An International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race competitor is greeted by a crowd during the 2012 race. Mushers arrive in Kemmerer today and will hit the race course tomorrow. (FILE PHOTO)
KEMMERER — Western Wyoming is going international again this winter.
As the month of February drew near, locals in Jackson, Alpine, Lander, Pinedale, Big Piney, Marbleton, Kemmerer, Diamondville, Mountain View, Lyman and Evanston — in addition to those in West Yellowstone, Mont. — were preparing for an influx of dogs and mushers scheduled to compete in the 2014 International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, which kicked off in Jackson on Friday, Jan. 31.
Mushers, handlers, and dogs will arrive in town today for the Kemmerer leg of the race. To celebrate their arrival, city employees and volunteers have been busy planning activities and coordinating race events.
Race festivities kick off tonight at the South Lincoln Training and Event Center with a 7 p.m. cocktail reception followed by a 7:30 p.m. dinner and silent auction, complete with live music performed by local Jackson band, Screen Door Porch, the official — and traveling — IPSSSDR band.
Tickets can be purchased at the Kemmerer city offices, the event center, and also at the door. Tickets for adults are $10 and $5 for kids; a family of five can eat for $30. All proceeds from the event, including the silent auction, are applied to offset the cost of race participation. Banquet attendees are encouraged to get there early; they just might get a free t-shirt.
Everyone is invited to the 6 a.m. Rotary pancake breakfast fundraiser, also at the event center, early enough for a little sustenance before the 9 a.m. race start at Viva Naughton.
For some added fun, local race coordinators developed a game to build some excitement as the Kemmerer leg of the race drew near. Each Tuesday and Friday since Jan. 9, residents could search for a “hidden husky” in a local business window and on Thursdays in the pages of the Gazette.
Those who participated will bring their documented locations and page numbers of these “hidden huskies” to tonight’s dinner; a cash prize will be awarded to the individual with the most finds.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, junior mushers, including Kemmerer junior mushers Kyla Pollard and Sorrel Proffit will race from the North Slope Road trailhead, 30 miles south of Evanston.
The race begins at 2 p.m. and is expected to end at approximately 3 p.m. At 6 p.m. that evening, doors to the IPSSSDR-hosted closing banquet open at the Machine Shop in Evanston; open to the public, tickets are $17 per adult and $10 per child.
The winner of the Kemmerer leg of the race will receive a very special gift from the “fossil fish capital of the world”: Ulrich’s has once again donated a beautifully prepared fossil fish for the occasion.
Frank Moe; Hovland, Minn.
Jerry Bath; Lander, Wyo.
Stacey Teasley; Jackson, Wyo.
Bruce Magnusson; Brownstown, Mich.
Jeff Conn; Ester, Ala.
Jenny Greger; Bozeman, Mont.
J.R. Anderson; Buyck, Minn.
Blayne “Buddy” Streeper; Fort Nelson, B.C.
John Stewart; Scotland and Utah
Dennis Laboda; Hovland, Minn.
Sylvain Robillard; Quebec
Erin Redington; Knik, Ala.
Ryan Redington; Knik, Ala.
Alix Crittenden; Willow, Ala., and Bondurant, Wyo.
Aaron Peck; Grande Prairie, Alberta
Dave Turner; Sandy, Ore.