3-3-19 Tamworth sled dogs

Steve Stubbs of Wyndham, Maine, gives commands while starting off in the 4-dog team race at the Tamworth’s Outing Club’s sled dog race in January 2019. The 2021 sled dog races have been canceled. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

TAMWORTH — The Tamworth Sled Dog Race, usually scheduled for the last weekend of January each year, has been canceled for 2021, organizers announced Friday.

"The board of directors of the Tamworth Outing Club has decided the race should not be held, given the challenges of COVID-19," said the club in a statement.

"The race, held on and around Chocorua Lake, attracts a large number of spectators as well as the mushers, and the Outing Club feels that it would be too difficult to ensure social distancing and mask wearing in compliance with public health guidelines."

The 2020 race had been scheduled for Jan. 25 but was pushed back to the end of February due to unseasonably warm weather.

However, the weather stayed warm and the event was totally canceled. 

A sled dog race was held in 2019, but previous to that, the last one was held in 2015. Warm weather and storms canceled the event in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The race has been held by the Outing Club in conjunction with the New England Sled Dog Club, since 1937, according to the statement.

"The Outing Club and NESDC look forward to running this historic and scenic sled dog race in 2022," the statement said.

The race, which has been known to draw hundreds of spectators, was an important fundraiser for the Outing Club.

The club's Kit Morgan said that this year the club sought donations from the town rather than just the members. He added that the club also has not been able to hold activities it normally spends money on — such as the junior ski program and contradances at the Tamworth Town House ‚ so in that way, the club is in a "holding pattern." 

He said in the coming year, the club will be on track for both fundraising and activities. For more information, go to tamworthoutingclub.org or find the TOC Facebook page.

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