As time ran away toward the starting gun of 2014's U.P. 200 sled dog weekend, many were concerned the event would suffer from a lack of participants.
Happily, that wasn't the case.
This year's U.P. 200, Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 provided some of the best racing we can recall in recent years.
The late registering mushers and their teams brought the total number of sleds on trails to 64, a number that pleased us to no end.
What was even more impressive was the number of volunteers who took to the trails, UPSDA's YMCA headquarters and the streets of Marquette to make the event the success it was.
Without the time and help given freely and selflessly by the volunteers, the races would never be possible.
Preparation for the races begins months before excited dogs, mushers and spectators line the streets of West Washington Street. Volunteers are removing brush from trails; identifying and executing small changes in the routes; grooming and maintaining snow-packed trails; then checking in dogs and mushers and lining them up to run each race.
And they do it all for nothing in return except the chance to help out a cause they love.
Congratulations goes out to all the mushers, race sponsors, coordinators, volunteers and, most importantly, to the stars of the show: The dogs.
We applaud the atmosphere, excitement and success of this year's U.P. 200.