Katy Nesbitt
The La Grande Observer

JOSEPH — In a word, this year’s Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race was “drama” with big upsets, a crash and a hometown victory.

Running her second Eagle Cap Extreme, Morgan Anderson, of Enterprise, won the two-day 31-mile “pot” race in a time of 7 hours, 53 minutes. David Hassilev, of Priest River, Idaho, placed second in 8:20, edging out last year’s pot race winner, Bend’s Jane Devlin, by three minutes.

Anderson cut her teeth racing in the 2015 22-mile junior race. Returning from a school year in France, she said she started training her two Alaskan Husky sled dogs in August by having them pull her on a bicycle. With this year’s epic valley snow pack, she said she was able to run the dogs and her sled on backroads near her home in rural Enterprise, as well as around Ferguson Ridge and Canal Road outside of Joseph.

With only two sled dogs of her own, Anderson did what is common in mushing: she borrowed dogs from friends to put together a team, including some from fellow musher Laurie Warren. Committed to training her own animals, Anderson said she will spend part of the year between graduating from high school this spring and entering college in fall 2018 to train both dogs and mules with Warren at her home in Council, Idaho.

The Andersons’ foreign exchange student, Charlotte Burkhardt, from Austria, joined the family sport.With one of Anderson’s dogs and others she borrowed, Burkhardt won this year’s 22-mile junior race.

Read the full story in the Jan. 23 edition of The Observer.