Cook County, MN- The Gichigami Express, Minnesota’s newest stage-style sled dog race begins this coming Sunday in Grand Portage! The race course stops in three communities, from January 6-8, 2013, each with its own mushing traditions. The communities of Grand Portage, the Gunflint Trail, and Grand Marais welcome a field of 20 mushing teams to compete in the inaugural race.
Express mushers follow trail routes that have been used for centuries. Before European settlement, Native people traveled the boreal forests using dogs to draw carioles of food and supplies. Two hundred years ago, fur traders used dogs to run their trap lines and visit each other. In the 19th century, settlers received their mail and gossip by popular, well-known mail carriers and their dogs. Sled dogs were even used during the logging era to haul supplies, firewood, and mail. The Gichigami Express celebrates the rich history and tradition of the people of Cook County.
This year’s competitors include past Beargrease champions Blake Freking, Ryan Anderson, Nathan Schroeder, and Keith Aili. Look for local mushers Odin Jorgenson, Frank Moe, Rita Wehseler, and Bill Wehseler to make a statement, too. We will welcome mushers from Minnesota, Michigan, Alaska, and Ontario.
Support the race by joining the on-line auction fundraiser at www.biddingforgood.com/gichigamiexpress. Bid on sled dog adventures, framed photography, gift certificates, resort stays, and much more. Many supportive businesses donated many fabulous items for the auction. Proceeds go to support the event.
The Race organization is grateful for support from all of our sponsors. The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has underwritten the $25,000 race purse. The Race organization appreciates the support we have gotten from many organizations, businesses, and individuals. Please support our sponsors, find them on our website: http://www.gichigamiexpress.com/sponsors-2.
Thank you also to our local organizations and businesses involved in meet the musher banquets and breakfasts: Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, American Legion Posts 2009 and 413, Grand Marais Lions, Windigo Lodge, Trail Center, and the Grand Portage Community Center and Youth. Thank you also for support from the Grand Marais Area Tourism Association, Gunflint Trail Association, and the Lutsen/Tofte Association.
The Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race is a non-profit organization that celebrates the long tradition of mushing in Cook County. The organization’s goals are to educate about the history and culture of mushing and to financially contribute to local trail systems. The race organization seeks to involve educational institutions and local community organizations to further this mission.
If you would like to know more or would like to volunteer, visit our website: www.gichgamiexpress.com.