Celebrating the Spirit and Adventure of Sled Dog Racing
I hereby apply to participate as a MUSHER for the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race 2024.
I acknowledge that there are risks of injury to persons or dogs while participating in a sled dog race. I further acknowledge that I am participating as a musher in this race at my own risk.
In consideration of my being permitted to participate as a musher in this race, on behalf of myself, my heirs, assigns and personal representatives, I hereby waive, release and forever discharge the Ely Chamber of Commerce, any organizations or individuals involved in organizing and/or sponsoring this race, any municipalities or other public entities, and all of their employees, agents, officers, directors, attorneys, members, sponsors or promoters and affiliates whosoever from any and all liability, claim, loss, cost or expense for personal injury, death or property damage arising or attributable in any way to any action or omission to act of any such person or organization in the sanctioning, organizing or execution of this sled dog event, or my participation therein, even though that liability may arise out of negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons or entities mentioned above, including but not limited to travel to or from or parking at the sled dog event.
Knowing the above risks of sled dog racing, I nevertheless hereby agree to assume those risks and to release, discharge and hold harmless all of the persons or entities mentioned above who might be liable to me or my heirs or assigns, for any and all damages for death, personal injury or property damage of any kind. The risks which I assume are all those involved in participation in a sled dog event.
2024 Race Rules
Ely Chamber of Commerce
WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race
2024 Rules for Competition
MUSHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. PLEASE READ ALL THE RULES THOROUGHLY, THEY WILL BE ENFORCED. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE RULES AND PROCEDURES IN THIS PUBLICATION SHALL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WOLFTRACK CLASSIC SLED DOG RACE AND ITS RACE MARSHAL.
REGISTRATION AND ENTRY RULES
Early Registration for returning 2023 teams will open on October 2-October 16, 2023
Registration for all teams will open on October 16, 2023, at 12:00 pm CST and closes 9 days prior to the race. No Registrations will be accepted on Saturday, February 24 at musher check-in or on Sunday, February 25 race day.
The 6-dog entry fee is $85.00 from October 2 – December 31, 2023, and $100.00 from January 1 – February 17, 2024.
The 8-dog entry fee is $110.00 from October 2 – December 31, 2023, and $125.00 from January 1 – February 17, 2024.
1. The entry fee must accompany the online registration for the entry to be considered complete.
2. Start order will be based on payment date and time of online registration.
3. First-time mushers and junior mushers are required to submit references from mushers they have handled for or from guardians.
4. The WolfTrack Classic reserves the right to reject any entry for just cause. Any sanction to entrants by other races may be upheld for The WolfTrack Classic at the discretion of the Race Marshal and WolfTrack Classic.
5. As a condition of entry into the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race, mushers will be required to sign the release form.
6. Teams may withdraw from the race up to January 31, 2024, and receive a full refund. Withdrawals after January 31. 2024 will forfeit the registration fee.
EVENT DATES AND REQUIREMENTS
Saturday, February 24, 2024
1. All teams are required to be at the Minnesota North College – Vermilion Campus parking lot from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm to drop dogs and meet the public for a meet and greet.
2. Pre-Race vaccination records will be checked by Dr. Richard (Chip) Hanson at Vermilion Campus outside the dining hall from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm. This is mandatory!
3. Musher Dinner is at Vermilion Campus dining Hall from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm.
4. Mandatory Musher Meeting will be held in the Vermilion Campus theater starting at 6:00 pm. 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 may result in disqualification, time penalty, or fine. First-time and junior mushers are required to remain after the Musher Meeting for additional trail information.
Sunday, February 25, 2024, Race Day
1. All Teams are required to be in the musher parking area by 7:00 am on race day.
2. You must have your bib visible on your sled. You will receive a mandatory bag Check approximately 1 hour before the race starts.
3. Awards dinner will be held at the Grand Ely Lodge immediately after the last team crosses the finish line. You must be present to receive an award.
1. A musher must be named three weeks prior to the race.
2. A musher starting the race shall drive the team throughout the race.
3. A change in musher must have the approval of the Race Marshal, prior to the mushers’ meeting.
4. A musher under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or guardian and must submit previous race experience. This will be reviewed by the Race Marshal, who shall decide if the musher will participate.
5. Mushers and the parent or guardian of a musher under 18 shall attend the mandatory musher’s meeting, held prior to the race, in order to compete in the race.
6. Any driver disqualified at any point in the race is not eligible to compete in the remainder of the race.
7. Substitution of a driver in the case of an emergency may be allowed up to the time of the driver’s meeting with Race Marshal approval.
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. The 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 their race, all dog names, ages, and gender should be provided with the vaccination records.
9. The pre-race exam and check-in details TBD.
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.
3. All dogs running in the race must be in line coming to the start line. A dog too aggressive to be in the line, will not be allowed to run the race.
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.
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. 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 or choke collars of any type are allowed.
5. All equipment, line fasteners, harnesses, and sleds should be in good working order.
1. The sled must have a brush bow, a 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.
Your race bib must be visible during pre-race preparation and during the race, and will be collected after you cross the finish line.
2. First aid kit with an ace bandage, pressure bandage, and tape to apply pressure to a bleeding dog or musher should there be a laceration.
3. Veterinary form/book.
5. Dog booties one set per dog
6. Snowshoes. These are required for the 8-dog race only. 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.
8. Trail Map
9. Cable cutter: This needs to be able to cut the gang line. A multi-tool like a Leather Man is not acceptable as a cable cutter.
10. Headlamp in case of an emergency.
1. Bag Checks are mandatory
2. All equipment shall be subject to the inspection and approval of the Race Marshal, judge, or bag checker.
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 25. You must have a bag check, or you will not be allowed to race.
4. NEW FOR 2024, your race bib will be listed on the bag equipment list. We will come to your truck after you cross the finish line to collect the race bib and mark it off the list. Bibs not turned in will be charged a bib fee.
START FINISH RULES
1. The starting positions for the race shall be determined by order of registration.
2. Bibs will be handed out at the mandatory musher meeting.
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.
You will be assigned a handling crew and ATV 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.
4. Teams crossing the finish line are required to continue beyond the finish line to avoid delaying other arriving teams. Your bib will be collected at your dog truck.
5. NEW FOR 2024. Due to congestion at the finish line, we are making a change. The race timing finish line will be just after the last corner in the ball field. Continue on to the ceremonial finish line under the finish banner. The race marshal and race director will stop you there.
FOLLOWING THE TRAIL
1. WolfTrack Classic teams are guests with a special permit to use the Minnesota DNR Taconite Trail and sections managed by the US Forest Service. Please be respectful of the trail and other users.
2. A team and driver shall run the full course as established and marked by the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race. Trail signage shall be indicated as follows:
A. “Right turn” shall be indicated by a right pointing arrow.
B. “Left turn” shall be indicated by a left pointing arrow.
C. “Straight ahead” shall be indicated by a straight up arrow or painted stake on Bear Head Lake
D. Caution shall be indicated by a down pointing arrow.
3. It is the mushers 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 mushers responsibility.
4. Cut Off Time: Any team that has not crossed Raven Lane by 4:30 p.m., shall stop there and not continue. Handlers can meet their team at that road crossing.
TRAIL CONDITIONS AND WEATHER
1. The Taconite Trail is a challenging course compared to the first forty miles of the Beargrease. Mushers and their teams should be accustomed to running 30 to 50 miles in rough, hilly terrain.
2. The race will run under all but the most severe weather and trail conditions.
3. In the event of questionable trail conditions, the WolfTrack Classic directors, Minnesota DNR trail authorities, Race Marshal, and Chief Veterinarian will make the decision to cancel the race seven days prior to race day.
ASSISTANCE ON THE TRAIL
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 may be 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.”
RIGHT OF WAY
In the “No Man’s Land” zone, no team shall have the right of way over another.
PASSING ON THE TRAIL
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.
RESPONSIBILITY AND SPORTSMANSHIP
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 friendly race, and we have many young and first-time racers. Please be kind and helpful. An aggressive dog will not be tolerated.
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.
3. ABUSE OR INHUMAN TREATMENT OF DOGS CAUSING PAIN OR SUFFERING TO A DOG WILL NOT BE TOLERATED AND WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION.
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.
SCRATCHING FROM THE RACE
Any team that scratches prior to the finish line MUST return to the start area and report to the race officials and the Chief Veterinarian. NO EXCEPTIONS. All dogs must be checked by the vet and a report provided to race officials.
OFFICIALS AND PENALTIES
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 the 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.
PROTESTS BY MUSHERS
1. A musher may protest any action of a competitor that he/she feels is contrary to the race rules. To be considered 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. 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
The decisions of the Race Marshal and race officials shall be final.
Any musher disqualified for any reason will forfeit entrance fees and any purse place.
RACE AWARD AND PURSE
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 January 31, 2024.
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 2025 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 owners 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.
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.