IronLine race co-director Grace Brindle takes her sled dog team for a spin around the race route near Chicaugon Lake and the George Young Recreational Complex.
IRON RIVER—Preparations for the second annual IronLine sled dog race are in full swing, so mark your calendars for this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
“A lot of the vision from last year’s race is coming together this year,” said Josh Brindle, one of the race directors.
The event will kick off with the Mushers Village on Friday at 5 p.m. The Iron River RV Park located by the Iron County Chamber of Commerce office will be converted into the Mushers Village prior to the start of Friday’s race, with vendors and warming tents. This year, the vendor areas will be lit and tents will be heated. There will be sled rides for kids. Hot beverages, food and merchandise will be available including IronLine apparel.
Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m., and the mushers will take off from the starting gates at 6:30 p.m. Brindle said that spectators can expect 20 to 25 mushers for the main race. Mushers from all over will be competing, including a few from Michigan.
The IronLine 80 (IL 80) is approximately 80 miles and is a 10-dog, two-stage pro class race open to dog mushers who meet the entry requirements. The race requires between eight and 10 dogs in line.
The IronLine 40 (IL 40) is approximately 40 miles and is a six-dog, two-stage competitive class race. The race requires five or six dogs in line.
Only northern breed dogs, as determined by the IronLine organization, will be permitted to enter the races. Both the IL 80 and the IL 40 require full vet inspections.
The top eight places will win monetary prizes. Prizes are as follows: first place, $2,000; second, $1,500; third, $1,000; fourth, $850; fifth, $700; sixth, $500; seventh, $250; and eighth, $200.
The Mushers Village will reopen at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Enjoy a walk around the Mushers Village before the four-dog recreational race begins at 10 a.m.
The four-dog recreational is a small 12-mile race, 6 miles out and 6 miles back. According to the IronLine website, the 4-dog recreational is for up-and-comers, young mushers and those just wanting to have fun running dogs.
No vet checks will be required, but vet records are. Teams are not required to attend the musher meetings for the six- and 10-dog classes. Registration for the race is from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Saturday. A brief meeting with the teams will be held at 9 a.m. to hand out bibs. There will be first, second and third place winners.
The second stage of the main races will begin at 1 p.m. at the Iron River RV Park and is expected to last around two hours.
“Only 50 percent of the event is about the actual race,” Brindle said. “The other part is about building the community, building Iron County.”
The event will end with the Musher Awards Banquet at the George Young Recreational Complex at 6 p.m. Tickets for the banquet are $20. The facility is also a great place to view the racers as they mush across the snow-covered golf course adjacent to Chicaugon Lake. Winter warmers and food will be available at George Young’s located off County Road 424 to Young’s Lane.
“This year has come together much quicker and easier because of all of the volunteer and community support and having extra people on staff to carry the load,” race directors Josh and Grace Brindle stated on their website, “not to mention a bang-up trail crew that is absolutely on top of everything.”
For more information about the race, visit www.theironline.com. Spectator parking will be available during the event in downtown Iron River.