Hundreds of people gathered at the Walton Lake Sno Park to watch the Atta Boy 300 IFSS World Championship sled dog races on Wednesday.
   According to organizers there were at least 300 people in attendance.
   This is the fourth year for the Atta Boy 300 and attracts mushers and their families from far and wide, which in turn helps our economy. The Atta Boy 300 is already a favorite among mushers and we hope local businesses will continue to support this spectacular event that will be sure to grow over the years.
   World class mushers traversed the 47-mile loop in our beautiful Ochoco Mountains. They came from as far away as Canada, Switzerland, France, and Argentina. Of course spectators gave a special cheer for local favorites Wes Rau of Powell Butte, and Rachael Scdoris. One young boy named Doogie got the trill of a lifetime when he was able to ride on the sled with Rachael to the starting line. Doogie, like Rachael, is legally blind.
   Libby Riddles, the first woman to ever win the Iditarod, was on hand at the starting line. She too got an extra cheer from the crowd, an obvious favorite among the elementary students who braved the elements to watch the races.
   A group of middle school students involved in a "crossroads" class, along with a group of high school students in a "workcrew" class helped to get the dogs to the starting line.
   Although the Walton Lake leg is just a small part of the Atta Boy 300, we believe this is an event that could be capitalized on. The more local people become involved by hosting mushers, volunteering at the races, or helping at the annual mushers' dinner, the more it will feel like a real part of our community. Something that we can be proud of and all look forward to each year.
   Lori Kimbel
   for the editorial board