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Although smaller after a hiatus, the Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous races come back with a bark and a (windy) bite. (Brian Basham/Tribune)

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After a couple-year hiatus, the Third Crossing Rendezvous Sled Dog Races were back in Frazee over the weekend.

Changes were made to the race from years past, and although a smaller event this year, it was still a success, according to Frazee Sled Dog Club President Neal Seeger.

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"They went off fine. The weather was our only deterring factor," Seeger said. "(Sunday) would have been beautiful to have it out there. The wind was the deterring factor."

The wind caused problems both before and during the race. Friday night, the wind blew the trails in, and Saturday it was the wind that kept people in their vehicles or at home all together.

"I thought there was a decent amount of spectators there," Seeger said, judging by the parking lot and people milling about. "With the wind biting like that, there was probably a number that just wanted to stay home."

The audience may have been smaller, and so was the number of race entries.

"It was a decent amount for our first mass start race," Seeger said of the number of entrants. "But, it should have been bigger. We should have had 20 teams in each event."

There was a race in Wisconsin and another in Canada the same weekend, which likely cut into the number of entrants.

Some of the changes for this year included smaller teams of dogs, a different course route and a mass start instead of timed intervals.

"All of that worked out well," Seeger said.

This year included skijoring, 4-dog, 6-dog and 8-dog pro teams.

The route was remapped to use existing trails and finish at the start line. Seeger said all went well, even when three teams coming out of the loop met two teams going into the loop during the 8-dog race.

"All five of us met head on at the 8-dog loop. We all met at the same time, and we didn't have one dog tangle in the whole situation, so we had a wide enough trail."

Seeger said the mushers and members of the Dog Sled Club agreed the mass start was better.

"It was a much easier race to organize and run because we didn't have timing glitches and computer glitches that we could potentially have to deal with," he added.

Seeger said with the mass starts the race actually went quickly enough that they can cut the time between races back so there isn't lag time between. That can be adjusted for next year, he said.

Seeger said he would like to have the races again next year, but it hasn't been officially decided upon, since the club doesn't meet until the end of April to recap, wrap-up and decide.

"My own personal feeling though, yes, it'll go off again. I think we've got a new rebirth with what happened over the weekend."

Along with the sled dog races, Frazee also brought back Cabin Fever Days and combined it with the races, making it a community weekend event. The Event Center was the hot spot for spaghetti feed, auctions, pancake breakfast, music and bingo.

"Thanks to all the people who came together to put on the event. It was a great weekend," Seeger said. "It was a real good turnout all the way around."

Winners of the sled dog races were Ceira Duvall in skijoring, Don McNeece in the 4-dog pro, Amy Streeper in the 6-dog pro and Eddy Streeper in the 8-dog pro.

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