Dec 19, 2013 7:52 PM by Jordan Mason
Colorado Springs, December 19----------There is no better time to open the 13th annual Rocky Mountain State Games than the same weekend that the 2014 Olympic Winter Games begin in Sochi, Russia, according to the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
And, for the second year in a row, the Rocky Mountain State Games has added a sport that involves both humans and their animal athletes. Last summer it was the hugely popular Dog Agility competition that attracted some 500 competitors and their four-legged athletes.
In 2014, it will be the first annual Rocky Mountain State Games Dog Sled Race on February 8th and 9th In nearby Divide, Colorado. The two days of competition will take place at the Hayden Divide Community Park at the intersection of Highway 24 and Highway 67.
The Rocky Mountain State Games Dog Sled race is produced by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, the race organizers are the Colorado Mountain Mushers, and the race is sponsored by the Highlands Center in Divide.
It's not the famed Iditarod in Alaska, to be sure, but it promises two days of enjoyable entertainment for fans of the sport and their families.
The slate of races will range from one mile to eight miles over the course.
While the main portion of the Rocky Mountain State Games will be held on two weekends, July 18-20 and July 25-27, the Sports Corp, ever anxious to add new sports, jumped at the chance to add the Dog Sled race to the schedule of sports offered and produce the first sport ever held in the winter in the 13-year history of Colorado's largest sports festival.
There will be eleven divisions open to Colorado mushers and their dogs in the new sport, and admission to watch the event is free to the public. The races will be staged from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, easily allowing spectators and competitors time to get back home to watch the evening prime time Olympic broadcast on KOAA-TV, the region's official Olympic station.
1 mile - Sportsman Canicross
1 mile - Sportsman Skijor
1 mile - Sportsman Sled
4 mile - Canicross (1-2 dogs)
4 mile - Skijor (1-2 dogs)
4 mile - Sprint (4 dogs)
4 mile - Freight (4 dogs)
6 mile - Skijor (2-3 dogs)
6 mile - Sprint (6 dogs)
8 mile - Skijor (3-4 dogs)
8 mile - Sprint (8 dogs)
Prize purse of at least $1,000 (Sportsman Class is not eligible for prize money)
Mushers Can Visit www.colomushers.org to register for the competition starting after Christmas.
There will also be dog sled demonstrations held in Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs on Feb 7th from 5:00-9:00 PM as part of the Sochi Olympic Downtown Celebration if spectators want a look at the new sport.
Spectators enjoying the action over the two days in Divide can bring their own dogs along to enjoy the races, but they must be kept on leashes and away from the race courses and the competing teams.
Dog Sled Racing is a winter dog sport most popular in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, Russia, and some European countries. It involves the timed competition of teams of sled dogs that pull a sled with the dog driver or musher standing on the runners. The team completing the marked course in the least time is judged the winner.
A sled dog race was a demonstration sport at the 1932 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, and again at the Olympics in Oslo in 1952, but it did not gain official event status in the Games.
Registration for all other sports in the 2014 Rocky Mountain State Games will open February 15 by going to www.rockymountainstategames.org
Records are made to be broken, and the 2013 edition of the Rocky Mountain State Games, the state's largest Sports Festival, made it a reality last summer.
A total of 9,312 athletes from 90 Colorado cities and towns, plus competitors from several other states in select sports, took part in the 12th Rocky Mountain State Games conducted by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
The record turnout shattered the previous mark of 7,103 athletes who competed in the 2012 Games in Colorado Springs, led by the whopping turnout of 2,754 entries in the popular Colorado In Motion 5k Run on July 26.
The Sports Corp annually produces major sports events including the Rocky Mountain State Games, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and dinner, the Olympic Downtown Celebrations, and celebrity sports lunches.