The second of two dog races in recent weeks wrapped up over the March 5-6 weekend in Hay River.
The K’amba Carnival event hosted seven entries in the 10-dog race and six in the six-dog class with additional participation among young mushers in the four- and one-dog races Sunday afternoon.
Danny Beaulieu, from Fort Providence came out on top in the two-part 10-dog race on Saturday and Sunday with a total time of 2:47:56:62.
TJ Fordy finished first in the six-dog race with a weekend total time of 43:37:29.
K’amba held the weekend’s races again at the well-manicured trail between the ditch at Super A Foods and Enterprise, essentially piggy-backing off the Aurora Ford Classic race the weekend before.
The six-mile (9.6-kilometre) six-dog race first leg was held on Saturday from Super A Foods to the Fort Smith junction and the second leg over the same distance was held Sunday.
The 23 mile (37 km) 10-dog race was held from Hay River to Enterprise on Saturday with the return route on the second leg the next day.
Yumi Kuromasa, who came in seventh in the 10-dog event, arrived with Grant Beck early Saturday morning. The Beck teams have been busy in recent weeks participating in the Anchorage, Alaska Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship, Feb. 25 and 26 as well as the Pedigree Stage Stop Race in Wyoming in early February.
She said she was glad to participate in Hay River despite being rushed and coming in last.
“We were in Anchorage last weekend and we weren’t sure we could make this race,” Kuromasa said, laughing. “But we just made it down to the NWT like yesterday (Saturday) morning and then we just came here.
“It’s a good trail and I like that everybody can see the race.”
Beck, who did not participate directly, said he was very impressed with Hay River’s trail.
“It is probably the best trail that I have seen just because it’s a cold, hard packed frozen trail,” he said. “It really doesn’t get any better.
“It’s always a big plus when you can watch the whole race right from your car.”
Beck said while this winter has been cold in the NWT for training, he has been able to get dogs out for training here and there.
He is looking to see his dog teams participate in the Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Yellowknife races in the coming weeks.
Preston Lafferty of Fort Resolution had a strong second-place finishing in the six-dog class and said he was grateful to be able to have the opportunity to race against the NWT’s finest.
“My biggest happiness is that my dogs are running even though I have no leaders at the moment,” he said.
“It’s a good track. Really, really nice. Hard and fast.”
Lafferty said he only began returning to dog racing in recent years after being away from the sport for 35 years. He is loving the return and being able to compete and reminisce on his days as a child around dogs.
“My dad used to have more than 100 dogs and I’ve always loved dogs,” he said when asked why he is returning to the sport.
TJ Fordy, who came first in the six-dog race has been in the K’amba event for 13 years. She said Lafferty put in a strong competition as he was ahead after the first day.
“The first day he was ahead by eight or nine seconds and then the second day I pulled ahead of the second place person by over a minute,” she said.
Overall she had a great time in Hay River, she added.
“It was a really nice track and I loved it. Nice and wide. I also liked with K’amba this year that they had it on the side of the highway. I look forward to that because then you can have the elders get out to watch and other spectators as well. Just seeing the smiles on the elders faces makes it all worthwhile.”
Bess Ann McKay, who was on a team of volunteers overseeing the race said there was lower turnout but it was an overall positive experience.
“It is what it is because you know the (travel restrictions) and everything were lifted March 1and we didn’t get a chance to get teams up from places like Alberta,” she said. “We will have a lot more teams next year.”
Fact file – Race Results
10-dog, 23 miles (Hay River to Enterprise, Enterprise to Hay River)
1. Danny Beaulieu 2:47:56:62
2. Trevor Lizotte 2:50:29:14
3. Grant Beck 2:51:03:77
4. Alexis Campbell 2:51:22:14
5. Roger Beck 2:57:09:19
6. Danny Beck 2:57:35:39
7. Yumi Kuromasa 3:10:48:33
6-dog,6 miles (Hay River to Fort Smith Junction and back)
1. TJ Fordy 43:37:29
2. Preston Lafferty 44:57:17
3. Anthony Beck 45:26:57
4. Susan Fleck 45:55:87
5. Jana Fritz 48:08:55
6. Andrew Gallop 48:53:70