Outdoor Briefs

Posted: Friday, January 19, 2001

Seavey to race in Grand Portage Passage

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) -- Some of the world's best mushers will be racing for top-dog honors and part of the $80,000 purse in the Grand Portage Passage sled dog race in Minnesota this weekend.

Mushers Doug Swingley, Mitch Seavey and John Barron are signed up for the trek as well as Minnesotan Jamie Nelson, who is quickly climbing the racing ranks.

In its third year running, a field of 39 mushers are entered in the 315-mile trip from the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino on Lake Superior's North Shore into the Canadian wilderness and back.

The winner takes home $15,000. Swingley took last year's title and is a favorite as the two-time winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Seavey, of Seward, won the Grand Portage in 1999.

Beginning Friday, the Grand Portage National Monument will host free activities for visitors. The historic fur trading post from the 1790s is on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota's northeastern corner.

Klondike 300 Sled Dog Race postponed

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Klondike 300 Sled Dog Race has been postponed and could be canceled, a race official said Wednesday.

The race, which was to start Saturday from Big Lake, was postponed one week because there's too little snow and standing water on the trail.

''We just flat don't have conditions to run a race,'' said race secretary Bob Spears.

During the week snowmachines were used to evaluate the trail to Finger Lake but they got bogged down in heavy, wet snow and stalled. The conditions are the same that prompted race organizers earlier this year to change the course from Petersville to Finger Lake.

The area of the trail near the lake got 40 inches of snow over two days, but then it rained, Spears said.

Shell Lake has 6 to 8 inches of water on top of the ice.

''You can't run dogs through that,'' Spears said.

If the race can't be run on Jan. 27, it might have to be canceled because there won't be enough veterinarians available later, he said.

Canceling the race could put Iditarod rookies in a crunch. They need to qualify by Feb. 14 when paperwork on food drops needs to be in to race officials.

''They are in dire need of a qualifier,'' Spears said.

Poor trail conditions also is placing the Tustumena 200 on the Kenai Peninsula in jeopardy. The Iditarod qualifier is scheduled for Jan. 27. Race organizers were going to make a decision Sunday on whether to go forward with the race.

The Kuskokwim 300, another Iditarod qualifier, is still on for Friday with 17 mushers entered, said race volunteer Rebecca Clark. The trail has between 6 and 8 inches of snow.

''We could use more,'' she said.

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