Did you know you don't have to go to Alaska to watch sled dog races?

The annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes place in March between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska as mushers compete for a $40,000 cash prize. The Grand Daddy of sled dog races covers nearly 1,000 miles and takes eight days to complete. But, you don't have to leave Colorado to see sled dog races.

Sled Dog Races on the Grand Mesa

Thousands of miles to the south is western Colorado's Grand Mesa, home of the annual Grand Mesa Summit Challenge Dog Sled Races. The event, which takes place January 22 and 23 is part of a series of racing competitions that are put on by the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club, Inc.

edomalley1 via YouTube
edomalley1 via YouTube

Big Differences

In one way these races are similar to the Iditarod in that they involved dogs, sleds, and snow. However, that's where the similarities end. The most notable difference is the length of the races which range from 4 miles to 8 miles. While Iditarod racers will pay an entry fee between $4,000 and $8,000, Grand Mesa mushers will pay a small entry fee ranging from $10 to $60, depending on which events they participate in.

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Seven Races In Two Days

edomalley1 via YouTube
edomalley1 via YouTube

There are seven races scheduled to take place over Saturday and Sunday.

RACE 1: Eight-dog sanctioned 8.3 miles

RACE 2: Six-dog sanctioned 6.3 miles

RACE 3: Two-dog 6.3 mile skijor (Dogs pulling a person on skis)

RACE 4: Four-dog sanctioned 4.2-mile race

RACE 5: One-dog 4.2-mile skijor

RACE 6: Thee-dog junior race and four-dog recreational

RACE 7: Two-dog sled and novice skijor

Google Maps
Google Maps

The races are held from 8:30am- 1:30pm at the Mesa Top trailhead parking lot. The public is welcome to watch the races and there is no charge to attend the event. If you plan to go, you should leave pets at home and be sure and dress warmly.

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