St. John Valley

Can-Am organizers to consider virtual version of sled dog race event

FORT KENT, Maine — After notifying mushers and race volunteers of their decision to cancel the 2021 Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Can-Am Board of Directors is considering a virtual version of the 30-, 100- and 250-mile races. 

The traditional version of the race was canceled “for the safety of the community, fans, mushers and its immense crew of volunteers,” according to the Can-Am board.

The directors will discuss at their December meeting possible alternatives to the outdoor race which has run annually for 28 straight years and draws thousands of spectators and mushers from all over the United States and Canada to the starting line in Fort Kent.

Can Am President Dennis Cyr said the decision to cancel the event was not easy.

“The organization believed it was in the best interests and safety of both mushers and spectators,” Cyr said. “We will return in 2022, with some changes, for an even better adventure for mushers, fans, volunteers and the community.”

A couple of those changes include hiring a website designer from the Can-Am family — musher Jaye Foucher — to create a new Can-Am website, and plans to create a marketing video.

The Can-Am organization has received more than $35,000 in grant monies for the projects, including $10,000 from the Enterprise Grant Program and $18.943 from the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program. 

Irving Woodlands, a major sponsor of the group’s 250-mile race, has also agreed to assist in the work with a grant of $6,000.

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