Dashing on the trails: Mushers and their dogs come from around country for local event
NEGAUNEE — Mushers and their dogs came from around the United States to the Negaunee Township Hall on Saturday morning for the 2001 edition of the U.P. Dryland Dash.
Tucked in along M-35, the Negaunee Township Hall stands in front of a trailhead that turns into the U.P. Dryland Dash event grounds.
The event has taken place every autumn since 2017, with the exception of a COVID-19 break in 2020
The gravel parking lot filled with dog howls on and off with people hustling back and forth around their trailers and equipment preparing for the race times. The dash is a series of 1-mile and 2.23-mile races orchestrated by the Sled Dog Association and the Wisconsin Trailblazers.
A team near the start-line set up a bright pink kiddie pool for their dogs to have a post-race cool down.
Structures and layouts of tents, trailers or campers were all unique to each team, important for organizing and preparing for races. Though competitors look relaxed before and after a race, this sport is not for the lackadaisical.
Driving a 12-hour route from Lebanon, Missouri, Joy Weis and husband, Nick Weis, participated in many of the events. Joy and the couple’s rescued husky-mix Oso took first in the women’s one-mile cani-cross mass start.
In the two-dog speed class from northern Wisconsin, full-time musher and writer Blair Braverman and husband, Quince Mountain, have been racing for years. Braverman herself has been for six years and at 33 has now raced in major events including the U.P. 200 and Iditarod.
When asked about the Dryland Dash, Braverman said: “It was very fun. It’s a beautiful event. We are not sprint mushers … Our expertise is not this kind of racing so it is always so much fun to see the incredible very fast racers … our dogs really love going 10 miles an hour.”
Braverman laughed, “We just come here to have fun and be amazed by everyone … It’s an incredible community and it’s a privilege to be here.”
For more information, visit www.up200.org/race-info/2021-dryland-dash/
Katie Segula can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is email@example.com.