Changes debated to next year's UP200 Sled Dog Race

Feb 19, 2013

MARQUETTE, MI--   UP200 officials are discussing ways to make the M-28 crossing in Wetmore safer for mushers in 2014.  

UPSDA President Pat Torreano

This past Sunday morning a vehicle hit musher Frank Moe’s team, killing one dog and injuring two others.  Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association President Pat Torreano says at the time the dogs were barking and Moe couldn’t hear crossing guards telling him to stop.  She says it was just an unfortunate accident.

“This is urban mushing, and urban mushing is probably more dangerous than any other kind of mushing,” she says.  “Because you do have road crossings and you do go into communities.  We’ve been very fortunate in 24 years to not have a car hit a musher’s dogs.  I suppose the law of averages said that sooner or later something could go wrong.”

Torreano says she and other officials are considering several ideas to make the M-28 crossing “absolutely safe.”  One plan includes the use of snowmobiles.

“You can stop them when they’re coming into Wetmore on the opposite side of the highway, escort them across with the snowmobiles, and then when they leave you can take them over with snowmobiles and start them on the other side.  And that’s probably what you’re going to see,” she says.

Moe’s dogs are being treated at the Gwinn-Sawyer Veterinary Clinic at Sawyer.  Torreano says those who wish to help Moe could send donations to the clinic in care of Dr. Jean Wilcox.