SEELEY LAKE — Montana’s annual dog sled competition, the Race to the Sky, celebrated its 35th anniversary this weekend.
After all these years, Race Manager Chris Jewett says Montana is lucky to continually promote such a unique sport.
“One of the reasons why I love the sport, and I like to always say this, is because men and women compete equally, and there’s not a lot of sports where that happens,” Jewett said.
Race to the Sky is a 300 and 100 mile dog sled race, beginning and ending near Lincoln.
As one of the race’s five checkpoints, Seeley Lake welcomed mushers and their dogs from 3 a.m. Sunday morning until around noon.
A total of 19 teams from Montana and neighboring states competed in the event.
While some teams compete professionally and others just for fun, mushing requires year round training.
Physically draining for both the dogs and their owners, once the competitors reached the Seeley checkpoint where community members were eager to help them recharge.
“I know the mushers I’ve talked to, they love this race because of how the community comes out and supports it,” said dog handler Caleb Jobes.
“There’s folks who have been in the community center cooking breakfast and just whatever they can do to make the mushers feel welcome," he added.
There have been a lot of changes made to the race in the last 35 years but organizers say one thing has remained -- the desire of the sled dogs to do what they’re born to do, run.