The Can Am Sled Dog Races, 30 Years Ago

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 8:35 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The Can Am International Sled Dog races will take off from Main Street in Fort Kent on Saturday morning. Nearly 60 Sled dog teams and their mushers will compete in the 30 100 and 250 mile races. This is the 30th anniversary of the event. It all started back in 1993. Here is a story that Rene Cloukey did back in February of 1994 recapping the challenges of the first year of the race and previewing the 1994 event.

It’s been almost a year since Andre Nadeau of Quebec guided his team of dogs across the finish line in the first Can Am race. It took Nadeau and his team nearly four days to finish the grueling race. He finished Friday morning at 3 am. They had to battle two major snow storms during the week and were the strongest team of the nine teams taking part. They crossed the line four hours ahead of the second place team. Even though last years race went smooth, that hasn’t stopped the board of directors from trying to make some improvements.”

We eliminated some of the tough areas that were a problem for the mushers last year. We have had some boys cutting some new trials through the woods.”

This years race will begin on Main Street in Fort Kent and will continue to Portage Lake for the first check point and then onto Musquacook for the second check, and then onto Maibec’s camp for the third and the fourth checkpoint will be in Allagash. Mushers will return to Fort Kent for the finish. Just because they shortened the race by forty miles doesn’t mean they made the course any easier. After they leave the first checkpoint in Portage they will be heading into the wilderness for the next two checkpoints.

“They really enjoyed the wilderness area and running through the woods with long stretches of nobody around and no camps. It was really a wilderness trip for them and they say it is a well kept secret.”

People in the St John Valley hope it doesn’t remaine a well kept secret. Dave Potter of the Northern Maine Development Commission says they hope this event becomes a tourist attraction. Thanks to the cooperation of the Town of Fort Kent has been the Main Street race start. and the novelty of running mid-distance endurance race that begins on a Main Street in a small rural town on the Maine New Brunswick Border is very unique.

The race continues to start on Main Street and thousands of spectators have lined the streets to watch the start of the race. Also one other side note about 1994. Temperatures were in the 50′s on Sunday and the race was shortened and ended in Allagash because of safety concerns on the St John River from Allagash to Fort Kent