Arleigh Reynlods pulled off win in the unlimited sled-dog class of this weekend’s sprint-races at the Su Valley Championships. Reynolds held on to a a slight lead over Egil Ellis over the two-day event, finishing in front by 40 seconds over both days.
The Su Valley championships, hosted by the Montana Creek Dog Mushing Association, was for many racers the first event of the season. Warm temperatures and low snowfall has halted many of the sled-dog sports around South central Alaska, and last weekend’s races reflected the urge for mushers and dogs alike to get in to the competitive spirit.
Race Marshal Jerry Raychell says over 80 teams competed in mushing and skijoring classes in all sizes, from one dog to twenty.
The first, second, and third place teams in the Su Valley Championships are also top contenders in the Fur Rondy races in Anchorage, held every FEbruary, and they also show up in the high placement during the North American Open Sled Dog Races held in Fairbanks every March. Montana Creek is a soft-spoken race track, but the best in the business always seem to make it a part of their season tune-up.
Jerry Raychell has been involved in the Montana Creek Dog Mushers Association for more than 30 years, and it’s a quiet point of pride for him to be able to host the fastest early season dog racing in Alaska. The bulk of the racing last weekend was between the 4-, 6-, and 10-dog classes.
Other winners over the weekend include Rebecca Knight, who won the single-dog class, Ami Gestjon from Salcha, who won the 6 dog class, French musher Christian Taveau, who won the 10-dog class, and Jennifer Sterling who claimed first place for the four-dog class.