With little opportunity to get his sled dogs out and running this winter due to a lack of snow, local sled dog racer Orville Moorehouse, and his canine pals, couldn’t have asked for a better result at the 20th Gold Rush Trail Dog Sled Mail Run.
The event, held in Barkerville, ran from Friday, Jan. 20 to Sunday, Jan. 22 — the day Moorehouse competed in the five-mile dash race from Wells to Barkerville.
Unsure how his sled dogs would perform, Moorehouse, who raises and trains around 17 sled dogs at his home near Big Lake, chose to run the dogs in just one event.
“It’s been a problem year with no snow,” said the 20-year sled dog racing veteran. “My dogs, only one of the six I took up there had run at all this year.”
The maximum number of dogs allowed to pull the sled in the dash race is six. Twenty competitors registered for the race, he said.
“It was really good considering,” he said. “Out of those 20 participants I ended up taking first.”
Despite winning, Moorehouse said he thinks his dogs were more excited than he was.
“That’s why they did so well, because five of them hadn’t been out at all,” he said. “They were so excited they were going totally crazy. They didn’t start getting tired until they got almost to Barkerville — just that last little kilometre — but they love it so much. I just took it easy, but they were flying.”
Moorehouse has won the Barkerville dash before, along with several more top five finishes, and has been a competitor at the event almost every year.
He trains his dogs, normally, out on a six-mile track near his home. Now, he said, the plan is to get his dogs in shape to attend the upcoming Fort St. James races from Feb. 24-26.
“If things go right, I should be going to that one,” he said.
“We’ll just have to wait to see how my training goes.”