It's definitely not a weekend to stay cooped up indoors suffering from cabin fever.
In fact, the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race and the Peninsula Winter Games are offering the perfect cure for the winter doldrums. Thanks to a fresh blanket of snow, it's even beginning to look and feel like winter.
Although an unseasonably warm winter caused the delay of the Tustumena 200, the weather at last cooperated with race organizers and mushers. This year's race boasts a field of 23 mushers -- 12 of them from the Kenai Peninsula -- and a purse of $25,000.
An impressive group of mushers and a growing purse is giving the T-200 a reputation as a major mid-distance race. Driving that reputation, however, is the dedication of lots of behind-the-scenes volunteers who do whatever needs to be done to make the race happen. It's their hard work, hospitality and love of mushing and the peninsula that really run the race.
Likewise, the Peninsula Winter Games is growing -- again, thanks largely to volunteer efforts. This year, for the first time, the games will feature professional ice carvers who will be sculpting Saturday and Sunday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The games are offering something for almost everyone -- horse sleigh rides, a youth hockey tournament, a snowmachine safety course for kids, snowshoe softball, a kids' carnival, snowmachine drag races at the Kenai Floatplane Basin, a kids' and championship dog weight pull, a kids' pool tournament, a bowling tournament, Monopoly tournaments for kids and adults, a broomball tournament, a teen skate party, a kids' sled dog race and skijoring races, to name just some of the activities. In addition, there will be a variety of demonstrations at the Soldotna Sports Center throughout the weekend. (For a complete schedule of activities, please see page B-3 of today's newspaper.)
Hats off to all the individual volunteers, civic groups and businesses who are making the T-200 and the Peninsula Winter Games possible. Events like these are among the things that make the peninsula a special place to live.
A special welcome to all the mushers and visitors here for these special events. May your time on the peninsula be safe and fun-filled.
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