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The trail awaits mushers at the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race

by Lorien Nettleton ~ January 10th, 2013

Organizers for the Copper Basin 300 dog sled race made a late decision to hold the 300 mile Dog Sled Race in early december, after a year of uncertainty following a cancelled 2012 race and a re-shuffling of the board. Now, the race starts on Saturday in Glenallen has a nearly full roster of Mushers eager for their first chance at competition in a season slowed by cold temperatures in the north and low snowfall in the south.
Lorien Nettleton from KTNA Talkeetna has more

listen to full story [4:12]: 

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The Copper Basin 300 Dog Sled race wasn’t going to happen. After last year’s race was scrapped due to severe weather, the organizers were unsure whether to commit to giving it another try in 2013. When a group of concerned mushers and volunteers came together and formed a new board, they agreed to round up some help and get the race going in under 8 weeks. When poor snow conditions across south central alaska scrapped several premiere races this month, the Copper BAsin 300 roster nearly filled up with mushers ready to take their teams from training and in to competition.

Race manager Zack Steer started as a musher in the Copper Basin 300, and had evolved into other roles for the race, helping with checkpoints and logistics along the way, and this year the committee asked him to be race manager.

Clip: Steer – checkered past

Steer says volunteers have been on the trail for two months, and says mother nature has been lending a hand in making sure everything is in place for this weekend

Clip: Steer-trail

2012 Yukon Quest Champion Hugh Neff will be there, despite a transmission on his Dog Truck. Neff says he’s using the opportunity to make some selections for his 2013 Yukon Quest team.

Clip: Neff -Great Training Run

Neff says the early competition will help him determine which dogs will make this year’s team for the Yukon Quest. About half of the dogs from his 2012 Championship team are in harness this weekend, and the other half are facing their first test. Neff says the early season races are good for his dogs, but at age 45, he needs all the workouts he can get to keep up with the younger mushers

Clip: Neff – I’m the number one wheel dog in the state

Alan Moore finished 26 seconds behind Neff in last year’s Yukon Quest. This will be Moore’s 12th participation in the race, which he has won three times. His SP Kennel Black Team is almost entirely made up of last year’s Yukon Quest team, and Moore says that after a colder-than-average November and December in Interior Alaska,  the dogs are ready to get some race time in.

Mushers and volunteers agree that the Copper Basin 300 offers a unique look at dog sled racing. Almost all of the checkpoints are on the road system, so spectators and handlers can see teams as they make the run from Glenallen around the copper basin. Once again, Zack Steer:

Clip: Steer – Unique

The race will be updated through the weekend on the Copper Basin 300s website and on their facebook page.

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