Canadians win Laconia derby, but N.H. mushers on the rise

Union Leader Correspondent
February 19. 2017 7:41PM
Guy Girard of St. Thomas de Joliette, Quebec, finished strong Sunday to win the 88th Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby. (DAN SEUFERT/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

LACONIA — Canadian musher Guy Girard won the 88th Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby on Sunday, and two other Canadians took second and third place.

Mushers from the Granite State also placed highly in this year’s race. That’s a sign of things to come, and an indication of the growing popularity of the sport in the state, said Jim Lyman, president of the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club.

“The sport is strong and we have a lot of support,” Lyman said Sunday. “This (Laconia) race will be around for a long time.”

Guy Girard of St. Thomas de Joliette, Quebec, finished first with an overall three-day time of 2:26:02. In second place was Claude Bellerive of Charette, Quebec, whose overall time was 2:27:20. Finishing third was Jean-Rene Saucier of Woburn, Quebec, who had a time of 2:28:36.

Third place had been occupied by Rejean Therrien of St. Emile, Quebec, but he dropped to ninth place after a difficult run Sunday that likely had to do with a flu-like illness that affected his dogs, Lyman said.

Finishing fourth was Doug Butler of Bristol, Vt. a longtime Laconia racer, with a time of 2:31:30. In sixth place was Angie Carter of Penacook at 2:39:03; in eighth place was Eddie Clifford of Raymond, with a time of 2:41:44.

Racheal Colbath of Gilford finished in 10th place at 2:47:55, and in 13th place was Peter Franke of New Durham at 3:27:27.

This year’s race was dedicated to the late Keith Bryar II of Moultonborough, the two-time winner of the race (2002 and 2011) whose father won the race three times in the 1960s.

About $4,000 was raised for a scholarship in Keith Bryar II’s name. He died last year at 57.

Veteran musher Randy DeKuiper of Hesperia, Mich., described the race as “one of the top two or three races in the country.”

“It’s always a great trail and they put on a great event here,” he said. “Always have.”

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