By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON RIVER - Mushers, dogs, and spectators are all gearing up for the second annual IronLine Sled Dog Race in Iron River on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Jill Koivunen Photo
Will Kornmuller of Alaska competes in the inaugural IronLine Sled Dog Race last winter in Iron River. He ended up taking second place in the 10-dog, 80-mile professional class race. This year’s IronLine is scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
"With three separate classes, a great starting area, plenty of picturesque viewing spots, and excitement for all ages, the IronLine is sure to break you free from winter cabin fever," said race director Josh Brindle. "So come and enjoy our festive musher village in the Iron River RV Park with vendors, mushers from around the country, and over 200 happy huskies ready to run."
The excitement begins on Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. with opening ceremonies at the Iron River RV Park. Stage one of the ten-dog class and six-dog class races will follow at 6:30 p.m.
Activities continue on Feb. 1 with the four-dog class race at 10 a.m. Stage two of the ten-dog class and six-dog class races will begin at 1 p.m. A musher awards banquet at the George Young Recreation Complex from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. will cap off the festivities.
Banquet tickets cost $20.
Throughout the event, the musher village at the Iron River RV Park will offer vendors, warming tents, hot beverages, food, and merchandise to spectators.
Teams in all three classes will begin their race routes at the Iron River RV Park on Genesee Street. Routes will follow the Apple Blossom Trail then connect to Iron County Recreational Trail 16, which passes near the George Young Recreation Complex and Chicagon Lake.
The 10-dog class will complete two 40-mile loops, the six-dog class will complete two 20-mile loops, and the four-dog class will complete one 12-mile loop.
More than a dozen mushers from all over the Midwest have already registered for the various races.
Brindle was pleased to announce that cash awards in the 10-dog class race will be almost double what they were last year.
Estimated prizes are $2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place, $1,000 for third place, $850 for fourth place, $700 for fifth place, $500 for sixth place, $250 for seventh place, and $200 for eighth place.
Mushers can still register for any of the three races. Volunteers are also needed.
For more information, check out www.theironline.com.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.