Montana Women Dominate Idaho Sled Dog Challenge


CASCADE, Idaho — With Montana mushers Josi Thyr and Nicole Lombardi winning this year’s 300-mile and 100-mile races, respectively, officials have seen a trend: women continue to dominate the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge. According to ISDC founder and organizer Jerry Wortley, women have won all but one race since its inception.

in 2018.

Montana musher Jessie Royer won the inaugural race in 2018 – a single 237-mile course, then called the McCall Ultra Sled Dog Challenge – and she won the 300-mile race in 2020. Canadian musher Jennifer Campeau won the 150 mile race. in 2019 when the name was changed to Idaho Sled Dog Challenge and it joined Oregon‘s Eagle Cap Extreme and Montana’s Race to the Sky to form the Rocky Mountain Triple Crown. Idaho musher Laurie Warren won the 2020 ISDC 100 mile race.

Montana musher Brett Bruggerman is the only man to win an Idaho Sled Dog Challenge event – ​​the 300-mile race in 2019.

The competition was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lombardi, who also won the 100-mile race at the 2022 Eagle Cap Extreme two weeks ago, completed the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge 100-mile course at 6:37 a.m. Wednesday in record time – 4 p.m. 52 min 30 sec – with an average of 9.57 mph. She beat the time set by 2020 100-mile race winner Laurie Warren of Council, Idaho, (8:55:00 p.m.) by more than 4 hours (4:02:30).

Race steward Rick Katucki explained how many mushers who finished later achieved higher average speeds than some who finished earlier.

“Average speed is calculated using race time,” Katucki said. “In a continuous format race, which the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge uses, mushers can rest their teams as long as they want. A faster team that stays longer at the checkpoint can finish later than a another who rests less.Sled dog racing has a large component of management and strategy, and in this case the mushers with the fastest teams finished later because they miscalculated how long they had to stay or maybe their checkpoint routines weren’t as efficient and they didn’t get back on the track as quickly as they did. It’s like a race car spending too much time at a pit stop.”

This year’s Idaho Sled Dog Challenge, the fourth annual event, drew teams from seven states, with 300-mile winner Bailey Vitello of Milan, NH being the first musher from east of Mississippi to compete here . The 100-mile race brought together three generations of Mumfords – father and daughter Bryce and Anna Mumford of Preston, Idaho, and grandfather Rex Mumford of Huntsville, Utah.

The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge features world-class mushers. It is the only 300-mile Yukon Quest qualifier in the lower 48 and one of only three such events for the Iditarod in the contiguous continental United States. The Iditarod and Yukon Quest are considered the longest and toughest sled dog races in the world.

According to ISDC co-founder and trail coordinator Dave Looney, the Idaho race is considered one of the most grueling mushing competitions in the world due to its topography.

“Mushers will tell you it’s a very, very atypical race,” Looney said. “Our drop is 36,000 feet, which is higher than the Iditarod. They call it a 500 mile race rolled into 300 miles. So the care of the dogs, the pace and the attention they have to give to the terrain are really important because there are a lot of ups and downs.

The fifth annual Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is scheduled for January 29 through February 29. 2, 2023. The race operates under a U.S. Forest Service Special Use Permit and is the recipient of an Idaho Travel Council grant obtained by the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

Visit idahosleddogchallenge.com for more details.

The final standings for this year’s 300 mile race are:

  1. Josi Thyr (Olney, MT) – bib #6 – 61:52:28 – 9.03 mph average.

  2. Bailey Vitello (Milan, NH) – bib #3 – 62:46:16 – 8.30 mph avg.

  3. Jed Stephensen (Sandpoint, ID) – bib #2 – 71:33:41 – 7.87 mph avg.

  4. Clayton Perry (Power, MT) – bib #4 – 78:48:55 – 6.89 mph average.

The final standings for this year’s 100 mile race are:

  1. Nicole Lombardi (Lincoln, MT) – bib #9 – 4:52:30 p.m. – 9.57 mph avg.

  2. Scott White (Snohomish, WA) – bib #10 – 6:35:23 p.m. – 8.39 mph avg.

  3. Wade Donaldson (Coalville, UT) – bib #16 – 7:26:40 p.m. – 8.38 mph avg.

  4. Morgan Anderson (Power, MT) – bib #22 – 20:53:37 – 7.25 mph avg.

  5. — David Ray Bush, Jr. (Bend, OR) — bib #17 — 9:34:18 p.m. — 7.26 mph avg.

  6. Anna Mumford (Preston, ID) – bib #8 – 21:50:35 – 6.94 mph average.

  7. Bryce Mumford (Preston, ID) – bib #15 – 21:50:40 – 7.13 mph average.

  8. Rex Mumford (Huntsville, UT) – bib #18 – 9:50:45 p.m. – 7.54 mph avg.

  9. John Kunzler (Vernal, UT) — bib #12 — 10:14:31 PM — 6.56 mph avg.

  10. Meghan Forrey (Durango, CO) — bib #23 — 10:22:01 PM — 7.61 mph avg.

  11. Jesse Flory (Hesperus, CO) — bib #14 — 10:23:02 PM — 7.29 mph avg.

  12. Steve Madsen (Cougar, WA) – bib #20 – 10:24:45 p.m. – 6.73 mph average.

  13. Jane Devlin (Bend, OR) — bib #13 — 11:12:16 PM — 6.73 mph avg.

  14. Jeneen Loeliger-Myers (McCall, ID) — bib #19 — 25:00:33 — 6.19 mph avg.

  15. Elizabeth Nevills (Middleton, ID) – bib #11 – scratched – 5.40 mph average.

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