FORT KENT, Maine — Some mushers and their dog teams are still out finishing the Can Am Crown 250 in northern Maine. The first team to finish, led by Martin Massicotte of Quebec, crossed the finish line in Fort Kent around 5:45 this morning.
"I think this is his seventh victory here," says Race Marshall Don Hibbs. "He's been a very consistent musher for many, many years and he must work harder than the rest of us, so he deserves everything he gets."
Massicotte spent 28 hours, 57 minutes and 48 seconds on the course. The race began Saturday morning in Fort Kent, went south to Portage, west across the Allagash to the St. John River, then back up through Dickey to Fort Kent.
Just two weeks ago, there had been some concern about the impact of the warm winter, but a snowstorm last week and lingering cold left Race Marshall Hibbs praising the conditions. "Weather's beautiful, the mushers said the trail was very nice - good weather both for dogs and spectators."
One of those spectators was Darryl Peters. She traveled to northern Maine from Connecticut to watch, and spoke to Julia Bayly of the Bangor Daily News.
"There's nothing like it anywhere else. It's the people, it's the community spirit; it's the dogs; it's all of that," Peters said.
Julia Bayly: "You enjoy yourself?"
Darryl Peters: "Oh, we absolutely love it. We just absolutely love it."
The Can-Am is actually a series of sled dog races. Laura Neese, of McMillan, Michigan, was one of those who came to race in one of the shorter events.
"I've always wanted to run the Can-Am. I've heard people say it's a pretty challenging race. I like that," Neese says. "And then, I have a bunch of young dogs we're testing out for a future race years."
On Saturday Nancy Duplessis of Quebec won the CAC 30. Bruce Langmaid of Ontario won the CAC 100.
In the 250, after Massicotte, the second place finisher was Denis Tremblay, third place went to Matthew Schmidt of Minnesota. The top Mainer in the race was Ashley Patterson, who finished a bit more than three-and-a-half hours after the leader.
This year's race was marred when a 15-year-old on a snowmobile crashed into a Can Am Crown 30-mile musher Saturday. Jeffrey McRobbie of Wayne remains at Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent recovering from injuries not considered life threatening. His dogs were not harmed and the juvenile from Pennsylvania was charged by wardens with operating to endanger.