Ellis Retains Open Class title at Montana Creek Championships

Perfect temperatures for sled dog racing on both days, and a lightning fast trail contributed to a great weekend of racing at the Montana Creek Dog Mushers Association (MCDMA). This was the first 2-day sprint race of the season, and mushers were out in full force to test the conditioning of their dogs. (Full results posted at www.mcdma.org )Egil Ellis, 10X ONAC champion, 4X Rondy champion, and one of the most dominating open class mushers of the last decade, held on to his lead despite a very strong 2nd day run on Saturday by eventual runner up Arleigh Reynolds. Ellis and Reynolds both started the race with 14 dogs, however a mishap just before the start forced Reynolds to have to take one dog out of the team leaving him with 13. Dog-Power alone wasn’t the trick to getting around this trail fast, as eventual 3rd and 4th place finishers Greg Sellentin and Erik Rennenberg only started the race with 10 dogs each.In the 8-dog class, Amanda Byrd of Fairbanks also held on to a bistering fast 1st day run to best 8-dog specialist Christian Taveau by only a couple of seconds. The 6-dog class was won by Ami Gjestson of Fairbanks. Bev Stevens of Anchorage was a very close 2nd.The 4 dog class was won by Kim Wells of Anchorage, and Greg Jurek of Fairbanks took home the gold in the skijoring class. check out www.mcdma.org for photos and full results of the race.”We have made some changes to the trail this year, including a really nice section we call the “Inner Loop.” Our Open-Class trail is now 15 miles, as opposed to 10 or 12 miles MCDMA had in the past. We feel this is more representative of what an open-class trail should be at this point in the season, and it is better preparation for teams wanting to compete in the Exxon-Mobil, Rondy or ONAC later in the season. We also have built and purchased some new grooming equipment, which allowed us to build and maintain a better trail in a place that can be challenging to keep a trail in. We are just trying to put on the best races, with the best trail and best organization we can for a small club that is run by just a few hardworking volunteers. A big thanks to our trail boss Ryan Brooks who went above and beyond his duties to not only keep our trail in, but to make it a perfect “10” for the race.” Greg Sellentin, Race Committee chairperson MCDMAMCDMA is located just south of Talkeetna, and hosts junior and senior speed sled dog races, as well as skijoring classes. Photos by Ryan Brooks.

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