Two locals taking on the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race

Two local dog sledders are taking part in the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.  

The Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race is an annual event that takes place in Saskatchewan. The race follows a similar route to the old dog sled trail used by trappers, The North West Mounted Police and the First Nations to travel between Prince Albert and La Ronge. The total distance of the race is approximately 600 km. 

Fort McMurray’s own, Controlled Chaos, is participating in the event with the Founder of Controlled Chaos, Randy Mackenzie, who has over 20 years of mushing experience, and owns and operates Mackenzie Boarding Kennels, a local small business in Fort McMurray. Dr. Jessicca Fielding, who made her way out west from Nova Scotia as a Veterinarian and has spent 6 years with Controlled Chaos. And Dave Stearman, who moved to YMM from Woodville, Ontario, to become a City Planner, and decided there is no better way to enjoy northern living than to learn the wonderful sport.  

We did 110 miles in a 24-hour period. The dogs came in looking really strong, looked good. Says Stearman. But after a couple hours rest, two of their dogs, Dexter and Stanley, developed some injuries that would require more attention and care.We could have continued the race and did another 110 miles but chose not to as to make sure the dogs are kept safe and healthy.    

Controlled Chaos also has younger dogs helping them in the races called “yearlings”.  

“There was 4 yearlings in the race with Randy and the dogs looked great. They came back and were looking strong,” Stearman commented. 

The 8-dog race is underway and sees Jessica running in an 8-dog staged 100-mile race. The staged part of the race means Dr. Fielding, and the other contestants, will race only halfway on Thursday, and the other half Friday. The times will then be added up to a total and see who wins.  

It should be noted that the weather during these races have been around -46C and there are a couple hundred people at the event when you add the staff, the teams, and the spectators.  

If you have wondered what it’s like to step inside the world of dogsledding, you have a chance. They will be taking part in WinterPLAY happening in Fort McMurray from now until March 6. Tickets have sold out but keep an eye on their website in case something opens up. You can still get a chance to see the dogs and chat with the wonderful people at Controlled Chaos.  

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