Grand Mesa hosts an annual sled dog racing event

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – The dogs took over Grand Mesa today and, alongside their mushers, they competed in the 16th annual Grand Mesa Summit Challenge sled dog race.

“We are at 10,500 feet. The highest dog sled race in North America,” said Steven Bethke, president of the Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club.

Bethke states that the courses they offered were four, six and eight miles. And all the dogs that participated are well trained: “Everyone here is trained, and we all train, of course, depending on where you live. You have to find a place to do it. So we are lucky to have Grand Junction and Montrose. We have several mushers. We come here and finish on the pass all the time.

Like musher Steven Litton who took part in the race with his eight huskies. “I trained them about three to four times a week just to get them to understand all the commands and keep them in shape so I could do it,” Litton said.

And something new this year tells me that Jessica Wegner is the number of dogs participating in the sled race: “This is actually the first time this will be a two-dog sled race across Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club. So it’s coming slowly but surely, which is really exciting.

Wegner adds that two dogs can be as competitive as 12 dogs, “I think before we were very limited if you only had two dogs or one dog to skijor, and frankly we’re showing that two dogs can still be competitive.

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