Three mushers finish Gichigami first leg in under four hours

Three mushers, including two from the North Shore, finished the Grand Portage to Hungry Jack leg of the Gichigami Sled Dog Race in under four hours on Sunday.

This is the first year for the Gichigami and it is being run in three legs. The mushers left the Mineral  Center trailhead in a staggered start after 9 AM, Sunday headed for Hungry Jack and the Gunflint Trail.

Ross Fraboni of Two Harbors covered the 51 miles in 3:55 . Right behind him in finishing times were Frank Moe of Hovland and Ryan Redington of Wasilla, AK in 3:56. The fastest teams were running about 13 miles per hour over a trail that was less than ideal.

Keith Aili of Ray finished the first leg in 4:06 followed by Bruce Langmaid of Kearny, ON, Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm and Erin Redington of Wasilla, AK who ran the course in 4:08.

Ryan Anderson of Ray and Will Kornmuller of Willow, AK finished the Grand Portage to Hungry Jack leg in 4:11 followed by Michael Bestgen of St. Cloud and Vern Schroeder of Warba in 4:13. Ariane Jasmin of Clam Gulch, AK finished in 4:14.

Coming in at 4:20 and 4:21 respectively were Tofte's Rita  Wehseler and Clam Gulch, AK's James Wheeler while Kevin Malkowski of Outing finished in 4:24.

Rounding out the finishers were Amanda Vogel of Ray in 4:31, Blake Freking of Finland in 4:39 and Colleen Wallin of Two  Harbors in 4:54.

Bill Wehseler of Tofte was scratched from the race.

The mushers, volunteers and race fans were scheduled for an outdoor barbecue at Trail Center on the Gunflint  Trail Sunday night.

The  59-mile second leg of the race starts Monday morning at 9 o'clock after breakfast at Windigo Lodge. The mushers and teams will travel from Windigo  Lodge to Devil Track Landing for the longest of the three-stages.  A spaghetti feed will celebrate the end of the second leg at American Legion Post 413 in Grand Marais.

The 41-mile third leg of the Gichigami takes off from Devil Track Landing at 9 AM after the Lions Club Pancake breakfast at Sven and Ole's, Tuesday, with the teams heading back for the starting place at Mineral Center. An awards banquet will be held at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino at 6 PM, Tuesday.