Sled Dog Races

Jan. 20-22, 2017


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. Lisa 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 2020, beginning the morning of Friday, January 17 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.

At Chapman State Park, a variety of open downhill sledding events will take place, as well as cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snow shoeing, and several food vendors. Bring the entire family and enjoy winter along the West Branch of the Tionesta Creek at the Park.

For more details on the sled dog races and canine weight pull, including scheduled dates and times, check out the races’ promotional flyer and registration/information forms on this web-page. The access road at the Campground Parking Lot will serve as the start/finish line staging area for the races.

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.

2007 Sled Cam video from Streeper Kennels


Sled Dog Racing and Jim Lobdell

Our Event

Lobdell Race Downloads

Race Promo Flyer - 881 KB PDF

Race Course Map - 340 KB JPEG

Registration & Waiver Forms:

Mid Distance Form - 162 KB PDF

Unlimited Form - 196 KB PDF

Weight Pull Form - 113 KB PDF

All contestants must fill out a waiver form and the appropriate registration form.  Registration deadline Saturday, 14 Dec. 2019.

No late entries accepted!


Some photos on this site are courtesy MRM Photography

Canine Weight Pull at Chapman State Park


Two races will be held for 2020: 

1: Mid-Distance Race on Friday-only, the 17th
2: Unlimited/”Open” Race on Saturday-only, the 18th.

Keep in touch on Winterfest’s Facebook page.