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Chasing the flag
Arviat musher Donny Baker takes Kivalliq 250 dog race

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Arviat's Donny Baker took the flag to claim the 2016 Kivalliq 250 (Qimuksiqtiit) dog-mushing race in Rankin Inlet this past week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Donny Baker of Arviat blasts down the chute on his way to winning the Kivalliq 250 dog-mushing race in Rankin Inlet this past week. - photo courtesy of Noel Kaludjak

The top three spots in the final standings were an all-Arviat affair, with Evo Michael second and Alex Ishalook third.

Race marshal Noel Kaludjak said there were eight mushers in the race.

He said each musher was allowed to use eight dogs during the three-day race.

"Each day they started down on the ice at Johnson's Cove and went up near Small Meliadine Lake and back," said Kaludjak.

"It was the racers, eight dogs and 35 miles per day.

"It was a very close and exciting finish with Donny Baker finishing ahead of Evo Michael by just four minutes and two seconds.

"The racers took off in two-minute intervals during each day of the race, and their total time over the three days is added up to get the winner."

Kaludjak said there were decent crowds on the ice for each day of the race.

He said the races went very, very smoothly, with no problems during the event.

"I've been involved with this kind of stuff for more than 30 years now, and this was my second year in a row as the race marshal for the Kivalliq 250.

"The only problem we had was the weather, of course, which delayed us for two days.

"We were supposed to start on April 22 but due to bad weather hitting our region, the race ran from April 24 to 26.

"Once the weather passed, conditions were almost perfect during the entire race."

Kaludjak said the field had seven older mushers and one young racer in Rankin's Kelly Kabvitok.

He said the older mushers still have a few good years left in them yet, but the race may falter if younger racers don't get involved.

"There were about 50 people or so who went to watch them take off every day.

"Everyone seemed to enjoy it and all the racers got off to a good start each day.

"The hamlet plowed the snow from the ice before the race, so we had a good parking spot, starting point and take-off chute.

"Hopefully, we'll see some younger mushers slowly take over now and the race will continue for a very long time."

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