Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association set to host Solstice 50/100 races
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Dog mushing season is starting to pick up in the state of Alaska as mushers and sleds hit the frozen trails in preparation for some races. The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association (TRDMA) will be hosting the Solstice 50/100 races this upcoming weekend.
It will be a full house for the TRDMA as they will be hosting one of the first races of the season.
“It’s an amazing pool. Ever since I started watching this pool of mushers come together, it has been so exciting,” said TRDMA President Meyers. “It’s going to be a very exciting race to watch with all these top mushers.”
This year’s Solstice 100 in particular is full of top mushers from Deke Naaktgeboren to Jessie Holmes. This year’s race will have a maximum of 20 teams according to their website, as teams prepare to tackle the cold and COVID.
“I feel really fortunate that we found the space and a safe way to put on the race,” said TRDMA President Barbara Meyers. “I think that it’s going to go off without a hitch and we have a lot of plans in place for social distancing and we have hand sanitizer and masks.”
In 2019, Andrew Wappett took the 50 title with a time of 4 hours and 12 minutes. He took home the gold after beating out Dan Kaduce by three minutes. In the 100 race, Eli Campbell grabbed first barely beating out Matt Hall. This year, Hall will look to grabbed the top spot, but he will have some tough mushers to beat out to the finish line. Among those competing is Deke Naakgteboren, a veteran musher who’s been on the scene for many years.
“Lot of excitement and anticipation of the first race of the year,” said musher Deke Naaktgeboren. “There’s a lot of really good mushers in it and that’s really exciting to have in an early race. A lot of like really, good veterans and competitive mushers.”
Naaktgeboren says he is looking forward to seeing his neighbor Dave Turner out there along with Jessie Holmes. He also mentioned that he learns a lot from the other men and women on the trails while at checkpoints. Naakgteboren completed his first ever Iditarod last season, taking 27th overall.
“I love seeing some of the top names in any race that I do because it makes me a better musher,” said Naaktgeboren. “I have all kinds of opportunities to learn from those guys and girls, especially at the checkpoints.”
The race is slated to start December 19 at the Pleasant Valley Store at 11:30 A.M. The next race on their schedule is the Two Rivers 100/200 on February 26, 2021.
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