Maine sled dog races kick off in Fort Kent
FORT KENT, Maine (AP) — Dozens of sled dog teams from throughout the United States and Canada are in Maine for the start of the 21st annual Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Races, including an Iditarod qualifier that’s run through the wilds of the northern part of the state.
More than 50 teams from as far away as Minnesota and Michigan are signed up for the three races, which were set to begin Saturday in Fort Kent. All three races are limited to 30 teams each.
The Can-Am 250, now in its 21st year, begins Saturday after the shorter 30- and 60-mile races get under way. The 250-mile race, a qualifier for Alaska’s Iditarod and the Alaska-Canada Yukon Quest, can take more than two days to complete including mandatory layovers in locations along the route.
The race is billed as the longest and highest-caliber race in the eastern United States. The mushers follow a clockwise route from Fort Kent south to Portage and west to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway region before turning north, and back east along the Maine-Quebec border to Fort Kent.
The winner of the 250-mile race, which has a purse of $20,000, is not expected to cross the finish line in Fort Kent until Monday morning.
The nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, also begins Saturday. Sixty-eight mushers were entered in this year’s Iditarod.