by Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder
January 1, 1998
The Seeley Lake Christmas Race started out with the sound of around 200 dogs barking and howling--at the same time--as if to say "Let's get this show on the road!" And, after Ella Goodbread finished singing the National Anthem, the dogs were silent for just a few minutes as Saturday's 29-mile race got under way.
The dog-sled teams went out again for another 29 miles on Sunday.
After the long-distance teams headed out, the sprint races got underway on a 4-mile run. The teams headed out from the Morrell Trailhead and up Rice Ridge.
Werner and Michaela Probst headed the races up, and Michaela not only ran in the sprint races, she also had great split-pea soup and homemade bread ready when the mushers returned from their runs.
The mushers ran for the pot which consisted of their $25 entry fee, dog food and some of Michaela's homemade bread.
The winners of the 2-day, 58 miles were:
1st: Greg Swingley of Simms, 3 hours 55 minutes; 2nd: Martin Koenig of Seeley Lake, 4:08; 3rd: Jeromy Gehbauer from Minnesota, 4:15; 4th: Sonny King from South Dakota, 4:37; 5th: Rob Gregor from Bozeman, 4:43; 6th: Terry Adkins from Great Falls, 4:44; 7th: Cindy Gallea of Seeley Lake, 4:45; 8th: Cindy Ogden of Seeley Lake, 4:48; 9th: Mike Ellis from Seeley Lake, 4:54; 10th: Karry Mortin of Seeley Lake, 4:55; 11th: Margret Christensen of Seeley Lake, 5:04; 12th: Anette Kittelsen from Wisconsin, 5:06; 13th: Paul Strahl of Kalispell, 5:07; 14th: Jim Gallea of Seeley Lake, 5:15; 15th: Eleen Hamilton of Washington, 5:41; 16th Jeane Morton from Kalispell, 5:48; 17th: Randel Sun from Washington, 7:02; 18th: Philip Roth from Idaho, 7:06; 19th: Miranda Morton from Kalispell, 7:46. One musher did not finish the race.
The winners of the 2-day, 8 mile were:
1st: Brook Swingley (Age 10) of Simms, 17 minutes; 2nd Michaela Endler-Probst of Seeley Lake, 18; 3rd: Sally Carlson of Potomac, 18; 4th: Molly Miller from Missoula, 25; 5th: Shannon of Seeley Lake, 26; 6th: Curt Roth from Idaho, 27; 7th: Stefanie Swingley of Simms, 28; and 8th: Cara Gregor from Bozeman 29.
Werner said that the race was not intended to be a big money race, and that the mushers were mainly there to have a good time and work their dogs.
He would like to thank the helpers: Erwin Krausz, Kathy Graham, Maggie Barker and Chief Timer Ray Opp. And he would like to give a special thanks to the following sponsors: 1-Stop, Chicken Coop, Rovero's, Wold's Valley Market, Woodland Rose, Filling Station, Rowdy Ogden and Bayern Brewing.