Iron County goes to the dogs this weekend. Iron Line Sled Dog Race and events begin Friday. Preparations for the second annual IronLine sled dog race are in full swing, so mark your calendars for this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. “A lot of the vision from last year’s race is coming to-gether this year,” said Josh Brindle, one of the race direc-tors. The event will kick off with the Mushers Village on Friday at 5 p.m. The Iron River RV Park located by the Iron County Chamber of Commerce office will be converted into the Mushers Village prior to the start of Friday’s race, with vendors and warming tents. This year, the vendor areas will be lit and tents will be heated. There will be sled rides for kids. Hot beverages, food and merchandise will be available including IronLine apparel. Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m., and the mushers will take off from the starting gates at 6:30 p.m. Brindle said that spectators can expect 20 to 25 mushers for the main race. Mushers from all over will be competing, including a few from Michigan. The IronLine 80 (IL 80) is approximately 80 miles and is a 10-dog, two-stage pro class race open to dog mushers who meet the entry requirements. The race requires between eight and 10 dogs in line.
ﬁrst place, $2,000; second, $1,500; third, $1,000; fourth, $850; ﬁfth, $700; sixth, $500; seventh, $250; and eighth, $200. The Mushers Village will reopen at 9 a.m. on Satur-day. Enjoy a walk around the Mushers Village before the four-dog recreational race be-gins at 10 a.m. The four-dog recreational is a small 12-mile race, 6 miles out and 6 miles back. Accord-ing to the IronLine website, the 4-dog recreational is for up-and-comers, young mush-ers and those just wanting to have fun running dogs. No vet checks will be required, but vet records are. Teams are not required to at-tend the musher meetings for the six- and 10-dog classes. Registration for the race is from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Saturday. A brief meeting with the teams will be held at 9 a.m. to hand out bibs. There will be ﬁrst, second and third place winners. The second stage of the main races will begin at 1 p.m. at the Iron River RV Park and is expected to last around two hours. “Only 50 percent of the event is about the actual race,” Brindle said. “The other part is about building the community, building Iron County.” The event will end with the Musher Awards Banquet p.m. Mondays through Thurs-days in the middle school computer lab. The program needs to be housed in a school building, Berutti said, and the people supervising the students must be certiﬁed teachers. They will be Wonders’ employees, and the program will not cost West Iron any money. He gave several examples of people who the program can help. If a student needs to complete a ﬁrst semester Eng-at the George Young Recreational Complex at 6 p.m. Tickets for the banquet are $20. The facility is also a great place to view the racers as they mush across the snow-covered golf course adjacent to Chicaugon Lake. Winter warmers and food will be available at George Young’s located off County Road 424 to Young’s Lane. “This year has come to-gether much quicker and “The fact that the coaches were holding out as long as they were to give me a chance, I’m super appreciative of. But I’m not 100% yet.” Baumgartner said he’s feeling good going into Sochi. “I think the way I’m riding right now, it’s going good,” he said. “I’ve had some bad luck. I’ve had some things happen, but I’ve been making really smart decisions. I haven’t got-ten the results I wanted, but it’s all building up. In Sochi, I think we’re going to make something special happen.”lish 11 credit, they could work from 4 to 9 p.m. or from 6 to 8 p.m. The program requires 60 hours of work to get half a credit. “So a kid could stay in school if he’s real close to graduation, to pick up their credits.” Another example: A stu-dent has a girlfriend and de-cides to leave school and get a job, even though he doesn’t have enough credits to gradu-ate. “We have to realize,” the principal said, “these are the kids who are not leaving our community. I believe we have to do something.” While many area students are college-bound and do nicely in school, “Not everybody ﬁts into this mold, and we have to give these kids some opportunity.” He said he expects 8 to 10 people to take the local program. The program will focus on 17 to 19-year-olds. If a stu-dent wants to recover a credit, Berutti said, he would have to pay $100. A student taking a full day of classes plus a “zero hour” class would pay $275 for the virtual high school, so it would save them money. Students 18 or older would withdraw from West Iron and transfer to Iron Mountain. When they meet graduation requirements, they can get either an Iron Mountain or a West Iron diploma. “There’s a lot of different issues that we face and see ev-ery day.” Berutti said. Many boys think they can enter the Army, “But you can’t go into the Army without a GED or high school diploma any-more.” Superintendent Chris Thomson said this program is similar in some ways to the ACE program that West Iron used to run, but it will be less expensive to operate. He gave an example of a current student who could beneﬁt from the classes—one who doesn’t pass his algebra 2 class as a junior and wants to take building trades as a senior. That student, he said, can either take summer classes or the algebra 2 class through the credit recovery program. “That opens up your schedule for your senior year.” If 18-year-olds leave school and ﬁnds full-time jobs, they can work during the day and take classes at West Iron at night to get the ﬁnal credits needed for a diploma. Thomson reminded the board of the emphasis Michi-gan places on graduation rates, dropout rates and testing scores. If students turn 18 dur-ing the school year and want to drop out, it affects their school’s graduation rate. If several students do that, “All of a sudden, the state’s put-ting up big scoreboards saying West Iron’s only graduating 89 percent.” Berutti said this problem has been lingering for years, even back when he was in school, and is getting worse. “Every weekend when I go into town, I see kids who are high school age, and I’ve never seen that kid in this town before. And in the summer, it’s crazy. “It’s something we should look at. It’s a beneﬁt for our kids and for our district, and the best thing is it doesn’t cost us anything.” The board agreed unani-mously to allow the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Com-munity Schools to run the pro-gram.easier because of all of the volunteer and community support and having extra peo- ple on staff to carry the load,” race directors Josh and Grace Brindle stated on their web-site, “not to mention a bang-up trail crew that is absolutely on top of everything.” For more information about the race, visit www.theironline.com.
Spectator parking will be available during the event in downtown Iron River
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