THUNDER BAY – The race, called Gichigami Express, will begin in Grand Portage on Jan. 6, proceeding to the Gunflint Trail. On the second day of the race, mushers will race from Trail Center down to Grand Marais. The sled dog teams will return to Grand Portage on the third and final day. The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has guaranteed a $25,000 purse. After each leg of the race, a banquet will be held, allowing the communities to show hospitality and meet the mushers.
The use of the word “Express” in the race name is a reference to the area’s 18th century fur-trading history when the North West Company employed teams of dogs to carry information, mail and news from interior fur posts to the Agents in Montreal. The Nor’Westers called the teams, the “Winter Express.”
The race will celebrate the history and culture of mushing in Cook County, Minnesot, US and the three communities (Grand Portage, Gunflint Trail and Grand Marais) each have their own histories in mushing, which will be highlighted.
The spectator-friendly event, which will have a 30-team limit, will start accepting applications on Oct. 1. Applications postmarked prior to Oct. 1 will be discarded, according to the race organizers.
For more information, go to www.gichigamiexpress.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org