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Mushers express excitement for upcoming dog races


The prelude to the World Championship Dog Races and the Manitoba Dog Races among several other dog racing competitions held during the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival is the tagging of the dogs that took place Wednesday. Every dog musher must go through to take part in the various races.
This was also a chance for dog mushers to express their excitement ahead of the dog races and to talk to other mushers taking part in the race.
“This is my first time up in The Pas and the first time I’ve done any type of racing like this. I’ve never done a mass start, I never ran as fast as we got to run to be half-way competitive but I’m looking forward to it,” said Mike Bestgen, an American dog musher from St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The dog races during the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival do have a good reputation among mushers which has attracted Bestgen and other mushers.
“I just heard a lot of good things from mushers coming here. I’ve never heard of anybody coming here and not liking the race, the format or the town or anything. My brother was here a few years ago and he really liked it, it’s just one of those things I wanted to do for a couple years now,” said Jake Golton, a dog musher from La Mab, Ontario.
“Likewise I’m getting to be an old man; I want to do this race before I die. I figured now’s the better time, I heard a lot of good things about it,” added Bestgen.
The dog races are organized by the Kinsmen Club of The Pas on behalf of the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival, and the mushers had a lot of praise for the trails and the town itself.
“I’m from Ontario and there’s not a lot of mushers left in that area. This is like a whole new world, you see signs with sled dogs on them all the way through town and all the mushers here are pretty helpful and they got their own trail system out here and that’s pretty cool because we don’t have that where I come from,” said Golton.
“Heck I don’t even have a lot of snow back at my house, my trainings been on a four-wheeler,” Bestgen said.
The World Championship Dog Race, the Manitoba Dog Race and the Jack McPhail Memorial 6 Dog Race have already started Thursday morning past press time and will continue for today, with the World Championship Dog Race and the Manitoba Dog Race wrapping up tomorrow.

Trevor Wright