It used to be called the White Oak Sled Dog Race. This year, with new routes, the name has been changed to the Voyageurs Classic.
Taking place on Jan. 6-8, the four race classes will start in Northome and finish in Squaw Lake, Bigfork and Northome. All routes will be on snowmobile trails and cross challenging and varied terrain.
The 10 dog pro race will begin in Northome and travel through Effie to Bigfork. After a mandatory rest, the route will continue through Marcell to Barney's on County Road 4 for another rest before returning to Northome. Teams will travel 140 miles.
The 60 mile 8 dog pro race will travel the same initial route as the 10 dog pro, finishing in Bigfork.
Both the 10 dog and 8 dog pro races will have cash purses; top 10 finishers for the 10 dog with a first place prize of $1,500 and an expected 6 top finishers for the 8 dog race with a first place prize of $550.
There will also be prizes for the top three finishers for the Trophy and Recreational classes. The Trophy Class will make a 44 mile loop between Northome and Squaw Lake. The Recreational Class will finish at the 22 mile mark in Squaw Lake.
Start times begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, continuing through the classes until about noon. Spectators can see the sled dogs race during the daylight hours in Effie, Bigfork, Marcell and Squaw Lake.
For those spectators, there will be lots of food options including a Friday evening meal, Saturday morning pancake breakfast and Sunday noon meal at the Northome School and at the Fire Hall in Squaw Lake on Saturday. Restaurants along the route will also be open, including all Saturday night in Effie.
Volunteers are welcome! For more information, contact Race Director Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak at (218) 327-4999 or from the Contact page on the race website, www.voyageursclassic.com.