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Sled dog races return to Eagle Lake

EAGLE LAKE, Maine — Mushing fans will have an early opportunity to enjoy the sport in the St. John Valley when the Eagle Lake Sled Dog Races return in January. Spectators will be admitted free of charge to the races, which will take place during the weekend of Jan. 12-14. 

Veteran St. John Valley musher Amy Dionne of St. David, with the help of a committee of local mushing enthusiasts, has successfully returned the event to competition after it ceased in 2015.

“This race has been around for a while and what makes it unique is that it’s an early race on some of the tougher trails in New England, which tests mushers’ abilities to get good training in early,” Dionne said in October. “Also, this race is held in a small town and you can’t beat the camaraderie.”

The 2018 inception of the Irving Woodlands/Eagle Lake 100 and Mad Bomber 30 with a total purse of $7,000 has drawn mushers and their teams from eastern North America.

“I think we’re at 18 for the Irving 100 and eight for the Mad Bomber 30,” Dionne said.

Registrants include Dionne, a veteran Can Am Crown International musher.

Martin Massicotte of St.-Tite, Quebec, an eight-time champion of the Can-Am Crown’s longest sled dog race and his son, Etienne, also will compete in the Eagle Lake races.

Rico Portalatin of Milo, who has won the Eagle Lake Mad Bomber 30 multiple times, will also participate.

Mushers and their teams will take off from Convent Road in Eagle Lake at 10 a.m. for the 100-mile race and at 11 a.m. for the 30-mile race on Saturday, Jan. 13.  The finish line for both races is at the Eagle Lake Recreation Department. Organizers expect mushers to arrive at the finish line between 1 p.m. on Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday.

The event will wrap up with a breakfast at 7 a.m. Sunday, followed by an awards ceremony at 10 a.m., at the Eagle Lake American Legion. Members of the public are invited to both; the cost of the breakfast is $7 per person.

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The group also has a Facebook page.

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