Shirilla overwhelms field to win Stage Stop

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Melanie Shirilla wrapped up her second International Pedigree Rocky Mountain Stage Stop Sled Dog Race on Saturday in Park City, Utah.

Melanie Shirilla wrapped up her second International Pedigree Rocky Mountain Stage Stop Sled Dog Race on Saturday in Park City, Utah.

Shirilla, of Lincoln, Mont., finished sixth in the final 10-mile stage of the race, but she wound up winning the stage race that started on Jan. 27 in Jackson, Wyo., by almost an hour.

Her total elapsed time in the seven stages that counted toward the overall finish in 23 hours, 45 minutes and 2 seconds.

Shirilla also won the Stage Stop in 2002.

Jacques Philip of Nenana finished second overall in 24:39:51, followed by four-time Iditarod champion Doug Swingley in 24:56:38.

Swingley, Shirilla’s husband, managed to grab the third spot by winning Saturday’s final stage in 37:30 for an average speed of 16 mph. Sam Perrino of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, finished second on Saturday in 39:09 and Wendi Davis of Lander, Wyo., was third in 39:23.

Other Alaskans in the final overall standings were: Gwen Holdmann of Fairbanks, sixth in 25:38:56; Holdmann’s husband Ken Anderson, eighth in 26:11:40; and Charlie Boulding, who lives on the Tanana River near Rock Crossing, 11th in 27:08:25.

Philip was fourth in Saturday’s stage with a time of 39:33, while Holdmann was fifth in 40:39, Anderson was eighth in 42:50 and Boulding was 16th in 49:34.

Twenty of the original 22 mushers completed all eight days of racing. The top 15 overall finishers and the top 15 finishers each day received prize money.

ADMA races

If the temperature on the National Weather Service Hotline, 452-3553, is warmer than 25 below the Alaska Dog Mushers’ Association will hold its scheduled Annamaet Challenge Series races at the Jeff Studdert Racegrounds.

The event gets under way with the one-, two- and three-dog skijoring classes at 10:30 a.m., followed by the four-, six- and eight-dog and Open mushing classes.

The skijoring and four-dog class will race 5.9 miles, while the six-dog class will go 7.7 miles, the eight-dog class races 12.1 miles and the Open class goes 19 miles.

The entry deadlines today are 10 a.m. for skijoring, 10:30 a.m. for the four-dog class, 11 a.m. for the six-dog class and 11:30 a.m. for the eight-dog class.

The ADMA board of directors also announced earlier this week that the Challenge Series schedule has been extended to include another race on Sunday, Feb. 12.


The temperature did not warm up enough Saturday for either the Fairbanks Junior Dog Mushers or the Alaska Skijoring and Pulk Association to hold slated races.

The FJDMA was scheduled to have a preliminary race at the Jeff Studdert Racegrounds and the ASPA was hoping to hold a race on the new trail at the North Star Golf Club.

Race Across Valley

The ASPA’s annual Race Across the Valley will test three new courses when the event takes place Friday through Sunday.

Stage 1 on Friday will feature a Henrik Court start and utilize the ADMA maintained trails, while Stage 2 on Saturday will be on the Isberg Trails and Stage 3 on Sunday will be at the North Star Golf Club.

Short-distance competitors will go 4.5 miles the first day and 4 miles on the second and third days. Long-distance skijorers will got 7.8 miles on the first day, 7 miles on the second day and 8 miles on the third day.

Distance participants race all three days and have a pool of five dogs and up to three can be used each day. Those racing the shorter distance each day can have a pool of three dogs with a two-dog limit.

Day racers can use up to three dogs in the distance event and two dogs in the shorter races.

The bib pickup is at noon on Friday and Sunday and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Races start 30 minutes after the big pickup.

The entry fee is $5 per day for ASPA members who pre-register and $10 per day for non-ASPA members who pre-register.

To Pre-register call race coordinator Pat DeRuyter at 479-7853 or via e-mail at . Anyone wishing to volunteer for the event should contact DeRuyter as soon as possible.

Source: Daily News Miner

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