Posted: Feb 10, 2013 10:10 AM by Evan Weborg - MTN News
Updated: Feb 10, 2013 7:18 PM
HELENA - The annual Race To The Sky sled-dog event got underway near Helena on Saturday.
The first stretch of the race from Camp Rimini west of Helena toward Elk Park north of Butte is expected to be icy with parts of the trail bare, but that is only half of the worries for Helena musher Mark Ibsen and the rest of competitors.
"There is the big concern, sunny day, it is going to be warm, dogs want to go fast, they could either over-heat or get injured," Ibsen said.
One of Ibsen's biggest challengers is Race To The Sky reigning champ Warren Palfrey who knows this race is a true team effort between man and his best friends.
"Taking care of the dogs is a first priority, so you know the dogs will dictate - you know I didn't win the race last year, the dogs did," Palfrey noted.
And it's not just about the race itself; Palfrey said that when the sun goes down, it's a kind of magic.
"A clear sky, maybe a bit of a moon, you can see mountains around you, and it is just gorgeous scenery; it is just one of the things I just really love about racing here in Montana."
There was a brief scare in the first hour of the race on Saturday; one racer tipped over coming around a turn and was pulled sideways for a several dozen yards.
Spectators jumped out and helped to stop the dogs, and neither the racer nor any of the dogs were hurt, and they got right back into the race.