Annual Sled Dog Race to Feature First Ever Juniors Event
Enterprise, OR. 12 December 2014
For the first time in the eleven-year history of the Eagle Cap Extreme, young mushers will have a race of their own.
The ECX has long been known for its challenging course that serves as a qualifying race for the two most prestigious events in the sport of mushing, Alaska’s Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. This January experienced mushers, including some Iditarod veterans, will share the spotlight with the next generation of sled dog runners. The race features novice mushers between 14 and 17 years old, racing four to six-dog teams. The Juniors race begins at Ferguson Ridge ski hill on Friday afternoon, January 23nd, immediately after the second stage of the pot race. From there, young mushers travel along the Canal Road to Salt Creek Summit, then return to Fergi to complete the 22-mile course.
The addition of a Juniors race adds to the event’s tradition of engaging youth and teaching them about sled dogs and the sport of mushing. School children from around the region regularly visit with mushers and meet the dogs during the pre-race veterinary check ups in Joseph and Enterprise. And Wallowa will get a visit from one of the mushers and their dogs again this year. On top of that, ECX Education Coordinator Kris Fraser will have a full schedule of activities for youngsters during race week at Race Central, located in the Joseph Community Center. And busloads of school children from around the region will adorn the ski slopes at Ferguson ridge for the race start again this year, waving homemade signs to help cheer on their favorite mushers.
“Every year we see how excited kids are about the dogs and our race,” says Eagle Cap Extreme president Randy Greenshields. “It’s a natural fit to include a Juniors race as part of the ECX. By featuring a race for young mushers, we hope to build on the race’s reputation for getting kids excited about this amazing sport.”
The eleventh running of the Eagle Cap Extreme takes place this January 21st through the 24th. In addition to the Juniors Race, the ECX features a 200-mile, 12-dog race (the Iditarod and Yukon Quest qualifier), a 100-mile 8-dog race, and a two-stage 62-mile “pot” race. The race is free to spectators, a perfect winter event for families. For more information, including the full schedule of race week events, visit the ECX website and follow the event on Facebook.
The ECX operates as a 501(c)(3) organization. It is put on with the help of more than 150 volunteers, and is supported by over 100 local businesses and individuals. It runs under special permit on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.