Frazee sled dog races are Feb. 22
Continuing a trend that began last winter, the Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous in Frazee will once again be held in February instead of January.
The annual sled dog racing event is slated to be held Saturday, Feb. 22, starting promptly at 10 a.m.
According to Frazee Sled Dog Club President Neal Seeger, organizers decided to move the date of the event back from January to February last year, because of poor snow conditions — and they decided to continue the trend this year despite the fact that no such shortage of the powdery white stuff exists this time around.
“We’ve generally got a little bit better snow conditions (in February),” Seeger said.
In the 15 years since the first official Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous was held in 1999, roughly one-third of the races have had to be rescheduled, or cancelled altogether, “because of too little snow, or too much snow,” as Seeger noted in an interview after last year’s races.
The location will also be the same this year, with the starting point to once again be located adjacent to the Frazee city lagoons off Becker County Road 10.
All races will begin with a mass start, as has been the case for the past several years. A couple of things are different this time around, however.
For one, a new racing class has been added.
“This year, we’ve incorporated a six-dog mid-distance class,” Seeger said, adding that the mushers in this category will race a 20-mile course.
“There will be a skijoring class, for both one and two-dog sleds, a three-dog youth class, four-dog sport and six-dog sprint,” he said.
The skijoring and youth classes will run a 3.5-mile course, while the four-dog class will run four miles and the six-dog pro class, six miles.
The mid-distance class will start first, followed by the skijorers at 10:30 and the juniors at 11 a.m.
After breaking for lunch, the races will resume with the four-dog sport class at 1 p.m., followed by the six-dog sprint class at 2:15.
“We should be done with racing by 3 o’clock, which gives people plenty of time to get back to Frazee for our awards ceremony at the Hostel Hornet at 5 p.m.,” Seeger said.
Entry fees will vary according to the category in which the musher is entered; people who are interested in participating can download entry forms at the North Star Sled Dog Club’s website, www.nssdc.org.
They can then print out a copy of the form, fill it out and mail it along with their check (payable to the Frazee Sled Dog Club) to the following address: Frazee Sled Dog Club, 18129-324th Ave., Detroit Lakes MN 56501 USA. Seeger will also accept phone entries at 218-847-1013.
Another thing that has changed this year, Seeger said, is that the club has opted to set a much earlier registration deadline than in years past. All entries must be submitted by Sunday, Feb. 9, and no late entries will be accepted.
“We’ve had (entry) deadlines before, but not two weeks out,” Seeger said. “We want to have some idea of how many entries we’re going to have, how many people are going to be there.”
There is no registration or admission fee required for spectators, he added – and the club is hoping to see a turnout as good as last year’s, when approximately 200 people turned out to watch the mushers do their thing.
Follow Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiGerdes.