With Churchill caught in a deep freeze, some things are just heating up in the sub -Arctic town along the Hudson Bay.

The minus 30 degree C days and nights of January have not dissuaded dog mushers from entering the 2012 Hudson Bay Quest which will run the 220 miles from Gillam to Churchill. This route has been modified from the original course, celebrating the rich trapper history of the region. All mushers are self -sufficient carrying all the supplies they need for themselves and their dogs to make it to the finish. The course generally takes from two to three days to complete depending largely on weather. the original course largely traced the coast of the Hudson Bay and quite often was incredibly challenging when storms hit the region. Logistical complications and a need to streamline the race lead to the new, though still challenging event. Below is a list of racers entered so far for this year’s quest.

Hudson Bay Quest 2012 – Racers Registered

  1. Ed ‘The Sled’ Obrecht – Otter Lake, Quebec
  2. David Daley – Churchill, Manitoba
  3. Dan DiMuzio – Churchill, Manitoba
  4. Troy Groenweld – Two Harbours, Minnesota
  5. Charlie Lundie – Churchill, Manitoba
  6. Stefaan De Marie – Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan
  7. Peter McClelland – Ely, Minnesota
  8. Ernest Azure – Churchill, Manitoba
  9. Burton Penner – Vermillion Bay, Ontario
  10. Shawn McCarty – Ely, Minnesota
  11. John Makayak Hickes – Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
  12. Jesse Terry – Sioux Lookout, Ontario
  13. Barney Kalluak – Arviat, Nunavut

The Hudson Bay Quest’s official website sponsored by Calm air states that only 15 racers will be allowed to run their dogs so hurry up and get your application in! Future blogs will give more information as the race draws closer and updates from the race with results will be available when the mushers leave Gillam in March. Gee…Haw! Dave Daley, local Churchill musher will be running his dogs again this year and hoping to be the second consecutive champion from Churchill. Charlie Lundie won top prize last year.a first for any Churchill entrant.

Husky sled dogs.

Brad Josephs photo.

Although the Fall polar bear season did not allow for extensive sled training for the local mushers and their dogs, travelers still were able to get a feel for the energy that a team of these beautiful animals exudes. Many of the dedicated mushers in Churchill run seasonal businesses. These “off-season” ventures often are run with hopes to raise enough funds to cover extensive dog-food costs that easily reach tens of thousands of dollars. Local musher Kelly Turcotte -owner of Churchill River Mushing-utilized his custom built wheeled sled -carts to guide visitors over the landscape and through willows in order to give guests a feel for, not only dog racing, but dogsled touring. It truly is a unique way to enjoy the undulating tundra and taiga environment Even though Kelly does not enter the race himself, he does an excellent job of showcasing the total experience of dog mushing in the North. Daley and Lundie also cater to Churchill visitors by also giving their guests amazing insight into the exclusive world of the Northern mushers and the intricacies to raising premium Arctic sled dogs. It’s not as easy as one may think. Aside from all the discipline needed to train dogs under normal circumstances, the additional obstacle in Churchill is the weather. Current temperature in Churchill is -48 C…enough to make anyone howl!

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