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Mon., Jan. 18, 2016, 3:02 p.m.

Eagle Cap Extreme sled dog races ready to roll

Northeastern Oregon's Eagle Cap Extreme sled dog is one of six qualifiers in the lower 48 for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest sled dog races. (Eagle Cap Extreme)
Northeastern Oregon's Eagle Cap Extreme sled dog is one of six qualifiers in the lower 48 for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest sled dog races. (Eagle Cap Extreme)

WINTERSPORTS -- It's the only Iditarod and Yukon Quest sled dog race qualifier in the lower 48 that takes place west of the Rocky Mountains -- and it's virtually in our backyard.

The 12th annual running of the 200-mile Eagle Cap Extreme sled dog race is Wednesday-Saturday, Jan. 20-23, in northeast Oregon’s Wallowa County.

Not to be missed, especially if you're bringing kids, is the Jan. 20 pre-race veterinary checks in Enterprise and Joseph that gather all of the sled dogs for public viewing -- and in some cases, petting. Sled dogs are amazingly fit, happy and eager to perform.

The Eagle Cap Extreme is hailed by mushers as one of the most challenging and best-run mushing events in the lower 48 states. The ECX is one of only six qualifying races in the U.S. outside of Alaska.  The race provides a unique opportunity for dog lovers and mushing fans to witness premier canine athletes race through this rugged and beautiful corner of Oregon.

The events schedule includes three races: 

  • A 12-dog, 200-mile race, which is the Iditarod and Yukon Quest qualifier. (The Iditarod and YQ each cover more than 1,000 miles.)
  • An 8-dog, 100-mile race.
  • A 6-dog, 62-mile “pot race”, which consists of two 31-mile stages held on consecutive days.

All three races begin at Ferguson Ridge ski hill at noon on Thursday, Jan. 21.  Pot race finishers return to Fergi later that afternoon, and again on Friday; 100-mile finishers arrive early-mid morning on Friday, Jan. 22; 200-mile finishers arrive early on Saturday the 23rd.  The ECX culminates in the mushers' banquet that evening, held in Joseph.

All events except the mushers’ banquet are free to the public. 





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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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