Rail Trail 200 International Sled Dog Race cancelled for 2013

The Rail Trail 200 International Sled Dog Race has been cancelled for 2013 due to lack of sponsorships and volunteers.
After two successful years, Dr. Ruth Sims, one of the organizers of the event and president of the Boundary Dog Sled Association, noted the canceling of this year’s event will allow them to re-organize the race for next year.
“We do not have enough promising sponsorship to feel sure we will be able to offer a reasonable purse for the mushers,” she explained. “Without a decent purse we will not be able to attract any mushers, so all the preparation – which is a huge amount of work – will be for naught.”
Sims went on to say, “Almost everybody that has been or is involved with the race has already donated huge amounts of time and money out of their own pockets, and we cannot expect people to continue to fund the race from their personal finances.”
During the year hiatus, the plan is to change the format of the race and to make it a stage race or to possibly start with a day of sprint races instead.
The last two years consisted of two races, the 161-kilometre (100-mile) race with eight dogs, and the 322-kilometre (200-mile) with 12 dogs.
The event would begin on a Friday morning in January in Grand Forks behind the Station Pub with the 161-kilometre race concluding in Beaverdell on the Saturday morning, while the 322-kilometre race would conclude at the Greenwood checkpoint on the Saturday night.
Coun. Cher Wyers, the city liaison to the Rail Trail 200, noted though it was somewhat of a disappointment to the community, realistically the race was short of volunteers this year and the funding dollars were lacking.
“There will be some reorganization internally, as well as a redesign of trails to make it more spectator friendly,” Wyers said. “The race would’ve been at the end of
January and we would’ve lost a number of volunteers who moved away or moved on and it’s a big job clearing that trail.”
The previous two years had a heavy snowfall on the Saturday race, which required constant supervision and maintenance from volunteers, she said.
Wyers pointed out the association is looking for a venue like Jewel Lake, and to work with the lake’s owners for day races or sprints.
“Apparently sprinting competitions are very popular for spectators,” she added. “However, we now have funding in the bank and we’re going to build it up. We had our Fowl Supper (in October), which is a big contribution to keeping ourselves sustainable and to help us move forward to 2014.”
Sims noted the final details as to the new format are still in the planning stages.
“Don’t forget about us!” said Sims. “Just because we don’t have a race in 2013 doesn’t mean we are giving up! So keep coming out to our fundraising events and stay tuned. I try to update (our) blog at regular intervals, so that is a good place to stay abreast of any new events and developments with the race(s).”
Updates will be made on the Rail Trail 200 blog at www.railtrail200.com.
The Rail Trail 200 is a pre-qualifying race for both the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska and the Iditarod Trail Sled dog race in Alaska.  The Rail Trail 200 will be back in 2014 in the new
format.

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