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Sled dog races in Marathon County and elsewhere canceled due to lack of snow

Lack of snow cancels sled dog races
Wyatt Williams
WAOW Television
Lack of snow cancels sled dog races

After an entire offseason of training, dogs and mushers alike have been itching for the chance to get to race, but warm weather has taken those chances off track.

The Willow Springs Round Barn Sled Dog race had been scheduled this weekend in Marathon County.

They’ll still do other events, but the sled dog race can’t take place.

"It's very frustrating," said Jan Bootz-Dittmar, Sled Dog Musher.

That is something anyone involved in work or recreational winter activities would agree on for this season.

It's something event organizers, and organizations have had to roll with the punches on.

Peggy Griffin, Event Organizer said, “We're adapting as we can and attendance has been good, not as great as when mother nature gives us snow."

Bootz-Dittmar, who is the winningest dog musher of all time has had her winter turned upside down.

Things have heated up to the point of no return for her season.

“This year was supposed to be five races. we've had none, we were supposed to have one in land o' lakes, and Gleason, and mountain, and of course here, and Rhinelander, and there is no snow in any of those places," said Bootz-Dittmar.

Although the races may not be happening, mushers are trying to find any kind of normal during this time.

“Most of us maintain a kennel of dogs that ranges in various numbers, but we're still training, we're still dealing with our dogs. We don't keep them just to race, they become companions for us too," said Bootz-Dittmar.

That rigorous training didn't just start last week, it's something that must be worked on and monitored daily.

Bootz-Dittmar said, “We start training usually when it cools off like say September and we run them with ATV's to get them in shape of course and that alone is a lot of work but of course it's a lot of fun and we enjoy working with the dogs and seeing what they're capable of doing, but you just keep training and training and you think okay, this one's canceled we'll go to the next one, and then that one's canceled."

While the race is canceled the winter festival event where the dog races happen is still going on.

They will also have sled dogs there for people who want to see them or have questions.

Many states have even begun to do dry land races to make up for lost race time, and unless you are headed to Alaska or Northern Canada it's going to be difficult to watch or compete in a race.

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