Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

Updated: 02/05/2014 11:04 PM
Created: 02/04/2014 5:01 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

Nearly 50 teams had their eyes on the trail last weekend. The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race had plenty of snow, and plenty of of fan support.

"This race typifies the mushing community with a lot of recreational teams, a lot of families, a lot of dogs, and it's just wonderful to see that," said Martha Schouweiler, a musher from Irma, Wisconsin. "You don't get to see that with a race like the Beargrease so I think that's just really cool."

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Schouweiler. She took third in the Beargrease mid-distance race last week, and on Sunday finished first in the six dog class in Bayfield. She says conditions were much improved.

"It was daylight all the time for this race and I occasionally got glimpses of Lake Superior," Schouweiler said. "The wind was not blowing my sled all around the trail so it was quite extremely different. But I still enjoyed the Beargrease."

Kelley Linehan from the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce says hundreds of spectators come out just to be a part of the experience.

"Obviously it's a sport, so its fun to watch and it's competitive," she said. "But then there's also the dog aspect of it. There's dogs, they're barking, they're jumping, so I think that's really fun as well. I think just getting out in the winter time is a fun and really exciting activity."

Whether you're a competitive musher like Schouweiler, or doing it for exercise, the Apostle Islands race has something for everyone.

"Everybody can feel relaxed, everybody helps each other a lot, and the trail is narrow and sometimes tight and twisty, and that's fun," Schouweiler said.

"Just being able to be out in the woods enjoying nature and animals, to me it's a perfect combination," said Al Krause, a musher.

For mushers and their fans, it's about embracing winter, one mile at a time.

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