Musher’s Bowl postponed one month Musher’s Bowl postponed one month

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Crunchy snow isn’t kind to dog’s paws, so organizers have decided to postpone the sled dog races planned for this weekend at Five Fields Farm in South Bridgton. They’ll be held the weekend of Feb. 18–19 instead.

There also won’t be any snowmobile trail rides offered by the Easy Riders Snowmobile Club.

But it’s all good — because all of the other Winter Carnival events are going on as scheduled, promising excitement and fun for everyone.

“Everything is a go, and we’re hoping for a big crowd,” said Jim Mains Jr., executive director of the Greater Bridgton Lake Region Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event.

Mains met Monday with Paul Therriault, president of the Down East Sled Dog Club, whose members compete for title points in races sanctioned by the International Sled Dog Racing Association. They talked to Tom Gyger, owner of Five Fields Farm where the Musher’s Bowl races have taken place in recent years, as well as his groomer, Paul Field.

“Without the snow pack, and the ice, it’s just a bad combination,” Mains said. They considered holding the races on Highland Lake, as they once were, but decided against it. Mains said they wanted to be able to offer sled dog rides to carnival-goers, and the sight of dogs giving rides and people on the ice in general would be too much of a distraction for the racing dogs, he said.

“Racing dogs are more likely to chase other things,” said Mains, who got quite an education on the sport in the course of debating whether to hold the races this weekend or not. “I learned a lot. These are a very sincere group of people, and they take this seriously. If they’re going to do it, they want to do it properly.”

The Down East Sled Dog Club has not raced at all this year for the lack of snow, Mains said. He said even though the club had an opening the following weekend, Jan. 28–29, they figured their best bet was to hold off until Feb. 18–19, when the snowpack has a better chance of being adequate.

There are still open slots for the Sled Dog Rides on Highland Lake this coming weekend, said Mains. Rides cost $30 for 20 minutes, and are held every half hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. Contact the Chamber at 647-3472 to schedule a slot.

Nonprofits play big role

More nonprofit organizations than ever before are involved in the full slate of Winter Carnival events, which feature the popular Freezing For A Reason icy dip in Highland Lake, a no-holds-barred Dodgeball Massacre and a very intense Table Tennis Tournament. Here’s a list of the organizations, and what they are offering:

• Bridgton Community Center: Meltdown Dance Party — Two bands will play rock, blues and country rock, and area restaurants will offer samplings from their menus at this year’s Winter Carnival Meltdown Party Saturday at the Town Hall. The bands “Wrong Road” and “Smokin’ Loafers” will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight at the cash beer and wine bar event, and button-wearers get $5 off the ticket price of $20 in advance, $25 the day of the party. Sample food tastings will be laid out by the Campfire Grille, Venezia, Black Horse Tavern, Morning Glory Diner and White Wulff Farms. For more information or to buy tickets, call 647-3116. For the kids, the Community Center is also holding a free Teen Pizza/Dance Party at the Community Center from 6 to 8:30 p.m. for Grades 6–8, with music by DJ Mitchell Lisowski. Snacks include pizza, beverage and fruit.

• Loon Echo Land Trust: Snowshoe Hike Up Bald Pate Mountain — Thanks to the recent spattering of snow, there’s enough of the white stuff to take a hike to the summit of Loon Echo’s Bald Pate Mountain Preserve. There are two hikes planned, on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to noon, and hikers should meet at the Bald Pate Mountain main parking area on Route 107 at 9:45 a.m. Hikers should wear appropriate layered clothing, bring their own snowshoes, water and snacks. Some snowshoes are available if reserved in advance, by calling 647-4352.

Please follow and like us: