The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon announced Sunday that the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior is the major sponsor for the 2017 race in January.

The band has contributed $20,000 "and appears really committed to the long-term survival of the race," said Jason Rice, Beargrease spokesman.

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Castle Danger Brewery and Minnesota Power also have committed as sponsors, Rice said, adding that the 2017 race will begin Jan. 29 in Two Harbors, likely at a more "user and parking friendly location" than the 2016 race which started outside of Two Harbors.

Mushers could begin signing up for the race Sunday. Rice said race organizers expect more elite mushers from outside the region to enter the 2017 race.

First held in 1980, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is the longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states.

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