time.”

Like, musher Steven Litton who participated in the race with his eight huskies. “I’ve trained them pretty much three to four times a week just to get them to understand all the commands and keep them in shape to be able to do this,” said Litton.

And something new this year tells me Jessica Wegner is the number of dogs participating in the sled racing, “This is actually the first time where this is going to be a two-dog sled race through the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog club. So, it’s coming slowly but surely which is really exciting.”

Wegner adds that two dogs can be as competitive as 12 dogs, “I think before we were very limited if you only had two dogs or one dog to just doing skijor, and frankly, we are showing that two dogs can still be competitive.

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