MARQUETTE Preparations are underway at the Holiday Inn in Marquette as mushers and race officials get ready for the 30th Annual UP200 sled dog races, which begin Friday.
"Mushers are going to be coming into this room at the Holiday Inn to do their final on-site registration. They pick up musher bags, they sign the sled banners, get everything organized, and then this evening will be the pre-race banquet,” said U.P. Sled Dog Association President, Darlene Walch.
On Friday morning, mushers will bring their teams to Riverside Auto for mandatory vet checks.
"Dogs get marked in with a crayon, basically, that indicates they've passed their vet checks and they are good to go,” Walch said.
Last year's races saw poor trail conditions. This year, however, Walch says the situation is the complete opposite.
"We had a fairly soft snow that could be packed down, and then the temperatures dropped. Now that we have these cold temperatures, those trails are going to be hard-packed with a light layer of snow on top. It's perfect conditions for dog teams,” Walch added.
With 19 UP200 teams, 21 Midnight Run teams, and 15 Jack Pine 30 teams, Walch says this weekend will be full of excitement.
"The mushers entered in these races are extremely competent mushers. They're very experienced and they are very competitive. With a fast trail, this will be a very exciting set of races,” Walch said.