CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - The North Star Sled Dog Club hosted multiple sled-dog races in the first ever 'Spirit of the North' Winter Warrior sled dog race held Feb.16 - 17 at Camp Ripley.
"Mushers and teams came from all over the state to take part in 10, 25 and 40-mile races around the Camp Ripley Training Center," said Camp Ripley spokesperson Maj. John Donovan.
"This two day event is new to the variety of activities conducted on Camp Ripley," said Col. Scott. St. Sauver, post commander for Camp Ripley. "It's exciting to watch the racers and teams test their skills in this challenging sport," added St. Sauver.
Early risers were able to enjoy the view from the grand stand while they sipped hot chocolate. The races started at 9 a.m. on both days and lasted through the early afternoon.
"It's great having so many people out here to see what we do and learn about sled dogs," said Bob Bzdok, event co-organizer. "We are so pleased to be out here on Camp Ripley. It was great not having to worry about running into hazards on the trail."
Most sled-dog races are held in state parks or along connecting trails accessible to snowmobilers and skiers. Occasionally, the sled-dog trails will cross roads which cause a safety hazard for the racers and their teams according to Bzdok. Although Camp Ripley is open to the public, the trails utilized by the racers were closed to foot and vehicle traffic.
Of course, the dogs are the most popular aspect of the sport.
"Most folks have never seen this kind of thing before; we get a lot of questions asking about how friendly the dogs are," said Club Veterinarian Jerry Vanek. "They are excited athletes, but they'll be just as happy to lick your face as anything else," he added.
The event put on by the North Star Sled Dog Club was the first of its kind in Morrison County and drew an estimated crowd of 500 people. According to Bzdok, everyone involved stressed how impressed they were with the support from Camp Ripley and the racers are looking forward to coming back next year.
Feb. 17, 2012
Photos and story by Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs Office
Posted: 2015-07-02 01:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Across the state of Minnesota, more than 4,500 miles of active railroad track is used to move material, equipment and passengers - an extension of a system which started on May 22, 1857.
"Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Railway has a rich history supporting our military, reaching back to the Civil War. Today BNSF still works closely with the Department of Defense to coordinate movement of large equipment by rail, including to and from Camp Ripley, near Little Falls," said Amy McBeth, a spokesperson for Burlington Northern - Santa Fe.
In addition to three classifications of railway systems, the federal government identified a system of railroads for the purpose of moving government equipment to support the defense of the United States.
The area was hit last year by disastrous flooding that destroyed many of the homes and farms. The closest dam broke, leaving the area under many feet of water and nearly everyone stranded and forced to evacuate.
The Office of Defense Cooperation and Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program helped provide labor, supplies and the people for communities in need all over the world. For this particular project, more than 30 Minnesota National Guardsmen have joined forces with their Croatian counterparts to rebuild the roof of the community center in less than three weeks.
According to tcpride.org, "Twin Cities Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Minnesota corporation that brings the greater LGBT community together to commemorate our diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality."
For many onlookers at the festival, there was an element of surprise with the Minnesota National Guard's presence, but it didn't take long for the outpouring of appreciation and support from the community.
"While my gunner is firing on a target, my tank commander is engaging a truck using his .50 cal., and I see rounds flying from our wingman who's engaging a tank way out there," said Spc. Ted Coy, an Abrams driver with 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment. "Seeing all the tracer rounds cross while our platoon is firing at different targets at the same time is one of the coolest things I've ever seen."
The gunnery and maneuver exercise that Coy and his platoon conducted was one of the many integrated training events the 1st ABCT has been conducting during its Exportable Combat Training Capabilities exercises - a training period spanning from May 2015 to August 2015.