Crowds stood three people deep along Jackson’s historic Town Square for the start of this year’s International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race (IPSSSDR). Lifted in the bucket of a crane high above the crowd for a bird’s eye view, race director Frank Teasley called out the names of the 18 teams set to race in Stage One of the 2007 IPSSSDR as they approached the starting line.Jackson’s Mayor Mark Barron drove the first team from the start, followed by NASCAR driver David Gilliland, who’d traded his usual horsepower for dog power as he sailed down the trail. The highly competitive field of teams included last year’s champion Melanie Shirilla, the first woman to win the IPSSSDR (2002), and Grant Beck, currently ranked 2nd in the International Federation of Sleddog Sports World Cup Program. Mushers and dogs raced through town on a three-mile snow-covered track specially created by the Town of Jackson Public Works department for the event and finished at Snow King Resort, where IPSSSDR title sponsor Pedigree hosted a free-to-the-public reception. The event concluded with Jackson Hole ’s Winter Carnival celebration complete with torchlight parade, dancing, and fireworks.Following the Jackson stage, teams will continue to Lander, Pinedale, Big Piney/Marbleton, Alpine, Kemmerer/Diamondville, Evanston , and Lyman/Mountain View over the next week before arriving in Park City , Utah , for the final stage and awards ceremony on Saturday, February 3. With its unique “stage stop” racing format, the IPSSSDR stops in a different community each night, allowing Wyoming’s host towns to show their hospitality: Festivities on offer for mushers and spectators alike include pancake feeds, dog parades, banquets, carnivals, and snowshoe softball.The Pedigree® brand actively supports a wide range of programs that promote responsible pet ownership and highlight the contributions dogs make to society.The International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, the largest dog sled race in the lower 48 states, was founded in 1996 by Frank Teasley to make sled dog racing more accessible to the public.Ceremonial Stage results. Note: results determine starting position in official start of Stage One.
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