FORT KENT – The last two teams in the Irving Woodlands 250-mile Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race came across the finish line in Tuesday’s early morning hours.
Fifteen of the 26 teams that started the race Saturday morning on Main Street in Fort Kent completed the run through the forests of northern Maine, a grueling qualifier for next year’s Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
Warm weather during the day Saturday and Sunday took its toll on mushers and their four-legged friends.
Matt Carstens of Whitefield, N.H., won the race, crossing the finish line at the Lonesome Pine Lodge at 6:06 a.m. Monday. About 25 hours and 30 minutes later, the last finisher, Herve Belanger of Berry, Quebec, crossed the finish line at 4:36 a.m. Tuesday.
This weekend’s running of the “Iditarod of the East” at Fort Kent was the 14th annual classic.
Rita Cannan, president of the Can-Am Crown the last nine years, said Tuesday that Irving Woodlands and the Willard Jalbert Jr. family have agreed to sponsor the 250-mile and 60-mile races, respectively, for the next three years. Those sponsorships account for annual contributions of $20,000 by Irving and $7,000 by the Jalberts.
“Apparently I am not the only one who likes the idea of having the Can-Am,” she said.
Cannan said the commitments by Irving and the Jalberts made her day. The Can-Am Crown has its major sponsors until 2010.
“I feel great, other than having a bad cold,” Cannan said after the final mushers left arrived at the finish line. “It’s over for one more year and again with no big problems.
“The weather cooperated through the entire weekend,” she added. “The real nice weather on Saturday morning brought out the crowds of fans. Everything is good.”
The only event left was the mushers banquet on Tuesday night.
That’s when the top 12 teams in the 250-mile race get their share of the $20,000 purse. Matt Carstens will get $4,500 for first place.
Tuesday night the winners of the stage prizes are also announced. The stage prizes, given to the top five fastest mushers between each checkpoint, is $1,000.
An additional Finishing Touch purse of $4,000 is also divided among all teams that finish the race. This year, the money will be divided among 15 mushers.
The mushers banquet for the 30- and 60-mile races was held Sunday morning. The purse for the Pepsi/Budweiser 30-mile race was $4,000 and the purse for the Willard Jalbert Jr. 60-mile race was $7,000.
Irving Woodland 250-mile final results
1. Matt Carstens, Whitefield, N.H., 6:06 a.m., Race Run Time, 29 hours, six minutes and 42 seconds.
2. Martin Massicotte, St. Tite, Quebec, 7:48 a.m., RRT, 30:48:14.
3. Bruce Langmaid, Blackstock, Ontario, 7:56 a.m., RRT, 30:56:00.
4. Stephane Duplissee, St. Zenon, Que., 8:33 a.m., RRT, 31:32:57.
5. Rene Marchildon, South river, Ont., 8:55 a.m., RRT, 31:55:11.
6. Blake Freking, Finland, Minn., 8:58 a.m., RRT, 31:58:16.
7. Ward Wallin, Two Harbors, Minn., 9:09 a.m., RRT, 32:09:33.
8. Nathan Schroeder, Nashwauk, Minn., 11:19 a.m., RRT, 34:18:45.
9. Mike Ellis, Rumney, N.H., 11:21 a.m., RRT, 34:21:38.
10. Normand Casavant, Val des Lacs, Que., 11:53 a.m., RRT, 34:53:34.
11. Rita Wehseler, Toffe, Minn., 1:35 p.m., RRT, 36:35:11.
12. Kevin Malikowski, Outing, Minn., 3:21 p.m., RRT, 38:21:22.
13. Bruce Linton, Morrisville, Vt., 5:49 p.m., RRT, 40:49:24.
14. Robert St. Onge, La Morandiere, Que., 4:05 a.m. Tuesday, RRT, 51:05:17.
15. Herve Belanger, Berry, Que., 4:36 a.m. Tuesday., RRT, 51:36:36.
Robert Fredette, Plantagenet, Que.
Andre Longchamps, Pont Rouge, Que.
Claude Baril, St. Zenon, Que.
Mario Racine, Ste. Cecile de Milton, Que.
Amy Dugan, Shirley, Maine.
Matt Weik, Remer, Minn.
Bill Matott, Manchester, N.H.
Ron Brigham, Warwick, Mass.
Bob O’Hearn, Sandown, N.H.
Martin Charette, St. Michel des Saints, Que.
Ashley Simpson, Shirley, Maine.