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McCall school children cheer on mushers at the start of the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 07:02:46-05

MCCALL, Idaho — The Idaho Sled Dog Challenge is part of the Rocky Mountain Triple Crown and people came out to the Little Ski Hill in McCall to cheer on the teams as they began a 300-mile journey.

This year marked the third year in a row this event featuring mushers and their dogs is happening during the winter carnival.

There was a buzz at the start of this race and it was hard to tell who was more excited the school kids or the dogs.

"It's a toss up on which one is more motivated," said assistant race director Dave Looney. "But when those kids show up and they start cheering and chanting the mushers have to be amped."

This race also marks one of the only qualifiers for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, Looney said racing through the high country in Idaho is a good way to train for the toughest races this sport has to offer.

"I think we have nearly 47,000 vertical feet the teams have to climb," said Looney. "It's taxing on the mushers and the dogs."

The kids of course loved the dogs, but they also had a role in race preparation as they made signs to mark the checkpoints while also making signs to help with directions on the course.

"It makes me feel really happy, excited and important," exclaimed Violet Armacos a student at Barbara Morgan Elementary in McCall.

"It makes you feel like you're part of the community I think," said Ezrian Bean another student. "I think it is fun."

For more information on a pair of Idaho mushers and what it takes to compete in the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge click here for a story 6 on Your Side's Steve Liebenthal did for our Idaho Backroads segment.

For more information on the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge or if you want to follow on the live tracker click here.