Thursday, April 27, 2006

Red River Derby of 1917

In 1917, the St. Paul Winter Carnivale, along with others, sponsored a dog sled race - the Red River-St. Paul Derby - from Winnipeg to St. Paul along much the same trail as the Red River ox carts used to travel. There was great publicity all along the route, with major newspapers and news reel crews covering the event from start to finish.

One of the teams coming through the border near Pembina...People came out to see the teams, in every town they passed through. Despite temperatures up to 25 degree below, no one wanted to miss seeing the brave men and dogs as they challenged the elements. Towns provided resting stops when needed, and morale boosting as the sleds flew past to sounds of cheering.

Albert Campbell, winner of the 1917 Red River-St. Paul DerbyMany entrants were from Canada, but a few were from the States. The first man to cross the finish line was Albert Campbell, a Metis from the Pas, Manitoba, and his team of "...splendid blacks." He had made a pledge to his dying father only two weeks previous to the race, that he would win it in his honor.

Some of the other mushers that finished the race...