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Tesoro Sponsors Arctic Man Race

ANCHORAGE -- Tesoro paid $25,000 to become the title sponsor The Arctic Man Ski and Sno-Go Classic, said race director Howard Thies in a report by The Associated Press. The sponsorship will allow the race to guarantee a purse of at least $65,000, with the winning team in the men's ski division getting $25,000, the report stated. Thies collected $71,000 for the purse and hopes more entries will push it over $100,000, the report stated.

Additionally, the name of the event will be changed to the Tesoro Arctic Man Classic. There are already more than 50 entries for the April 7-11 race, compared with 29 last year, when skier Eric Heil, part of the winning team with snowmobiler Len Story, took home roughly $7,000.

Last year Tesoro declined to renew its title sponsorship deal with the Iron Dog, the premier 2,000-mile snowmachine race from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks, and Kip Knutson, external affairs manager at Tesoro Alaska, told the AP the cost of the Iron Dog title sponsorship for 2010 is $500,000.

"Arctic Man approached us, and it was for a lot less," Knutson said. "It's a very similar demographic and, quite frankly, probably a greater concentration of people."

The Arctic Man's signature races feature snowmobiles pulling skiers or snowboarders starting atop a 5,800-foot summit and going 1,700 feet almost straight down before grabbing the towrope of a snowmobile to pulls them up a gully before they are sling-shotted off the top and down another hill for a 1,200-foot drop to the finish line, the report stated.

The event, now in its 25th year, draws up to 12,000 people to watch races and party at night.

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