Dogs hit the trails at annual Can-Am race

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FORT KENT, Maine - Crowds gathered in the Main Street of Fort Kent to watch the mushers from the Can Am Dog Sled race take off. The race has been going on for over twenty years and this year saw the largest crowd. Megan Cole Has more on the events economic impact.

Mushers are busy prepping and leashing their dogs to start their cold journey. They are racing in the Can-Am Either in 250, 100 or 30 miles races. According to Beurmond Banville, director of public relations for the Can Am, they have seen as many as 90 teams in the past! This year, they have around 56.

"We have 14 in the 250, 15 in the 100, and 26 teams in the 30."

Banville adds that it takes over a year and about 500 volunteers to make a race happen.

"Next week the board of directors starts planning for 2020 race.
Megan: The Can-Am is so big that mushers across North America come to participate in the race."

"We have mushers here from Quebec. We have mushers here from Minnesota, they're from all over the snowbelt. They come to Fort Kent every year. We also have fans that travel here from all over New England to see this happen. We have veterinarians that come from many states that take part in this activity all weekend."

With the mushers and their families and supporters, Fort Kent is packed!

"The restaurants are packed with people….gas stations….it's a big economic benefit for the community."

Megan: If the mushers in the 250 mile race complete it, they can continue on to bigger races like the Iditarod!

Beurmond: Anybody who finishes the 250 in Fort Kent is a qualifier for the Iditarod, which is an almost 1100 mile race and it's also a qualifier for the Yukon Quest which is a 1000 mile race.

A fun filled day for mushers, dogs, and supporters. The 250 mile race will finish on Monday.