New names to mushing, and an old favorite were the top finishers in the Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association 10-Dog Classic this Saturday and Sunday at the Soldotna Municipal Airport. The event -- with a $2,500 purse -- included a 4-mile, four-dog race each day, as well as two 6-mile, six-dog races and two 10-mile, 10-dog races. The times from each day were combined in each race to determine the winner.
Patty Harris took first place in the four-dog race, taking home a prize of $285. Racing just three months after the birth of her new son, Jack, Harris said she had no trouble getting prepared for the race.
"Lance Mackey came over to help train our dogs," she said. "It was very neighborly of him."
Harris finished second in the four-dog behind Neil Strausbaugh and she said she just missed beating him.
Harris is a registered nurse at Central Peninsula General Hospital, and in spite of the training she has put into dog sledding, she said it is only a part-time venture.
"This is all just for fun," Harris said. "I don't have time for running around."
The 18-year-old Strausbaugh took home $311.50 for his win in the four-dog race. He said he has been working with dogs since he was 13, and his family only has the six that were in the race. He said he was not looking into seriously pursuing mushing.
"I'm just out hear having fun with the dogs. It's more fun not having as many dogs to take care of."
Straughsbaugh said there was a point during the 6-mile race when he new he had taken the lead from Harris, who started ahead of him.
"When I saw Patty on the straightaway, I knew I could win," he said. "When you see someone ahead of you on (that) straightaway, you know you've made up time on them."
Former Iditarod champion Dean Osmar won the 10-dog competition with a combined time of 82 minutes, 14 seconds. He received $521 for his victory.
Osmar said he didn't expect to win racing his distance dogs against teams accustomed to shorter jaunts.
"It's surprising we won," he said. "These are some pretty good sprint teams. We usually run 50 miles or more."
Osmar said he will take his team to Anchorage later in the week for the preliminary veterinary check before the dogs begin the 2002 Iditarod with his son, Tim.
Jason Mackey, who participated in the two shorter races, said the Classic was a conclusion to peninsula dog mushing for the season, and a good prelude to the Iditarod.
"It's the end-of-the-year hoorah for the peninsula," he said. "But you get to look at your candidates (dogs) for the Iditarod."
Peninsula Sled-Dog and Racing Association 10-Dog Classic
Saturday and Sunday
at the Soldotna Municipal Airport
Total Purse of $2500
4-Dog, 4-mile Day 1 Day 2 Overall
1. Patty Harris 22:29:70 18:27:87 40:57:57
2. Lance Mackey 22:31:73 19:08:21 41:39:94
3.James Wheeler 22:00:11 20:04:71 42:04:82
4.Lisa Perzechino 24:53:67 19:47:18 44:00:85
5.Jason Mackey 24:43:87 20:36:68 45:20:55
6.Chisato Johnson 26:17:11 21:30:47 47:47:58
7.Amy Scherschlight 29:38:00 25:13:30 54:51:30
8.Connie Grudzinski 33:51:00 27:18:00 61:09:00
6-Dog, 6-mile Day 1 Day 2 Overall
1.Neil Strausbaugh 26:13:00 22:04:03 48:17:03 $311.50
2. Patty Harris 25:46:02 23:21:07 49:07:09 $236.50
3.Sarah Armstrong 28:56:58 24:30:03 53:26:61
4.Amy Scherschlight 28:34:00 25:19:82 53:53:82
5.Jason Mackey 28:51:02 25:42:41 54:33:43
6.Jason Cameron 32:08:11 26:05:66 58:13:77
7.Lance Mackey 32:21:00 26:24:88 58:45:88
8.Jeff Szarzi 34:53:00 29:51:00 64:44:00
9.Doug Ruzicka 45:55:00 35:00:00 80:55:00
10-Dog, 10 mile Day 1 Day 2 Overall
1.Dean Osmar 44:23 37:51 82:14
2. James Wheeler 44:47 39:54 84:41
3.Robert Harris 44:49 41:39 86:28
4.Lance Mackey 46:03 40:35 86:38
5.Chisato Johnson 46:52 42:01 88:53
6.Jeff Szarzi 50:39 44:15 94:54
7.Carmen Perzechino 52:48 42:50 95:38
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