The challenge of last year’s Eagle Cap Extreme with icy trails, high winds gusting up to 80 mph sending drifts across the ice, dog sleds off cliffs and Search and Rescue called out for safety is not scaring anyone off.
As of Friday, Dec. 29, the early registration deadline, this year’s roster showed 18 racers. Last year the race had 24 mushers and race officials expect more to register before the final deadline.
Dr. Jereld Rice of Enterprise Veterinary Hospital has confirmed he’s going to run the 200-mile Eagle Cap Extreme Dog Sled Race in his first outing as a musher ever.
“I was keeping quiet about it until I was confident,” he said.
He’ll get by with a little help from his friends, as Josi Thyr of Catlado, Idaho, is lending him the extra dogs he will need for the attempt.
Another big move is being made by youth musher and Iditarod dreamer Christina Gibson, 16, of White out Racing Kennel in Riverside, Wash. Gibson is returning for the second time and upping the ante, graduating from 20-Mile Junior Race to running the 100-mile race.
She’s warming up for her bid in this year’s Junior Iditarod, held in Wasilla, Alaska, Feb. 24-25. The Junior Iditarod is 148- to 158-miles. Returning mushers include local racer, 18-year-old Morgan Anderson of Enterprise, who will again compete in the 31 miles per day, two-day Pot Race. Morgan won that race last year.
Also returning are “Mr. Good Sportsmanship” and many times winner of the veterinarian’s award for “Best Cared-For Team,” Bino Fowler of Bend for the 100-mile race; last year’s 100-mile winner, Clayton Perry of Power, Mont., who will attempt the 200-mile race this year; and multiple 200-mile winner and last year’s second-place finisher in that race, Brett Bruggeman of Great Falls, Mont.
Bryce Mumford of Preston, Idaho, won the 200-mile last year with a Bruggeman-trained team, so there was no “losing” for the Bruggeman’s “Skinny Leg Sleddogs” kennel in 2017. Mumford is not signed up yet. However, a new competitor for the ECX, 2016 Iditarod veteran Miriam Osredkar will mush “Skinny Leg Sleddogs Team No. 2.”
The list of mushers registered Dec. 29:
• 200-Mile Race –– Jake McCowan, Clayton Perry, Josi Thyr, Brett Bruggeman, Miriam Osredkar (Skinny Leg Sleddogs Team #2), Laura Neese, Laurie Warren, Ed Stielstra
and Jereld Rice
• 100-Mile Race –– Hugo Antonucci, April Cox, Christina Gibson, Connie Starr, Bino Fowler and Trevor Warren.
• Two-Day Pot Race –– Dina Lund, Morgan Anderson and Larry Roxby.