GCI Open North American Championship, sprint racing and downtown doings.
The GCI Open North American Championship (ONAC) is the premiere sled dog sprint race in the world, attracting the best sprint mushers from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. The three-day race is run every year in March from downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, with heats of 20 miles the first two days, and a grueling 30-mile heat on the final day.
The ONAC is the oldest continuously run sled dog race of any kind in the world. First run in 1946, the 2008 race will be the 63rd running.
They normally have huge teams of 20-22 dogs which is crazy to even see. Notice how small these sprint sleds are compared to our distance running sleds. Anyways, I'll post some pictures later but here is something for your Sunday entertainment.
The Alaska Trappers Association Fur Auction which goes on down town as one of the events before the race starts.
The weight pull is another activity going on downtown. Here's one of the first ones. In further heats, they add weight to the sled.
Taking off down 2nd Ave.
About 5 miles in, going up and making a 90 degree turn then making a road crossing. They are slowed down here to make the turn.
One of the teams on the return trip. We went to this location as there is sometimes wrecks coming around this curve.
Two teams coming into the finish line.
For all who are interested in the Open North American, we have videos and pictures from each day of racing posted at www.mushing.com