On February 9, 2020, the city of Excelsior will host the inaugural Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby. Inspired by short-lived but popular races dating back to 1937, derby organizers are confident this event will become an annual winter tradition.

“I grew up running sled dogs and caring for my dad’s racing team—plus, I guided sled dog trips to the Boundary Waters. The sport is something that just stays in your bones,” said Klondike Founder and Board President Bethany Hway. “Last year during Beargrease weekend I wondered how we could make this incredible sport more accessible to spectators and bring the magic to the metro area … and the Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby was born!”

The two-day event kicks off Saturday, February 8. It includes Meet-the-Mushers & Hug-a-Husky social events and concludes with a finisher’s banquet following the race. The trail traces the shores of Lake Minnetonka, skirting the communities of WayzataOronoSpring ParkTonka Bay, and Mound, and will start and conclude in the heart of Excelsior on historic Water Street.

The event has already garnered unanimous local support, including the Excelsior City Council, Hennepin County Water Patrol, and a host of businesses. Excelsior creative firm Ostrom Creative has stepped up to develop the race branding, website and promotional materials. Historic lakeside eatery Lord Fletcher’s will host race-weekend events, including sled dog veterinary checks and a mushers’ dinner. “There’s definitely a buzz building … the community has really embraced the Derby, and having a local icon like Lord Fletcher’s on board is huge,” commented Hway.

A fundraiser has been scheduled at Excelsior Brewing on May 31. The event will feature silent and live auctions, raffle, live music from Tim Mahoney, and a few friendly huskies for all to meet. For more information on all things Derby, visit KlondikeDogDerby.com.

The mission of the Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby is to create a world-class sled dog race to serve as a genuine celebration of the sport and spirit of the authentic North; an opportunity for education on the incredible athleticism and passion of sled dogs and mushers; and a tribute to the history of sled dog racing in Excelsior and the Lake Minnetonka area.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.


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