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Frazee's 4-legged fun run

Frazee, Minn.- Heidi Brune got her start in the Frazee Sled Dog Club when a friend, interested in sled dog racing, brought her to a club meeting.

"One meeting and I was hooked," she said. "People that come to the races get hooked as well."

Now president of the club, Brune said the club's focus is on perpetuating open-class sled dog racing, which means sled drivers - known as "mushers" - can have an unlimited number of dogs on their team.

Brune said club officials have seen up to 24 dogs pulling one sled during an open race at the club's annual sled dog race, scheduled this year for Friday and Saturday.

"We're the largest open team race in the lower 48 states," she said.

This will be the eighth annual Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous, and it will honor former club member Ted Schaum, who died in a semi truck-car collision last year.

"It's a very important race on the circuit. We'd like to keep the race going as long as possible. It's World Cup sanctioned and some of the mushers earn points for larger competitions on a broader base, so we've got people coming from all over to catch this race, be a part of it," Brune said.

The club relies mostly on sponsors to host the annual dog sled race, but also holds fundraisers throughout the year.

Getting ready for the race is a lot of work. In the last few years, the club has asked the Becker County trail groomers to help set up the 15 miles of trails, on private lands, needed for the races, which Brune said makes the club's job easier.

Brune said she expects a lot of people to show up at this weekend's race. Volunteers come from as far as Florida to help with the event, she said. On the racing side, they expect dogs from a German kennel and a Scandinavian team.

This is a great opportunity for students in the area to see sled dog racing up close, Brune said. Students from Hawley, Lake Park-Audubon and Frazee will see races on Friday.

The Frazee Sled Dog Club is hoping for optimal weather for the two-day event. Brune said the best temperatures would be around 10 degrees Fahrenheit for the dogs.

"Ideally, we like it cool with no wind," she said.

But for those who are a bit averse to watching the race outdoors, Brune said there is live radio coverage for those who want to sit in their cars and watch the race.

And on Saturday, there's an all-you-can-eat soup and sandwich buffet at the Frazee Event Center between the last race and the

9 p.m. award ceremony. There

is a free dance following the ceremony.

The racing site is just east of Frazee on Becker County Road 10. Racing starts at 10 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday, with the skijoring pro and novice race.