Hello from IronLine central! Everyone has been asking and emailing us about details for the 2014 race coming up this winter. Well, I am very pleased to inform you that we have been meeting with our core planning team and have arrived at some decisions for the 2nd Annual IronLine:
RACE DATE: this was tough, with February being a strange month, having overlapping weekends and a couple other schedule changes from other Midwest races. Be that as it may, we have come up with the weekend of January 31st—February 1st for our date. We know that this conflicts with the Apostle Island Race in Bayfield, WI, but we felt that the race formats were different enough to allow for both. We do not mean any disrespect to their race. If we had a better date, with no conflicts, we would have chosen that. This date also allows for a built-in contingency plan for Feb. 14-15, in case of low snow or bad weather.
RACE FORMAT: As far as we were concerned, and many mushers, volunteers, and folks in our community, last year’s IronLine was a great success, especially since it was our first race. So, we felt that it would be advantageous for everyone involved to stick with what worked and look at doing our race like last year, only turning everything up a notch or two. The idea of the “mini-stage” format we went with seemed to work, however we missed our goal of a 40 & 80 race with the trail distance being closer to 31 miles for the 10-dog class. We are again going to shoot for these distances, confident we can hit it more on the money. And yes, it will be two stages for both the six and ten dog classes, with a Friday night start and a Saturday afternoon second stage.
RACE PURSE: This is an area where we want to go a bit bigger. Last year we ended up with nearly a $4,000 purse. This year we are looking at $7,000 -8,000. We hope that this makes the race competitive and fun.
ENTRY FEE: We thought ahead last year and set an entry fee we felt we could stay at through the years, so there should be no significant differences in the fees, nor the month by month pre-entry breakdown.
TRAIL: For those that saw the course last year, we are keeping most of what we had intact for 2014: Chicagoan Lake, George Young’s Golf Course (which ended up being gorgeous!), and the access community trail. Snowmobile trial usage and road crossings will be kept to a serious minimum. Trail signage will be numerous. And, we are legitimately trying to light our frozen lake section with LED markers for further visibility!
MUSHER VILLAGE: For families and spectators, the Musher Village around our awesome RV park staging area will be livelier than ever for 2014! We are looking at more restroom facilities, more heated tents, more vendors, more food, more children’s activities, sled dog rides, more access, and a broader layout. Should be exciting and up the fun factor for our event.
PRIZE PACKAGES: We are also working with sponsors to offer many of the mushers who might not bring home cash winnings at least some nice prizes, whether they be gift certificates, food, dog food, or clothing. We really want nobody to go home “empty-handed” from IronLine 2014!
Thank you so much for your interest in The IronLine sled dog race for 2014! We are working as hard as we can to make this a fun, competitive, and exciting event for all mushers, their families, and for our wonderful community here in Iron County Michigan!
Race Directors Josh & Grace Brindle