LITTLE FALLS - Crystal clear blue skies and crisp snow covered trails set the scene for the Winter Warrior Sled Dog Races this weekend.

This is the second year for the races which take place at Camp Ripley in Little Falls. The North Star Sled Dog Club hosted the event.

Teams consisting of six or ten dogs raced in different divisions on the 25 mile or 45 mile course.

Sled dog racing is an endurance competition for both the riders and their dogs. Bob Bzdok is the defending champion of the 10-dog sprint event and has been racing for 20 years, he says riders spend a lot of time preparing their dogs for the race.

"We spend an awful lot of time with them, training them, feeding them the right food and taking care of them the right way," Bzdok says.

For many of the dogs, training starts early on when they're puppies.

"A lot of them, ever since they're pups we'll start harness breaking them and put them into small race teams," Bzdok says.

Racers of all ages participated in the event. Bzdok's 7-year-old son Johnathon was the youngest participant.

"I want to be a pro dog racer," Johnathan said with a smile.

The North Star Sled Dog Club has been organizing races in Minnesota since the 1960's. The Winter Warrior Race is part of the North Star's competition circuit, which continues through early March.

More information can be found on their website. 



Dan DeBaun, WJON News