The Montana Mountain Mushers hosted the 12th annual Darby Dog Sled Races over the weekend.
Sled dogs and their people came down for two full days of racing at the Montana/Idaho border. Teams came from across America and Canada to squeal, jump, and compete.
Race Marshal Nicki Arndt said sled races keep owners and their pups healthy. “It’s an addiction, you know it’s fun, it’s a good healthy sport, it promotes good care of the dogs, working dogs need jobs, otherwise they’re unhappy.”
The Bitterroot Mushers club has only four members organizing the races. Arndt has been involved since the start, 12 years ago. Volunteers help groom the trail, set up at checkpoints and provide emergency radio communications.
Arndt said, “The people are great. They’re all friends and family, so it’s like throwing a big party and all your friends show up.”
Skijors, 8, 6, and 4-dog sleds, competed on the trail for up 23 miles.
“It’s an experience most people never forget, the energy at the start of the race, and I know you got some of that on video, you just can’t describe it. It’s palpable, you can feel it in the air,” Arndt said.
Arndt took over as Marshal after retiring from racing, but she still has two old race dogs.