Throughout the past 20 years, organizers have been able to successfully pull off the Kearney Dog Sled Races each year on the 2nd weekend of February. While the conditions weren’t always perfect, the organizers used their creative solutions to always pull off an exciting event. Even in the early years, the event included craft sales, bake sales, chainsaw carving, children’s’ events and a Saturday evening dinner and dance.
In 1998, the event drew 64 mushers from all over Eastern Canada, northern United States and even Germany. The purse had grown from the first year up to $6000.00 with 75% of those funds being raised in the community.
For those mushers that are curious, the race times are included below.
1997 Race Times
4 mile: 25.50.20 to 40.20.88
6 mile: 33.14.66 to 53.32.24
30 mile: 4.13.06 to 5.58.13 (hour.minute.second)
1998 Race Times
4 mile: 23.10.09 to 48.25.44
6 mile: 32.55.17 to 54.04.13
30 mile: 3.51.17 to 8.31.39 (hour.minute.second)
It is difficult to imagine that the mushers have the time to look around them during the race to admire the beauty of the west side of Algonquin Park. Their thoughts are more likely on strategy, and monitoring their dogs, sleds and runners. The crowd that anxiously awaits the arrival of the teams at the finish line, amidst the charged atmosphere of eager barking dogs and enthusiastic mushers, has the opportunity to taste the romance of the North and… just for a moment….step out of their everyday lives. Who knows…..maybe one will emerge from the crowd to join the ranks of the distance dog driver.