Sled dog teams and mushers from all around the world are converging in Fort Kent this weekend for the 2014 Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races.

The annual event kicks off on Saturday morning in Fort Kent. Curious about the races?

China Photos/Getty Images
China Photos/Getty Images

There are actually three separate races:

  • The twenty-second annual 250 mile race, called the Irving Woodlands Can-Am Crown 250. Total purse: $29,000
  • the twenty-first annual 60 mile race, called the In Memory of Willard Jalbert, Jr. Can-Am Crown 60. Total purse: $7,000
  • the eighteenth annual 30 mile race, called the Pepsi Bottling & Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy Can-Am Crown 30. Total purse: $4,000

The race begins on Main Street in Fort Kent, sloping underneath the international bridge to Canada, then extending into the western parts of the Allagash wilderness, and finishes back in Fort Kent. Competitors travel from all over the world to compete.

The 250-mile race course contains five checkpoints. All teams are required to sign in and sign out of each checkpoint. Normally the 30 and 60 mile race finish on the same day as they started, whereas the 250 mile race extends from 2–4 days. Mushers must reach the Allagash checkpoint by a specified date in order to complete the race.

The first Can-Am Crown 250-mile race began on Tuesday, February 16, 1993. Nine teams from Maine, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick competed in that race. In 1994 sixteen teams competed in the 250-mile race and eleven in the newly introduced 60-mile race. In 1997 a 30-mile race was added to the itinerary. That same year, the first Saturday in March was established as the official start date for all three races.

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