CHOCORUA — Rescheduled again (this time from late January), the Annual Tamworth Sled Dog Races were a big hit and drew a large crowd of spectators over the course of the weekend, which saw races run each day from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Annual Tamworth Sled Dog Race is a joint effort of the New England Sled Dog Club and and the Tamworth Outing Club.
Last held in 2015, the event was continually canceled in the years since due to warm weather and storms.
It was postponed again from January this year because of wet conditions.
The race was first run in 1937.
"The turnout was phenomenal," said Outing Club President Anne Chant. "People were absolutely so happy with the weather and how things went and to actually have the race."
On Saturday it was partly cloudy with a high of 32 and a low of 10 F. Sunday was sunny, with a high of 39 and a low of 12.
Chant said the race seemed to draw more attendees than past years and that the club was selling out of food like chili, hamburgers and hot dogs because there was so much demand.
"There were more spectators than I ever remember," said Chant. "It couldn't have gone more smoothly."
The proceeds from the sale of food, hot beverages and race memorabilia at the concession trailer will benefit the Tamworth Outing Club’s many youth programs.
Chant on Monday thanked the volunteers for helping. She didn't have a count of how much was raised.
Competitions held each day were included skijoring, eight-dog pro and open, six-dog pro, four-dog team and a three-dog junior.
"Races vary in distance according to the number of dogs in each team," said the brochure. "Four-dog teams race on a course set on the lake, while larger teams of dogs use trails surrounding the lake on routes that reach up to 11 miles.
"This is a two-day sprint race, where times are combined and prizes are awarded to the fastest teams. Sportsman class is for amateur racers, while the pro class includes professional racers who compete for points on the national sled dog race circuit."
The biggest sled-dog teams competed in the Pinetree Power Classic, starting both days at noon, running an 11-mile course on logging roads and snowmobile trails
Bob Cottrell, historian for the Chinook Owners Association, credited the large crowds to a combination of good weather and pent-up demand.
"The demand was because it had been so long since the races had been able to be held, and the great weather brought people out. There were hundreds on the lake, with cars parked alongside Route 16,” said Cottrell, formerly of Tamworth and now of Freedom.
Being an ardent lover of the sport, he said it was great to see the tradition carried on.
“It’s part of the area’s heritage,” he said.
Race results weren't known by presstime. For more information, go to nesdc.org.
Reporter Tom Eastman contributed to this report.