Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fun at Lance's Open House

Lance invited some folks over to his place the day after the fundraiser held for him in Fairbanks. Bill Borden was auctioneer. I understand the kennel menu was 'taters, caribou roast & eggs, following the Saturday night auction / feast / party. Here's Lance scrutinizing the team before a training run.

They're off!

Here's Ed Sundeen, who supplied these pix, getting some lovin' from Lippy.

Brenda Borden loving being loved on.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Book Sled"

Thought you might get a kick outta my mini-display sled. It's about the right size for the Sheltie to pull if she wanted, but, trust me, Foxy has no interest in becoming a tough sled dog. In any case, a perfect size for any book signings or craft/gift bazaars I might take a notion to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rainy Day Book Update

Mother Nature must have decided it was time for me to catch up on my email and blog, cos we have definitely hit Alaska's monsoon season. As a result, I'm sitting here watching my lawn turn yellow with a covering of birch leaves. We've already spied some Termination Dust on Pioneer Peak, so winter can't be far away.

As for the book, it continues to do well. I won't say that I didn't think it'd sell, I did, but even I am astonished at the wonderful response I've gotten. Even more so, I guess, cos I really haven't kicked myself into gear to do much promotion other than via this blog and my email lists. It's a good thing I write well, cos I'm a rotten salesman. But, in any case.....

As of right now, with very little effort on my part, the book is in two bookstores. Alaskana Books in Palmer got it first, she's always a wonderful help when I'm in search of info, and Annabelle's Books here in Wasilla. They even asked if I'd do a booksigning, so somewhere around race time, how cool is this, I'll be there signing books. I've even heard from a couple Lower 48 bookstore sounding places, so the word is definitely out. And, to think, I only bought 25 mailing envelopes to begin with, but am already considering doing another order at the end of this month.

In a weird way, tho', it still doesn't seem real to me. It's as if I'm playing the role of an author in a play and following some script, not as if it's really me. Okay, yeah, I'm weird, but there's just such an air of unreality to being on the same page as authors like Gary Paulsen and even, hee-hee, briefly outselling him. Oh, yeah, Gary's going to hear about this one, that's for sure! Of course, even weirder than being a "real author" now, is the realization that someone like Gary Paulsen is a friend, not just a name on a book. How cool is that? The guy I blame for inspiring my interest in all things Alaska is a friend.

On the "what's next?" front, I'm toying with two ideas. One will be sorta a kids' guide to the race, maybe in two versions, elem. and higher level, and the other will be a more detailed look at the people that make the race happen. Iditarod Classics looked at the mushers, but in addition to that, I want to include in the handlers, volunteers, fans, and even the media that write, photograph and illustrate the race. I think I have my work cut out for me, but it'll be a fun ride.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Letter From David Monson

Dear Friends,

It is hard for me to believe that it has been a year since Susan died. This August would have been our 22nd wedding anniversary. I cannot help but reflect on all the memories she left me with along with our two beautiful girls Tekla and Chisana. I was truly blessed to have shared a life with her. Even though Susan is gone, the awful disease that took her from all of us is still inciting its pain on others.

Last year when Susan was sick, I ran a marathon in honor of her on-going fight to survive. She was very supportive of my effort to raise money to help find a cure the disease she was valiantly fighting. I ran as part of the Team in Training program to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society(LLS). The LLS raises precious research money used to find a cure for all blood cancers as well as providing support to families who are affected and displaced by the illness of a loved family member.

This year I am running again. This year, I must run in Susan's memory and the memory of all the brave people we met in the hospital who lost their fight. I am running to raise awareness so that a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma can be found. I ask you to join me again by supporting the work of the LLS by making a donation through my race to help others.

Should you like to support my efforts, please make a donation on line at: or by sending me a check made out to the LLS at: P.O. Box 60249, Fairbanks, AK 99706.

Thank you from all who will benefit by your generous gift.
With love and appreciation for your support of my family and this important cause.

David Monson, Fairbanks, Alaska

Monday, September 03, 2007

Book Signing Tour of My Kitchen Table

Everything was neat and tidy and semi-organized when I started.

Those are the envelopes for some of the books in a bag that's sitting in the chair for the photo. There's a note on the piece of paper reminding me that Helen gets five copies and a card with Marlene's order under the front and center book.

Spreading out a bit...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Order "Backstage Iditarod"

BACKSTAGE IDITAROD is for the fan who wants more than to just watch a team take off from the start line. A collection of stories both new and old, it's a guide for those who yearn to know what it's really like on 4th Avenue; what they would see, hear and touch. It's for those who want to volunteer at Race Headquarters or maybe bid to be an Idita-Rider. It's for the dreamers who wonder what goes on at the musher banquets, both in Anchorage and in Nome. It's for arm chair mushers who simply want to immerse themselves in everything Iditarod.

Iditarod literature tends to fall into three categories: “Joe Musher’s Story” books, “A Collection of Musher Stories,” and the exquisite photo books that the likes of Jeff Schultz, the Iditarod’s Official Photographer, create.

“All (Iditarod books) are interesting, but none focus on an overall view of the activities that go on before, during and after the race to make it happen. None break down the cost of running this race for you. None take you to Iditarod HQ to watch organized chaos as race preparations evolve. None follow the logistics involved in preparing checkpoint drop bags. None agonize over vet checks and deciding a final team. And none put you in the middle of the action at the start line in Anchorage and the restart, wherever it may be.”
---Donna Quante, producer of video “Pretty Sled Dogs”

“You're in for a real treat with this book! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and by the time I was finished proofing the pages I had a lump in my throat and was practically wishing for snow on the ground! I'll be going into the '08 race with a whole new understanding of how things work, because June's book truly is the equivalent of a backstage pass to the whole awesome show!”

---Helen Hegener, author/publisher/editor and present
at some of the initial organizational meetings for the
Iditarod when it was still known as “Joe’s race”.

TO ORDER: Email me at for information.
Cost: $16.95, plus $5 shipping/handling
Paypal available via this email address.
Books should be available for mailing by Labor Day. Please let me know if you'd like them autographed and, if so, with anything in particular.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Backstage Iditarod," the book

It's taken me far longer than planned, but Backstage Iditarod, the book, is finally near completion. I actually started this blog way back when thinking it'd be the accompanying blog, so that tells you how long its taken me. It's been a long, winding road, but more on that story later. For now, here's the cover. $16.95 plus $5 shipping/handling.
Please use the comment link for now, but I expect to have the website for the book up and running in the next few days.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Iditarod's Summer Volunteer and Sign-Up Picnic

Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin was on hand for the volunteer and musher sign-up picnic for Iditarod 2008. She's shown here with 2007 Champion Lance Mackey who, of course, bungled her name moments after finishing in Nome, but seems to be traveling in the same circles nowadays.

For more photos and quick glimpses of the picnic, visit:

Friday, June 01, 2007

Lance Watches Valley Premiere of "As Tough As They Come"

Both Martin Buser and Lance Mackey were on hand at the Valley Performing Center tonight for the premiere showing of the Iditarod's "As Tough As They Come."

"The $10 ticket price will help furnish the Animal Adoption Center, what will become the heart of the newly restored shelter, where residents will get to know a potential life-long pet in attractive surroundings."

"The animal shelter project is in the Borough's proposed 2008 budget. The budget is expected to be adopted Wed. night. A certificate of participation, similar to a revenue bond, will pay for the construction. If approved, user fees will pay for a third of the project, and the non-areawide mill levy will fund the other two thirds. Residents of an average home would pay $15.60 the first year only, and progressively less each year. Mat-Su Mayor Curt Menard is a strong supporter of the project. "

Lance models the #1 bib that was auctioned off during an intermission in the video. Cheryl Metiva, from the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce, watches as Lance adds "three" to the equation, symbolizing his own #13 bib that he wore in the race.

Tonya and Lance Mackey relax a few moments before the airing of the video. Lance hadn't seen it, either, so he watched it for the first time with those of us in the audience.
Martin Buser was also there, lending his support to the need for the shelter and joking that tho' not one of his sled dogs have wound up in the local shelter, one of their pet dogs did. Bad, Spot, bad.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lance Mackey at Wasilla Chamber of Commerce

Lance Mackey, the back-to-back champion of both the 2007 Yukon Quest and Iditarod, spoke to the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce this Tuesday. These photos were supplied by Ed Sundeen.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Lance Mackey Wins Iditarod 2007

Congratulations to Lance Mackey, shown here at the Ceremonial Start, for winning Iditarod 2007. He contined the Mackey family tradition, winning on his sixth try, wearing bib #13, just as his father and step-brother had.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Visit From Musher Perry Solmonson

Perry dropped by today with his local hostess, Donna Quante, and I snagged a few photos. He's taking the ol' toboggan sled that was sitting in my garage and will be refurbishing it.
Turns out it's probably a Tim White sled, circa the 80's, so cool to see it "rehomed" with Perry, who'll have a blast refinishing it and getting it back to its original purpose.
He had the dogs with him, too, since he was itching to get out on the trails again. I was glad to see him, give him a hug, and see that he was his usual upbeat self after having to scratch. While he's obviously bummed to not still be out on the Iditarod Trail, he knows he did the right thing for his dogs, which is the important thing for me. I admire Perry, in fact, for being able to put his ego and wants aside for the benefit of some dogs that just weren't liking what they were doing. This is what being an Iditarod musher is really about, doing the right thing for the dogs.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Media Meeting for Iditarod 2007

Today was vet check day and media meeting day for the Iditarod. While we were still at Iditarod Headquarters for the vet check, Dick Mackey wandered inside while we were there. He's shown here flanked by Mary Dillingham, left, and Helen Hegener. Helen was one of those who were involved in the early organization of the Iditarod, so it was a bit of 'ol home week for them.

Pre-Iditarod Fun!

So, do you think Betty's having fun? That's Perry tucking her into the sled for a spin behind his Iditarod team.

And, they're off!

Perry demo's the "I'm king of the world" (or at least Willow's lake) or "Look, Mom, no hands" mushing technique. That's Doris in the basket this time, I think.

Photos by Donna Quante

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lois Harter Suffers House Fire

Lois Harter, right, is shown with Iditarod Race Director Joanne Potts, left, and the race's head vet, Dr. Stu Nelson. Joanne, a long time friend, took her shopping the next day and Stu, who'd just walked into Headquarters after arriving in Alaska for his race duties and catching some sleep, vows to do whatever he can to help out in recovery, a sentiment shared by the entire "Iditarod Family."

Read Jon Little's story at

More photos available at

Friday, January 26, 2007

DeeDee Jonrowe defends title in Don Bowers Memorial Race

Running a team sporting hot pink harnesses, Willow musher DeeDee Jonrowe headed out on the trails not far from her Willow home to defend her title in the 2007 Don Bowers Memorial 200. As I type, she's doing her lay-over at Joe May's cabin at the mid-point of the race. Melissa Owens is second.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lance Mackey Wins the First-Ever Cantwell Classic

Lance Mackey, right, won the inaugural run of the Cantwell Classic. Mitch Seavey, left, was third. Hugh Neff took third.

In the Jr. race, Megan Hedgecoke edged Ellen King by one second to win. Charlie Allison was third.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jeff King Wins the 2007 Knik 200

Jeff King, shown here leaving the starting line, won the 2007 Knik 200, barely nudging out Jon Little. For more details, see