1929 was the year of the first sled dog race in Laconia, sponsored by the New England Sled Dog Club, and Leonhard Seppala, the hero of the 1925 serum run to Nome (see the movie “Balto’), was the inaugural winner. Seppala would later return in 1960 as an honorary race judge. The New England Sled Dog Club sponsored the first three Laconia races, from 1929-1931.
The following article regarding the 1929 race appeared in the 1968 Laconia “Diamond Jubilee” booklet.
Dog wagon, with the faces of three cute huskies sticking out, advertises “Seppala Siberians Sled Dogs Chas. H. Belford Laconia NH”.
1n late 1931 the Laconia Sled Dog Club is formed. The club sponsors the 1932-1938 races. The club disbands after the 1938 race.
While 1936 was the first so-called “World’s Championship” sled dog race, it was actually the 8th Laconia race overall. Ovide Carrier was the winner. The winner is shown below, hugging his lead dog. Apparently, WLNH and Jack’s Diner were sponsors of the race, as their names are scratched into the photo. The photo was taken in front of the Unitarian church on Main Street. The church was a charred ruin during the 1939 race, and was torn down shortly thereafter.
Racing is ceased during the period from 1939-1955. In 1956, the Lakes Region Sled Dog Club is formed, and racing resumes. The 1956 race is won by Dr. Charles Belford, who goes on to win 3 straight from 1964-1966, and whose photo is on the 1984 button.
We do not have a button for 1956.
We do not have a button for the 1958 race, won by Art Allen.
1961 (won by Ernie Brunet)
The 1967 race was won by Eddie Sylvain.
Despite the button below, racing is cancelled in 1974.
We do not have a button for the 1978 race, won by Eugene Corbin.
The 1980 race was won by Debbie Mulberg.
We do not have a button for the 1981 race. The 1981 race was cancelled.
Despite the button below, the 1983 race was cancelled. Beginning in 1983, the race buttons featured photos of past champions. Dick Moulton was the winningest champion ever, winning races in 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, and 1976.
Keith Bryar won the races in 1960, 1962, and 1963.
Despite the button below, the race is cancelled in 1986. Arthur Allen won the races in 1958 and 1959.
Debbie Mulburg won the races in 1979 and 1980.
John Piscopo won the races in 1969 and 1970.
Harris Dunlap won the races in 1977 and 1982.
We do not have a button for the 1990 race, won by Donald Beland.
Racing was cancelled in both 1991 and 1992.
We do not have buttons for any of these years.
Despite this button, racing was cancelled in 1998.