Stage Stop Race wraps up at Slide Lake

The Pedigree Stage Stop Race, which completed its 25th running in February, announced last Wednesday its plans for the 2021 sled dog competition if COVID-19 causes any disruptions. In this file photo, Ben Barrett, of Middlebury, Vermont, begins the last leg of the 2020 race at Lower Slide Lake along with 17 other mushers.

Snowy trails are likely not near top of mind right now for anyone in the valley, but already one of the area’s staple winter competitions is making plans for forging ahead.

The Pedigree Stage Stop sled dog race, which completed its 25th running in February, announced Wednesday its plans for the 2021 race if COVID-19 causes any disruptions.

“Like all event organizers, we remain flexible and adaptive as new information becomes available,” race director Dan Carter said in a news release. “The changes we have instituted regarding our entry policies are designed to offer potential competitors the opportunity to begin planning for the 2021 race while minimizing any financial risk in doing so.”

If the race is cancelled due to the coronavirus after it starts, the following measures will be put into effect:

If four or more stages of the weeklong race are completed and the remaining stages are nixed, the race will be considered complete. Four days of day money and 100% of the eligible overall purse will be paid out based on daily and overall results. A champion will be declared and his or her name will be added to the champion’s trophy.

If anything less than four stages are completed, no champion will be declared. If three stages are completed, 75% of the overall purse will be awarded, plus day money. If two days are completed, 50% of the purse will be awarded, plus day money. If one stage is completed and the rest of the race cancelled, 25% of the overall purse will be awarded, plus the one day of day money.

Money from the Musher Support Program, which is an added fund with a payout that correlates to finishing position, will be paid out in the same percentages as the overall purse.

Applications will be accepted from mushers beginning Sept. 1. Entry fees will be refunded if the race is cancelled before its start, if a musher is not able to enter the United States because of pandemic-related travel restrictions or if a musher or household member tests positive for the coronavirus. If a musher tests positive for the coronavirus and recovers before the start of the race, he or she will remain eligible to compete.

Canada’s Anny Malo took her second-straight Stage Stop victory in February, earning a combined $27,934 for her overall victory and daily finishing positions.

A little more than a month later, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of sporting events across the world, including the local Town Downhill, the Moose hockey championship series with Sun Valley, and the high school state basketball tournament.

Contact Chance Q. Cook at 732-7065,

Sports Editor Chance Cook has lived in rural Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Butte, Montana. He is no stranger to spending time in the woods chasing animals. If you see him out, challenge him to a game of pool. Send tips and questions.

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