The Eagle Cap Extreme, an all-volunteer, Iditerod-qualifying sled dog race that brings hundreds of sled dogs and dozens of elite teams from across the U.S. and Canada to Wallowa County, is still looking for a few good volunteers. This year, (2020) race dates are January 22 to 25. Since its inception in 2001 (check), more than 100 volunteers from Wallowa County, northeast Oregon, and across America have worked hard to make the race happen, and ensure its safety for dogs, mushers, spectators, and volunteers alike.
This year's ECX Volunteer Fair, held at the Josephy Center, on Saturday, Oct. 19, recruited more than 20 people to help, including two cooks and several dog handlers for the remote layover check-station at Ollokot, and several individuals who will help set up protons of the race course. But more volunteers are needed to help ensure the 2020 race’s success. Some of the premier positions that still need to be filled include equipment managers, people to help with public relations, dog handlers for the race start and race finishes, and people to help with the fun education programs that engage schools in Union and Wallowa County in learning about the race, producing art, and coming to Enterprise and Joseph to meet the mushers and their dogs.
You needn't volunteer for the whole time that the race is running. A morning as a dog handler, an afternoon to help with education, some time to check equipment in and out and keep track of things will be fine. Any time you can spare will be greatly appreciated.
What do you get if you are a volunteer? The friendship of the other 100 or more volunteers and of the mushers and their dogs. The chance to hug a sled dog(s). The opportunity to learn about the sport of mushing, and about the work that you are doing as a volunteer, and become, even if only for a few days, part of the mushing community. A discount on the dinner ticket to the festive and fun awards banquet. And the pride and happiness that come from helping your community and helping others.
This year the Eagle Cap Extreme’s race central headquarters will be at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise instead of the Joseph Community Center. The principal reason, said race organizer and board member Linney Appleton, is that the banquet has simply outgrown the seating capacity in Joseph. This means that educational activities for children, the children’s posters, sales of merchandise, and the maps and postings that help keep track of where the racers are on the course will also be at Cloverleaf Hall.
The newly-published 2020 race schedule is:
Vet Checks: Come meet the mushers and dogs: Wednesday, Jan. 22 2020
Main Street Enterprise: 9:00 AM; Main Street Joseph: 1:00 PM
Musher Potluck & Program: Wednesday, Jan. 22: 6:30 PM at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise, OR Potluck. Doors Open 6:00 PM / Potluck 6:30 PM
Race Start Thursday, Jan. 23, 12 PM (noon): 200 mile race, 100 mile race, 1st Stage of the 62 mile, 2-day mid-distance race and the 22 mile Junior's race. WHERE: Ferguson Ridge Ski Area
Finish At Fergi Thursday, January 23 - Saturday, January 25
Ferguson Ridge Ski Area (100 Mile Race: Friday AM, 200 Mile Race: Saturday early AM thru early PM)
Awards Banquet and Dinner
Saturday, Jan. 25, 5:30 PM at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise, OR