Sled dog races attract 20 participants

BALDWIN  — Despite warm temperatures and a low snow season, the Mid Union Sled Haulers group had its first amateur sprint race on the new Sweetwater Non-Motorized Winter Sport trail on Feb. 27-28.

The location of the staging area is near Stearns Siding at Wingleton and Stearns Road in Sweetwater Township.

Twenty participants took to the trails on Saturday and Sunday for the race. Dan Moll, of Maple Plain, Minn., traveled the farthest distance to race in Baldwin.

“I was here to race with the Great Lakes Sled Dog Association last winter and loved the trails,” he told race organizers. “It is worth the drive to me to be able to run such great trails.”

First-place honors for the weekend went to Christy Felty, Ludington, in the three-dog (3.6 mile) class. Savannah McDonald of Gowen took first place in the five dog (6 mile) class. Stu Stirrett of Owendale, MI. captured the top spot in the seven-dog (6 mile) class. The seven-dog class was shortened due to the warm temperatures. Aaliyah Morlock of Branch, took first place in skijoring (3.6 miles) with her young border collie.

Purebred awards for the top finishers with registered breed dogs were also given out to the Samoyed and Siberian teams that competed alongside the mixed-breed, Alaskan huskies and eurohounds.

The Lake County Sheriff Dept. Reserve Unit, led by Don Arquette, provided traffic control at various locations on the route. The Lake County Road Commission plowed an area for spectator parking along Wingleton Road.

The Great Lakes Sled Dog Association scheduled a race this weekend, but has canceled it because of course conditions.