Sled dog championship draws loyal following
"This is still my favorite race," said Mike Green, a veteran musher who spent 17 years racing dog sleds in Alaska before retiring and returning to New England last year. "It's the camaraderie. A lot of memories. A lot of old-time mushers and friends you meet. This race has been going on for 85 years now. It's just special."
The derby opened Friday on the trail carved out of the deep snow north of downtown, where the event used to be held. Hundreds of fans huddled along the course and cheered on the dog teams and mushers as they glided across the snow, which was packed and slick Saturday after a full day of racing and cold overnight temperatures.
Plaisted raced earlier in the day during the six-dog class and was back at her truck with a pair of six-month-old pups that aren't quite ready for racing yet but very energetic.
"You know what I like a lot? Pepper. He likes me a lot," she said. "And I like the huskies because I've never seen one before."
"I remember coming out with my dad when I was little with my cup of hot cocoa, watching the dogs come through and petting them," Maria Trainer said.
Beth LaPointe of Gilford was volunteering along with Green on Saturday. She said she's been coming to the derby for about 20 years, then learned there is always a need for people to help. She doesn't race, but loves dogs and the derby.
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