Sled dog races this weekend in Olney

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A four-dog team gets off and running at the Flathead Classic Dog Sled Race near Olney. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

About 40 teams are expected to race in the Flathead Classic Sled Dog Race this weekend near Olney.

Race events take place Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24 at Dog Creek Lodge and Nordic Center 3 miles north of Olney on U.S. Highway 93 North.

The races will start at 9 a.m. and events conclude about 1 p.m. both days.

Classes for this year’s races will be six-dog class and four-dog class, along with one-dog and two-dog skijoring and fat bike skijoring.

All classes will mush on the groomed Nordic trails surrounding the Dog Creek Lodge. Races are between 2.5 miles and 18 miles in length depending on the size of the team.

In the past, the Flathead Classic has included eight and 12-dog races, but those were dropped from the schedule this year, according to race organizer Brett Svetlik.

“We’re doing the sprint classes this year,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but there’s several teams that are still planning on coming and are going to split in to two different teams.”

Added for the first time last year, the fat bike class has been popular, Svetlik said, as long conditions permit that will return again this year.

The public is invited to come both days, but spectators are asked to leave their own dogs at home.

There will be food and beverages for sale at Dog Creek Lodge and Nordic Center.

A percentage of the merchandise sales will be donated to K9 Care Montana, a facility near Philipsburg that provides service dogs at no cost and customized outdoor activities for wounded warriors as well as special needs children and their families. About $500 was donated following last year’s race and organizers are hoping to top that.

For more information, go to flatheadclassic.org. The public is invited to attend. Volunteers are always needed and can sign up by emailing the.flathead.classic@gmail.com.

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