Clear Lake Park near Atlanta will be hosting its first of two "Go-Get Outdoors" sled dog racing events this weekend. The first event kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs through Sunday afternoon.
Park Manager Greg Kinsler said the opening event is in its 21st year and although he has only been involved for four of those years, he has seen increased interest from spectators who have visited the park to witness the action.
"We have a very loyal and dedicated core group of participants that really keep the event growing," Kinsler said. "Our number of participants have stayed about level from year to year, but we have increased in the amount of people coming to the park to see the races."
The January event is held in conjunction with the Mid-Union Sled Haulers and offer three-, five- and seven-dog sled races. There are also kiddy runs, a weight pulling and skijoring, where a dog pulls a person on cross country skis.
Kinsler said the trails are in good shape and conditions will be favorable for the competitors, despite temperatures that peaked in the lower 40s this past week.
"Right now I haven't gotten the latest updates, but last week the report was promising," Kinsler said. "We did have a warm spell and it compacted the snow, but there hasn't been enough warming to impact the conditions that much."
What: Mid-Union Sled Haulers Dog Races
Where: Clear Lake Park, Atlanta
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
The park also is hosting another race event Feb. 23-24. It will be held through the Great Lakes Sled Dog Association and the International Sled Dog Racing Association. Kinsler said having a second weekend of racing is exciting and he expects the turnout to be equal, if not improved, compared to this weekend's event.
"We were approached by GLDA and ISDRA about having another race and we thought it would be a good idea," Kinsler said. "It will be a pro-class race and will bring racers and fans from out of state and as far away as Canada. We are hoping that we will be able to have it a success and to continue to host it on an annual basis."
All motor vehicles that enter the park, must display a 2010 motor vehicle permit. They are available at the parks entrance. The cost of a yearly pass in $24 for a resident and $29 for a non-resident. A day pass will cost $6 for a resident and $9 for a non-resident.
Kinsler said the best location to take in the competition is in the day-use area. He said there you can get a good view and mingle with the competitors and their dogs.
"That is the staging area for the racers and their dogs. It will give you a chance to walk around and converse with them and see the dogs. If you ask nicely some of them are open to letting you pet the animals," Kinsler said. "The races start there and the finish line is there, so it is by far the best seat in the park."
For more information feel free to contact Kinsler at the park at 785-4388.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.