Maine's biggest dog sled race celebrates 25th anniversary

High temperatures in single digits Saturday and in the teens Sunday should be perfect for the mushers and their dogs.

Published: 05th March 2017 12:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th March 2017 12:34 AM   |  A+A-

By Associated Press

FORT KENT:  More than a dozen mushers departed Saturday amid a cacophony of barking dogs and cheering spectators for a 250-mile dash across the wilderness of northern Maine.

The Irving Woodlands Can-Am Crown, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, takes dog sled teams through forests and over hills near the Canadian border. The grueling course is tough enough to serve as qualifier for the 1,100-mile Iditarod across Alaska.

"We cross one mountain to the other. You just feel like you're climbing them, never descending them," Martin Massicotte said in French, which his wife translated for him.

The seven-time winner from St. Tite, Quebec, was among more than a dozen mushers who will make their way to Portage Lake and then to the town of Allagash before looping back to Fort Kent by Monday morning. There is a combined purse of $44,000 for the 250-mile race, along with two shorter races.

Each race is different.

The temperature plummeted to minus-38 during the first Can-Am Crown, and winner Andrew Nadeau, of Sainte-Melanie, Quebec, had 6- to 7-inch icicles dangling from his beard at the finish line. A year later, the temperature soared to 61 degrees, and the race had to be cut short at 200 miles.

This year, there has been recent record-breaking warmth in New England, but there is still 2 feet of snow on the ground in the woods in northern Maine.

High temperatures in single digits Saturday and in the teens Sunday should be perfect for the mushers and their dogs, said Beurmond Banville, race spokesman.

Massicotte works in the paving business when he is not mushing. While he has won seven times, the competition is fierce and victory is never a sure thing, he said.

His most memorable moment came three years ago, when he broke Nadeau's record of four victories with a comeback on the last stage to win by a mere 1 minute, 5 seconds. In 2008, he was down to eight dogs but managed to overtake Don Hibbs 15 miles from the finish.

"I do not remember winning any of these races easily," he said.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp