LINCOLN — On Friday, mushers and their dogs gathered in Lincoln for the final checks ahead of the annual Race To The Sky sled dog race.
The races begin on Saturday afternoon with sled dog teams taking off from Hi Country Snack Foods in Lincoln. Races are 100 miles or 300 miles in length.
Bucky Hasty, a 24-year-old musher from Bozeman, has been racing for three years this is his second Race to the Sky.
"I'm super excited. I love the race. This is gorgeous country, I'm super stoked to just get on the trail and be out there with the dogs and, you know, out in the mountains. That's definitely where we're the happiest is, you know, exploring new areas and running around up there," said Hasty.
Another 100-mile musher, Maddie Longpre-Harrer, is also ready to hit the trail. This is her second year racing, but her first time running the Race To The Sky.
"I'm very excited. The Race To The Sky sky is kind of like my home turf. I train on these trails. I pretty much train going up and over Huckleberry Pass... I'm really excited to get out there, see what my dogs can really do, and I just have a lot of fun with them," said Longpre-Harrer.
With lots of time and training, Longpre-Harrar is ready to compete with her team.
"Being beside these dog athletes every day is just amazing. It blows my mind every day, the bond that I get to share with these guys because it's like nothing other. I mean, traveling 100 miles, just you and your dogs, the feeling is pretty special. And I'm grateful that I get to have it," said Longpre-Harrer.
Teams in the 100-mile race are expected to finish Sunday. The first racers in the 300-mile race are expected to start crossing the finish line late Monday.
Race To The Sky commemorates the Camp Rimini War Dog Reception and Training Center just outside Helena.