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    Dryland sled dog racing returns to BIR  

Sled dog racers are bringing their “snow-free” form of racing to Brainerd International Raceway for the second year in a row Nov. 17-18 during the ISDRA East Meets West Dryland Challenge.

Mushers and their sled dogs are proving they don’t need snow to put on a new brand of exciting racing. Instead of pulling sleds, sled dog teams will compete on a dirt trail by pulling mountain bikes, three-wheel carts and two-wheel scooters. There’s even a division for runners who are harnessed to their dogs.
The event features pro, sportsman and junior classes. The pros will be competing for part of a $5,000 purse. Last year’s event attracted 88 teams from throughout the United States and Canada. The Jamaican Dogsled Team, sponsored by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet, also competed last year and will send a team again this year, according to Dave Steele, event coordinator and executive director of the International Sled Dog Racing Association. There was even a Korean musher last year.
The mushers will complete on a dirt track inside the grounds of BIR. The track ranges in length from a half mile for junior classes to nearly four miles for pro classes. The track is laid out in the southeast part of the BIR facility. Grandstand seating is available.
The following are the four types of racing that will take place:
Bikejoring – One- or two-dog teams wearing harnesses pull a mountain bike with a rider on board. Adult competitors race on a 2.5-mile trail, while junior racers complete on a half-mile track.
Scooter Racing – One- or two-dog teams wearing harnesses pull a two-wheel scooter that the rider stands on. The trails are 1.5 and 2.5 miles for adults and a half-mile for juniors.
Cart Racing - Also called “Rig Racing,” this event features four-, six- and eight-dog teams that pull a three-wheel cart on which the driver stands, similar to horse-drawn chariot racing. The trails are 2.5 and 3.7 miles for adults.
Canicross – In this event, runners are harnessed to one dog and compete on a 1.5-mile trail. Juniors run on a half-mile trail.
Cart racing typically is the most popular event for the fans, Steele said. The six- and eight-dog teams provide exciting racing as they pull their cart as fast as 25 mph.
“We expect a very good crowd this year,” said Scott Quick, BIR vice president of operations. “We had good attendance last year and received excellent comments, mostly because this event is unique and very entertaining to watch. It meets our goal of providing a wide variety of racing events – not just auto racing – that people might not be exposed to otherwise.”

For more information about the ISDRA, CLICK HERE .

Daily schedule of events, CLICK HERE.