Sled Dog Derby off for this week; organizers eyeing March date

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Due to lack of snow, the 81st Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby has been scrubbed for this weekend, but because interest in it remains strong, it is likely the event will be rescheduled to next month.

Jim Lyman, who is the president and trail boss of the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club, said on Monday afternoon that with no new, significant snow since December there was no way to hold the derby this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, even in an abbreviated format.

Having just returned from a sled dog race this past weekend in Canada, Lyman said the mushers there were enthusiastic about coming here on a good alternate date, which right now is shaping up to be March 5-7.

The LRSDC was meeting at 10 p.m. Monday night to set the new date and while it was somewhat up in the air, what wasn’t is the fact that there will be no racing this weekend, Lyman said.

Despite the chance of snow this week, “it’s too little, too late,” he said, explaining, “I definitely need four, five days to prepare the trails. I’m hoping that we pick a postponement date and hopefully get some snow.”

Lyman said there was great racing in the Great White North, where Moultonborough’s Keith Bryar and Gilford’s Brittany Colbath made strong showings while also instilling in their fellow competitors a desire to come south to Laconia for what is the largest purse in the lower 48 U.S. states.

Since last Monday, LRSDC officials have been fretting about how little snow has fallen in the Lakes Region since December and said on several occasions that the cancellation of the derby was the only viable option. Since last Monday, those same officials believed that there was no way to postpone the derby without running smack into other already-scheduled races. But now there seems to be, Lyman said.

Organizers were — and still are — hoping to bring up to 20 teams to compete in the open class and about three dozen overall for a total purse of $12,000. Annually, the derby brings out more than a thousand spectators, who this year again were to include Gov. John Lynch and his wife, Dr. Susan Lynch.


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