• Fifteen mushers and their dogs will race 30 miles up the Greys River.
Pedigree’s annual Stage Stop Sled Dog Race is coming to Alpine, Friday, February 2. Fifteen professional mushers and their dog teams will launch the sixth stage of the race from the Greys River Trailhead and mush south into the canyon. Teams consecutively leave the start line beginning at 9 a.m. to vie for the combined purse of $165,000.
Mushers and their dogs, along with Mars and Pedigree dignitaries, gathered for the traditional ceremonial start in Jackson last Saturday evening. Junior mushers rode with mushers through the town square to the Teton County fairgrounds in celebration of the skill and grit that the mushers and their dogs demonstrate throughout the event.
Official racing began with the first stop in Teton County on January 27. Stage Two was in Lander on January 28, and Stage Three was in Pinedale on January 29. Big Piney and Marbleton hosted Stage Four on January 30, while Kemmerer hosts Stage Five today. Alpine will host the mushers this Friday, February 2 for Stage Six, and Driggs hosts Stage Seven on Saturday, February 3, which is the final stage. A banquet is scheduled that evening to honor the mushers and their canine athletes at the conclusion of the week-long race.
“The Stage Stop race begins months, if not a year in advance,” shared Alpine Stage Chairwoman, Angela Kinn, in an interview with SVI Media last week. There are 19 businesses and several individuals who have partnered with the Town of Alpine to bring the race to town. “It’s the local businesses who bring the Stage Stop to the town. We have a lot of really great sponsors, some whom have been sponsoring year after year.”
Kinn encourages spectators to arrive early in Alpine on Friday. Parking is expected to be limited with musher rigs, private vehicles and school buses all using the parking area. “If you’re coming, come early that day so you can get a good spot and line up at the start.”
Announcers at the start line are scheduled to introduce the mushers and their teams, share where they are from, and mention the sponsors for each team. “They are mushing partially up the Greys about 30 miles, with a turnaround near Murphy Lake that has been groomed, and then they head back.” It takes mushers about two and a half hours, although some mushers may trickle in as late as 2 p.m.
The Pedigree Mars Corporation makes light refreshments, including hot chocolate and small candies, available to the public in the parking area.
Kinn begins working several months in advance, organizing the event, inviting sponsorships, planning an evening meal for the athletes the night before the Alpine Stage, ordering breakfast food for the athletes, arranging for portable toilets, coordinating with Junior Musher Organizer, Julie Buckley, and other race officials, hanging signs throughout Alpine and Star Valley, and arranging for placement of the chute at the start line. “That’s the background work prior to the race. It’s my second part time job,” Kinn grinned.
“I just think [this race] is the most unique experience that our community can come and witness,” Kinn concluded. “Very few communities have an actual dog red sled race, especially one of this caliber. It’s incredible and it’s just such a privilege for us to be part of that the Stage Stop race. It’s so exciting! You get to see the dogs, and the dogs are super excited, and you get to see professional mushers who are so enthusiastic about their sport. It’s just really a cool event to witness.”
For more information about the race, visit wyomingstagestop.org