Sled Dog Races

Jan. 18-20, 2019


The first sled dog race at Chapman State Park crossed the Allegheny National Forest to Marienville and back in January of 1979. Ten teams ran a two-day race. The temperature hovered around -25 degrees both days with two feet of snow. Jim Lobdell of Warren won that first race and thus began the dog racing tradition at Chapman. Shortly thereafter, the “winter carnival” tradition began to accompany the races at the Park. By 1993, Warren County merged the events into Winterfest.

When Jim Lobdell passed away, the races took on his name: “The Jim Lobdell Memorial Sled Dog Races”. The Tionesta Valley Snowmobile Club, Inc. manages the races; TVSC volunteers serve as Trail Boss and Race Marshall. Russ Bush of the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 73 leads the Amateur FM Radio operators in providing communications to help administer the races. Agencies cooperating to make Winterfest possible include Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Bureau of State Parks, Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Forest Service. Each year, the races are listed on Sled Dog Central. Volunteer organizations stage activities and exhibits throughout the Park.

There will be plenty of excitement for 2019, beginning the morning of Friday, January 18 with the 32-mile mid-distance race from Chapman State Park to the Hickory Creek Wilderness Ranch (16 miles away) and back to the Park. The mid-distance race will be followed by a “Meet the Musher” supper at the Kalbfus Rod & Gun Club, 2178 Chapman Dam Road. (About 2.2 miles from Clarendon) The Kalbfus Club will open to the public at 5:00 p.m., with a Spaghetti Supper. The Mushers in attendance (sled dog owners entered to race) can “Eat free and lodge free” at the Kalbfus Club as in years past.

Dogs of all breeds can be taught to pull a human on cross-country skis with the proper harness, line, and belt.  It can be an invigorating and rewarding activity for both the human and the canine.  Come to the Winterfest dog races to see the Ski-joring competition on January 19th and 20th at Chapman State Park.

The Lobdell Canine Weight Pull will be held in Parking Lot #4, at the south end of the Beach. (Eastern side of the lake.)

Bring the entire family and enjoy winter along the West Branch of the Tionesta Creek at the Park.

The start-finish line for the 2019 Lobdell Races is at the Campground Parking Lot in the southeast corner of the park.

To see what sled dog racing looks like, visit our “sled cam” video on YouTube, posted below. This video is courtesy Lobdell racer (and 2013 race donor) Daniel Rehak of Pittsburgh, and was shot during the 2011 races on State Game Lands #29. You can see “head-on passing” as race teams going in opposite directions pass each other on the race course.

Lobdell “sled cam” by racer /donor Dan Rehak

Below is another video, this one posted by Streeper Kennels. While this is not footage of the Lobdell Races, it does show an 18-dog team going over 20 miles per hour:

2007 Sled Cam video from Streeper Kennel.


Sled Dog Racing and Jim Lobdell

Our Event

Lobdell Race Downloads

Race Course Map - 340 KB JPEG

All contestants must fill out a waiver form and the appropriate registration form.


“Meet the Musher”

host  Kalbfus Rod & Gon Club

location  2178 Chapman Dam Road

                    Clarendon, PA 16313

date  Friday, Jan. 18, 2019

time held Clubhouse opens at 5:00 p.m.

DINNER SERVED  5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Some photos on this site are courtesy MRM Photography

Canine Weight Pull at Chapman State Park


No current updates.

Race is in the planning stage.

Please check back later.