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Local sled dog aficionados Gail Breslauer and Red Goodman are gearing up for the Northern New England Sled Dog Trade Fair this weekend. It's an opportunity to watch sled dog races and dogs and watch them training at a family-focused event open to all, from professional and recreational mushers to dog lovers.
The event takes place at the Hopkinton fairgrounds in Contoocook, NH, and runs Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This year's featured speakers will be Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore, famed champion dog mushers from Alaska.
Born in New Hampshire, Aliy Zirkle has lived in Alaska since she was 20 and is the first and only woman to win the grueling 1,000-mile Yukon Quest. After this accomplishment in the year 2000, she went on to run the famed Iditarod for the next 13 years. In 2012 and 2013, she finished in second place. Allen Moore, Aliy's husband, originally from Arkansas, has lived in Alaska for the last 20 years. Together with Aliy, they run SP (Skunk's Place) Kennels. This past year, Moore was the Yukon Quest Champion. The Yukon Quest and the 1,049-mile Iditarod are the most prestigious long-distance sled dog races in the country.
Additional speakers will include ISDRA Gold Medalist Johnn Molburg, also originally from New Hampshire, who grew up as part of a famed New England mushing family and is always eager to help people new to the sport of dog sledding. (ISDRA = International Sled Dog Race Association.)
Speaking on canine structure and performance, Dr. Donna Gigliotti, 2012 keynote speaker for the Alaska Sled Dog Symposium in Fairbanks, is a specialist in canine chiropractic medicine. She will present information as well as do hands-on evaluations.
Sunday morning, October 6, starting at 8:30 a.m., there will be a fun dryland race (using non-motorized things with wheels).
In addition to talks both days, there will also be vendors selling everything from dog sleds, dryland training rigs and related sled dog equipment to T-shirts, hats and socks.
For more information go to www.sleddogtradefair.org.
Schedule of events: www.sleddogtradefair.org/schedule.html