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Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
2024 Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race

February 23, 24, & 25, 2024

Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Event Inducted 2017 ADN Article

In commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of Dick Tozier, a donation of $3,000.00 has been made to the Open World Championship. Dick was the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Race Marshal for 35 years. This donation is a fitting tribute to Dick Tozier’s inspiring legacy and his affection for the sport, particularly his most beloved race.   This donation will be disbursed as day money to the top four placements of each heat of the championship.

Susan’s Hope Award for Dog Care sponsored by Ravenwood Veterinary $1000

Rookie of the Year Award $500 

Live Coverage

Tribute to Rondy Musher Jim Welch

  

Jim Welch aptly referred to as “the Great Sensei of Speed Mushing” passed on December 13, 2023, he was 73. Jim began his speed mushing career in the early 80’s purchasing dogs from the late great George Attla. He quickly became a fierce and knowledgeable competitor who bred fast dogs and built a formidable kennel. With his quirky sense of humor, dry wit, and keen intellect he became a friend, a teacher, and a mentor to many within the mushing community. Jim freely shared his knowledge, with both junior mushers and fellow competitors earning their deep respect.

Jim volunteered locally, with both ASDRA and Chugiak Dog Mushers, and internationally, as the Alaska Regional Director of the International Sled Dog Racing Association. His reach extended to Japan where his mentorship of the emerging mushing community there resulted in comic books written featuring Jim as the hero in his own mushing story. At age 35, Jim’s time on a sled behind fast dogs ended abruptly when he was diagnosed with MS. In 1987 he could no longer feel the runners beneath his feet so without fanfare he stepped from his sled to begin his lengthy battle against the disease.

For a time, Jim attended races making his way slowly across the snow, balancing on two canes. He offered humble observations and encouragement to up and coming speed mushers and joked and teased with former competitors. He served as a race commentator and as Race Marshal. He wrote numerous sprint mushing articles and authored his book in 1989, “The Speed Mushing Manual: How to Train Racing Sled Dogs”. Now a classic, it is still read and reviewed by dog drivers who race at the highest levels.

During the ensuing decades when his body failed him, Jim continued to gather friends at his table, to write, to create art, and to dream. His home and yard were always available to mushers coming from out of town; his friend, Marvin Kokrine, was a Rondy regular .Without complaint, always with humor, Jim faced medical challenges, and he continued to talk about fast sled dogs and our sport. Each year, as the premiere speed mushing events approached, Jim would chuckle and ask other retired dog drivers “don’t you just feel the itch?” ASDRA salutes an inspirational man for his contributions to the sport of speed mushing.

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Fur Rondy OWC
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Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
Raymond Paul was the first musher to retire the Al Fox Trophy with 3 Fur Rendezvous Titles in 1951, 1954, and 1955.
Raymond Paul was the first musher to retire the Al Fox Trophy with 3 Fur Rendezvous Titles in 1951, 1954, and 1955.
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Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
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Fur Rondy OWC
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Fur Rondy OWC
Fur Rondy OWC
The Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race (OWC) is held each February in conjunction with the Fur Rendezvous Festival – the largest winter festival in Alaska.  The Fur Rondy race was first run in 1946 and is a vital part of the Alaskan identity. Teams come to race in Anchorage from across Alaska, Canada, the lower 48 states, and from international countries, as well. 
This challenging race is staged almost completely in the urban streets and trails of Anchorage. The race starts and finishes on 4th Avenue in Downtown Anchorage in the midst of thousands of cheering spectators. Teams follow 4th Avenue to Cordova St. where a sharp curve provides a show of sled riding showmanship followed soon after by the heart-stopping Cordova Hill – a favorite viewing point for fans of the Rondy. The trail travels along the bike/ski trails of Anchorage’s greenbelts. The teams are challenged by long dark culverts under the Seward Highway and Lake Otis Parkway, two large overpass bridges over Northern Lights Boulevard and Tudor Road, and the diversions of many side trails, skiers, dog walkers, and other unexpected surprises of city life. Six miles into the trail the teams finally sweep onto the designated sled dog trails of Tozier Track. Fourteen miles of beautifully groomed trails that wind through forest and wetlands allow teams to settle into a racing pace and drivers a chance to apply some racing strategy. Later the trail again heads back across the Tudor Road bridge to downtown Anchorage to repeat the Anchorage trails back to the finish line for a total of 26 miles – the length of a human marathon. The race is run the last weekend of February on 3 consecutive days, each a 26 mile heat. The OWC is organized by the Alaskan Sled Dog and Racing Association (ASDRA) in partnership with Greater Anchorage Inc (GAI). Over 1000 hours of volunteer time and effort are required for staging of the race. The Municipality of Anchorage supports this race with police officers, snow fencing, and snow placement and removal for the street portion of this race.  Greater Anchorage Inc. raises the purse and promotes the race. ASDRA is the race-giving organization and therefore is responsible for the trail, staging, and oversight of the race.
The Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race inspires superlatives – “The Indy 500 of Sled Dog Racing”, “The Fastest Dogs in the World”, “A Sled Dog Steeplechase”, and many others.   Experience this remarkable event for yourself and see what the excitement is about!