Ely Chamber of Commerce

WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race

2020 Rules for Competition




Registration closes February 15 – 8 days prior to race day which is February 23.

Entry fees  The 6 dog entry fee is $70.00 from November 1 – December 31, 2019, and $85.00 from January 1 – February 15, 2020.  The 8 dog entry fee is $85.00 from November 1 – December 31, 2019, and $100.00 from January 1 – February 15, 2020.  Registration will open on November 1, 2019, at 12:00 pm CST and close 8 days prior to the race.  No registrations will be accepted on Saturday February 22 at musher check-in or on Sunday February 23rd race day.

  1. The entry fee must accompany the online registration for the entry to be considered complete.
  2. The WolfTrack Classic may reject any entry for just cause.  Any sanctions to entrants by other races will be upheld for the WolfTrack Classic at the discretion of the Race Marshal.
  3. As a condition of entry into the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race, mushers will be required to sign the release form.


  1. The musher starting the race shall drive the team throughout the race.
  2. A change in musher must have the approval of the Race Marshal, prior to the mushers’ meeting.
  3. A musher under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or guardian.
  4. Mushers and the parent or guardian of a musher under 18 shall attend the musher’s meeting, held prior to the race, in order to compete in the race.  Roll call will be called twice during the meeting.  Latecomers who miss the first roll call will receive a $50.00 penalty payable to the Race Marshal, and those who miss the 2nd roll call will not be allowed to race.
  5. Any driver disqualified at any point in the race is not eligible to compete in the remainder of the race.


  1. Only Northern breed dogs will be permitted to enter the race. “Northern breeds” will be determined by the Race Marshal and chief veterinarian.
  2. All dogs are under the care and jurisdiction of the chief veterinarian and his/her staff from check-in & vet- checks until the awards ceremony.
  3. The chief veterinarian may disallow entry of any team or dog for just cause.
  4. Any team of dogs, which in the opinion of the chief veterinarian is unfit or incapable of completing the course, shall be disqualified.
  5. Any team or dogs disqualified at any point in the race is/are not eligible to compete in the remainder of the race.
  6. All dogs must be up-to-date with vaccinations for parvovirus, distemper and rabies. Proof of valid rabies vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to the race and signed by a licensed veterinarian is required.  Proof of purchase for valid vaccines must be submitted for inspection by the chief veterinarian.
  7. Dogs coming from Alaska with valid certificates signed by lay vaccinators will be accepted. Manufacturer’s serial number of the rabies vaccine administered to such dogs must be available to the WolfTrack Classic veterinarian.
  8. All dogs will be identified and marked by the race, all dog names, age and gender should be provided with the vaccination records.
  9. The pre-race exam and check in will be prior to the musher dinner.

Size of Team

  1. Teams entering the 8-Dog Race shall start with 8 dogs in harness and finish with not less than 6 dogs in harness on line.
  2. Teams entering the 6-Dog Race shall start with 6 dogs in harness and finish with not less than 5 dogs in harness on line.


  1. If the chief veterinarian diagnoses any dog present in the race area to have a contagious disease, that team shall be disqualified and immediately leave the race area.


  1. It is the intent of these rules that no drugs or other artificial means be used to drive any dog beyond its natural ability. A musher must have his/her team free of any drugs used.  The chief veterinarian may utilize any drugs necessary to maintain a dog’s health, however, such dogs will be withdrawn from the race.  The use of general anesthetics will not be allowed in any form unless the dog is withdrawn from the race.


Harness and Lines

  1. All harnesses must be padded around the neck and chest areas and have reflective tape and be in good condition
  2. Dogs shall be fastened to the gangline in single or double file with a neckline and tug line. The lead dog/dogs may run without a neck line.
  3. All ganglines must be made of coated cable or have a cable core, or be made of “Iron Rope”. No bare cable.
  4. No muzzles of any kind are allowed.


  1. The sled must have a brush bow, proper functioning brake bolted to the sled and a snow hook.
  2. The type of sled used is the option of the driver, but must have a functioning bag the length of the sled, capable of holding one or two dogs or an injured dog and equipment. Sprint bags will not be allowed.   This will be subject to Race Marshal approval.

Required Equipment

Your race bib must be visible during pre-race preparation and during the race, and will be collected after you cross the finish line.

  1. Knife
  2. First aid kit with a bandage to apply pressure to a bleeding dog or musher should there be a laceration.
  3. Veterinary form.
  4. Axe
  5. Dog booties one set per dog
  6. Snowshoes.  The 8-dog race crosses Bear Head Lake; wind and blowing snow may make it necessary to break trail out in front of your team.
  7. Compass
  8. Trail Map
  9. Cable cutter: This needs to be a cutter you know will cut your cable gang line.  A multi-tool like a Leather Man is not acceptable as a cable cutter.

Bag Check

  1. Bag Checks are mandatory
  2. All equipment shall be subject to the inspection and approval of the Race Marshal.
  3. Mushers, teams and equipment shall be available for inspection 1 Hour prior to the start of the race. Teams are required to be in the dog truck parking area at 7:00 a.m. on race day February 23.  You must have a bag check, or you will not be allowed to race.


  1. The starting positions for the race shall be determined by order of registration.
  2. Bibs will be handed out when you checkin prior to the musher dinner on Saturday, February 22, 2020.

Starting Point and Time

  1. Team must be harnessed and ready to leave for the chute at least 5 minutes prior to your designated start time. There are 3 start areas: in the hole, on deck and in the chute.
  2. Teams will leave the start line at two minute intervals with 6 minutes time between the 8-dog teams and the 6-dog teams.
  3. A team missing their start time will have to do so 2 minutes after the last team in their class. Actual trail time begins at the team’s actual start.  The Race Marshal may penalize a team 30 minutes for a missed start.  If a second start attempt fails, the Race Marshal may disqualify the team.

Starting Assistance

  1. You will be assigned a handling crew to move you to the start area. If you have your own handlers and do not require assistance, please let us know this information.

Trail Time and Finish

Subject to compliance with all race rules, regulations and determinations of the Race Marshal, a team’s finish time is measured when the nose of the lead dog crosses the finish line.

  1. All time involved on the trail shall constitute trail time.
  2. If a loose team crosses the finish line ahead of its driver that team shall have finished when the driver crosses the finish line
  3. Teams with equal times shall be awarded the high finishing position. The purse for the tied place and the next lower place shall be combined and divided equally.



  1. A team and driver shall run the full course as established by the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race and the Race Marshal
  2. The trail shall be followed as marked:
  3. “Right turn” shall be indicated by a right pointing arrow.
  4. “Left turn” shall be indicated by a left pointing arrow.
  5. “Straight ahead” shall be indicated by a straight up arrow or painted stake on Bear Head Lake
  6. Caution shall be indicated by a down pointing arrow.
  7. It is the musher’s responsibility to check for traffic at road crossings on the trail. The race organization will attempt to secure the road crossings, but final safety is the musher’s responsibility.



  1. All teams may receive similar assistance of any type from officials at designated points along the trail as authorized by the Race Marshal
  2. A musher may not receive outside assistance during the race. In case of emergency, mushers may assist each other according to the situation.  Handlers may assist the musher at the start and finish.  Anyone may stop and secure a driverless team or loose dog.  The musher may recover their team either on foot or with another musher’s help and then continue the race.  This should be reported to the Race Marshal.
  3. Outside assistance shall be allowed if a team or mushers’ lives are in danger.
  4. Because of the remote location of the race trails, all dogs becoming unfit after departure shall be carried on the sled. If the whole team is unable to continue, a call for help should be made, and the Race Marshal will alert the trail boss, trail breaker and trail sweep.
  5. In case of a broken sled, outside assistance maybe requested to repair or replace the sled.
  6. Cell phones and GPS are permitted on the trail.
  7. Ski poles are permitted but not in “NO MAN’S LAND.”


  1. In the “No Man’s Land” zone, no team shall have the right of way over another.


  1. When one team intends to pass another, the passing team may request the right of way when the lead dog(s) come within fifty (50) feet of the sled of the overtaken team.
  2. The overtaken team shall make way for the passing team by moving to one side of the trail and by slowing down or stopping if requested by the overtaking team.
  3. Once a team has been passed, that team shall not re-pass until: such time as the leading team has had sufficient time to pull away.
  4. At any lesser interval whenever both drivers are in agreement.
  5. If the passing team becomes tangled as the result of the pass, that team’s driver may require the overtaken team to stop and wait no longer than 1 minute.

Should a major tangle occur, the overtaken team may re-pass with the permission of the leading team.

  1. A driver coming upon one or more stopped teams may pass all such teams. The stopped team’s drivers shall make every effort to clear the trail for the moving team.
  2. In a head-on passing situation, the homeward-bound team has the right of way. The exception to this rule is when the outward- bound team is moving downhill.  In this case, the outward -bound team has the right of way.



  1. The Musher shall be responsible for the conduct of his/her dogs, his/her designated handler and themself whenever in the race area or on the trail. Common sense and good sportsmanship shall prevail.  This is a family race, and we have many young and first- time racers.  Please be kind and helpful.
  2. If the Race Marshal determines that a driver, handler or team conduct at any time in the race area or on the trail is detrimental to the sport/race, that team shall be disqualified.
  4. NO WHIPS are allowed
  5. Abusive or unsportsmanlike conduct toward trail help, timers, other race officials, competing driver, handlers or spectators shall be grounds for penalties or disqualification assessed by the Race Marshal. All official decisions are final.


  1. Any dog that dies on the trail for any reason must be taken to the race finish. Expired dogs must be covered completely when being carried in the sled.  The driver must notify an official at the finish and proceed to their dog truck and wait for the Chief Veterinarian, Race Marshal and Race Director to investigate the situation.  At that time, there will be an interview between the driver and the race officials.  The driver may be counted as finishing the race contingent on the Gross Necropsy and/or after approval of the Chief Veterinarian and Race Marshal.
  2. Any dog that dies during the race will have a necropsy performed by a licensed veterinarian according to the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association Necropsy Guidelines.
  3. Prize money will not be paid until the final results of the histopathology portion of the necropsy are returned. If it is determined that the cause of death was other than natural causes, the musher will be disqualified.  The purse money will then revert to the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race funds.
  4. If the necropsy determines the cause of death to be abuse, the musher will be disqualified and barred from participation in any future WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race events.



  1. The Race Marshal is responsible for the enforcement of all WolfTrack Classic race policies and race rules. The Chief Veterinarian shall be considered a race official on matters pertaining to dog care and treatment.  The Chief Veterinarian must participate in all decisions relating to these issues and will have final authority on all disputed decisions relating to same.
  2. The Race Marshal and the Chief Veterinarian may appoint judges and assistants who will operate as race officials
  3. The Race Marshal may detain a driver for the purpose of repairing or replacing equipment, which is deemed detrimental to the safety and well-being of the team and driver.
  4. The Race Marshal or Chief Veterinarian may detain a team which is deemed in need of rest.
  5. The Race Marshal or Chief Veterinarian may remove a team or dog from the race which is deemed unfit to continue the race.


  1. A musher may protest any action of a competitor which he/she feels is contrary to the race rules. To be considered as a legitimate protest, any infraction observed by a musher must be presented in writing to the Race Marshal no more than one hour after the race.  This written protest must be delivered to the Race Marshal, accompanied by a $100.00 protest fee.   All protests shall be logged with the Race Marshal only and shall not be discussed with any other persons, spectators or media.
  2. Any driver implicated in a report of an alleged violation of the rules will receive a hearing before the Race Marshal and race officials. Such hearings will occur prior to the awards ceremony


  1. The decisions of the Race Marshal and race officials shall be final.


  1. Any musher disqualified for any reason will forfeit entrance fees and any purse place.


  1. All mushers finishing the race must be present at the awards ceremony to collect their winnings. Failure to appear will result in forfeiture of any winnings.


  1. Full refunds will be granted to those withdrawing from the race before February 1, 2020.
  2. In case of race cancellation due to lack of snow or the Minnesota DNR deeming the trail closed due to deteriorating conditions, a full refund or a rollover to 2021 race registration will be granted.


  1. Each musher agrees not to hold the Ely Chamber of Commerce/WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race, its members, race sponsors, land owner private and public, the Race Marshal, Chief Veterinarian, employees or volunteers individually or jointly responsible for injury or damage to himself/herself, his/her handlers, dogs or equipment.
  2. All mushers registering will be required to sign a release of liability at the time of their online registration, or if registering by U.S. mail it should be included with their registration.


  1. Pre-race and during the race event, each musher agrees to give the race organizers and sponsors permission to photograph or video record himself/herself and his/her teams to use for race promotion.