The howls and yips of a pack of black dogs broke out over Shell Lake Sunday afternoon, as Ed Streeper and a group of family and friends rigged up 20 mushing pups to a line of 10 sleds. The air was cold, a bitter -22 degree windchill, but Streeper was determined.
"We're going to pull more sleds ever pulled in recorded history behind one team," said Streeper. "The record that we could find is at six sleds, and we thought well, if we're going to do seven, we might as well do 10."
Streeper says he's been planning to set this record for about four years, but the weather just wouldn't cooperate for him until now.
"The last three years, our winters have been kind of crazy and out of whack, and the weekends that were available, I didn't have my crew. I couldn't do it without all our good friends here that are going to ride the sleds," he said.
While he says not everyone who wanted to be there to see "Fast Eddy" set a world record could make it, they were there in spirit, and in everyone's hearts, particularly Streeper's dad who unexpectedly passed away 10 years ago. Streeper even wore "mits" during the run that he won in an Alaskan race in memory of his dad.
"I gave these to my dad," said Streeper, holding up the mittens. "I'm going to wear them today...and know he's looking down."
It took longer to hook the dogs to the 165-foot sled line than to actually run the roughly three-quarter mile loop down the shoreline and back. And just like that the new record was set without a hitch.
"We're glad we did it," said Streeper shortly after the run. "It went as good as I could have expected. The dogs all stayed on their own side of the line. Everybody on the sleds were fine. Nobody tipped or fell off. No, I'm just thrilled."
Although, he knows it won't be long before someone tries to dethrone his record.
"There's some people in Canada that might challenge it. There's some guys over in Sweden and Norway, countries that are going to want to counteract us," he said. Though, he wasn't too concerned. "I hope this lasts for maybe a long time. I always thought no sense setting a record if it doesn't hold very long...Good luck to anybody who's going to challenge us."
Streeper says if someone does beat him, he will surely plan to tackle any new record that's set. But, for now, he's basking in the glory and just out to have fun and promote getting out and getting active.
"I've won the world championships. I've won all the races, but a goal like this - I haven't been excited like this since the last time I won the World Championship...This is as good as it gets for Minnesota fun. You're outside. You're with friends, the fresh air. It's just beautiful."
Streeper and a crew of his dogs travel around Minnesota and surrounding areas giving sled rides to the public. They will be making a stop at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 10 to give rides during Polar Fest. People can check out their website www.funsleddogrides.com to follow them.