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33rd Annual Three Bear Sled Dog RaceSubmitted: 02/09/2013
Story By Ryan Abney


LAND O' LAKES - For 33-years the Wisconsin Trail Blazers have been racing to the finish line of the Three Bear Sled Dog Race. The state's longest running dog sled race gave fans plenty to cheer about Saturday in Land O' Lakes.

Besides the adrenaline rush---friendship is what makes this sport something special.

Five-hundred dogs-- Eight race classes--one goal--MUSH!
These pups don't know the definition of winning. But for their best friend--they'll kick all four paws into high-gear. It's the kind of connection that fans can easily see.

"We have the opportunity to see how they take care of these dogs and how well the dogs are taken care of on a regular basis." Said Volunteer, David Gunderson.

"We train quite a bit during the week and this is the only thing that I do...I'm not in a sport so this is pretty much my life during the winter." Said Four Dog Pro racer Jill Czerniak.

These Mushers work hard to win. But in the end--safety is number one. Mother Nature always has the final say.

Rob Behm is the Wisconsin Trail Blazer President. The love between the two is a reason he enjoys sled dog racing.

"There's a bond between dog and man and bother of them rely on good snow to race on"

Just in time for this competition---the Northwood's forecast delivered. Jill Czerniak and her pup had no complaints.

"We had a good berm on the side of the tail, it wasn't too punchy, it was a very good trail."

"The sun helps a little with the contrast of the trails so the dogs can see where the turns are ahead of time." Open Class racer, Dennis Marksteiner said.

And after months of training and overcoming obstacles, one thing makes it all worthwhile. Skijoring with his dog Ridge is what drives Mike Cristman when it gets tough.

"Just training him up and watching him do really good. He desires to please me, I desire to please him. It's really great."


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Last week he was charged with attempted first degree homicide among other felonies.

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"He has a right to a preliminary hearing and this is a very serious charge and I wasn't going to waive that," said Welsh's public defender Mary Roth Burns.

For instance, Roth Burns asked Detective Sergeant Chad Wanta, who testified, about Welsh's medical condition during the standoff, since he had been shot in the shoulder. She also asked about Welsh's wife, Mary Butler, who changed her story multiple times. In the criminal complaint, Butler made inconsistent statements about Welsh was drinking and if he pointed a gun at her before she shot him, which investigators concluded was in self defense.

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The detective also said when crews shot the bean bag rounds at him to try to arrest him, Welsh said, "Just kill me, just kill me, just shoot me."

Roth Burns said there's other evidence she still needs to see. For instance, police flew a drone over the Welsh home. The detective said Welsh aimed at the drone, but not at police.

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