Saturday, June 26, 2010

Iditarod Volunteer Picnic and Musher Sign-up for 2011

As you can see from my first look down the parking lot, things were a looking kinda gray early on but the rain held off.

I don't know which Seavey was driving this, but will guess maybe Dallas and Jen. Posted with a nod and thanks to Rod Udd for his support of the race and mushing in general.

A picture of Barb Redington taking a picture.

Sign-up table. Julie Busch, right, is media contact for us media types during the race but does whatever she's asked to put her hand to.

A new piece of paper greeted mushers at the table, a request that they submit recipes for an Iditarod recipe book.

Melissa Owens

Deby Trosper, right, helps set up the wine bottles for sale. One bottle per customer, btw, and no drinking it on the premises.

Mushers from last year are all pictured on bottles for purchase by fans.

Okay, okay, not a musher, but the flower bed was looking good.

I got there sorta early, so was able to watch banners being hung and tables and chairs being set out.

Rob Johnson, a virtual friend until today when we finally "officially" met. I know I've met scads of folks in passing but it doesn't always take, so always nice to have an "official" meeting.

Hey, why isn't' my book on the same shelf as Lance's? Yeah, I know. Dumb question.

It was a little short on star-power early on, but Dick Mackey's appearance remedied that fast.

Theresa Daily multi-tasking, showing off her duct tape/blue tarp name tag while playing desk for Dick to sign an autograph for a fan.

Lance was "The Man in Black" for the day.

Tonya, in pink, paying Newton's entry fee.

Lance doing his best imitation of Newton, complete with "Yo, mon", as he turns in Newton's paperwork.

Grandma Tonya

One of the new things the ITC did this year was set up tables for the mushers to sit at and sign autographs, a good idea in my book. Here's Lance before the rush.

GB Jones is back

Karin Hendrickson

Karin's leg was sporting an unwanted attachment.
Bonnie Foster has hosted Sebastian at her home for the last few years during Iditarod days as well as the occasional jaunt that takes him through the area.

KTUU does a film interview with Sebastian while Chas looks on.

Theresa's duct tape/blue tarp name tag was not only original, it sported Dude Dog!

Dallas and Jen Seavey having lunch. What made Jen's presence all the more impressive is that today was her due date for their first baby! No, no labor pains while the picnic was going on, so they're still waiting.

Not sure what Chas was watching, but moment of inactivity at the sign-up table.

Chief Vet Stu Nelson

Volunteer Picnic Coordinator Candy Gibson, Mitch Seavey, Kelly Williams, and Rick Swenson.

Hugh Neff, who drove 13 hours to make the picnic.
Grandpa Lance

Bonnie Foster with Iditarod 2011 rookie Jodi Bailey, who I also met for the first time in person today! Yipee, made lots of in-person connections today!

Candy with only a portion of the goodies donated, in this case by John Cooper's Kipmik, for prizes.

Not quite sure when DeeDee got there, but only snagged this one shot of her with Theresa and Chas.

By that time, a few of us were beginning to drag. Hey, Mystery Sleeper, I didn't give away your ID, tho' your wife might. Ha And, inspired by this, I went home and wound up taking a long nap to end a fun but busy day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mushing the Iditarod Trail board game rules

(Click for a larger version) Unless you need the rules, too, most of you can just ignore this post. Now that I've got the game out, tho', I may inflict it on anyone unwise enough to venture over to my house on Saturday after the Iditarod sign-up picnic. Ha

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Seavey's Wild Ride Show, Anchorage

Since Rosemary Dunn wasn't able to come out and have her birthday lunch the day the rest of us met for mine, Pat Schue and I went into the big city to meet her and check out the dinner and show at Seavey's Wild Ride in Anchorage.
After a delicious dinner, we started by cuddling puppies.
Pat's puppy was a kisser.
Eric Rogers is part of the show and one of his pre-show jobs is to wrangle puppies. Gee, what a tough job, Eric!

I eventually wound up with this puppy, but it was pretty entertaning upfront, too, playing with buddies and a chew rope of sorts.

Meet Buddy, a HUGE Malamute who is a star of the show.

Dallas Seavey does the intro for the show and introduces Eric, who'll be its MC.

Here comes Eric!

Dressed for the part.

Buddy makes his entrance.

Buddy quickly shows off his mushing skills, on the runners, not in front of the sled.

The running gag of the show is a competition between a female and male musher, hence this sign.

Here's the woman musher representative, Kay Burge, a Jr. Iditarod musher who has been mushing since she was five. She's now sixteen.

And for the men, Dallas Seavey.

Look carefully and you'll see the dogs are passing each other as the race in opposite directions. One of the things that impressed me was that they were really flying around the course, too, not just trotting or loping. And, yes, some of these dogs are off Dallas' Iditarod team, plus some future members he has there socializing and getting used to the idea that just about anything can happen while in harness and to take it in stride.

The sleds pass each other.

As you can see, Dallas was working it, not just going through the motions. That impressed me.

They were even running and kicking.
I was impressed, too, that tho' the show was educational -- remember, many of the show guests are tourists and this may be their first exposure to the concept of mushing -- it was humorous, too. Hey, Mitch, you not only raised a darn good musher and one time wannabe-wrestler, you raised a comedian in Dallas! Kay and Dallas sharing a humorous moment here.

Here they've incorporated booties (and eventually a dog coat) into the competition.
And, of course we know who the real stars of the show were.

Look at the intensity in not just Kay's eyes, but the right dog's eyes. Yes, they were running, not trotting.

See Dallas kick. Kick, Dallas, kick.

A quick demo of just how much weight one sled dog can easily move alone. I cut her off, but that's Kay on the left putting the dog through its paces. As many times as I've seen these dogs in action, you'd think their power would be ho-hum to me by now, but it never fails to impress me.

"Bubba" and Daisy, who turned out to be "a Duke".

Daisy-Duke patiently waits while Eric fixes the various pieces of mushing regalia that "Bubba" has mistakenly placed on wrong parts of the dog. In the process, you see various parts of the dogs' gear and Eric is describing what it is used for.
Hugo, who starred in "Snow Buddies" is part of the show and used to demo how obedience training is done and incorporated into dog handling.

I think Eric said the command for this stunt was "pawing". The dog puts its paws atop something and walks along the item.
Barrels were set up in a course and using "gee" and "haw", the mushers worked their teams through them using nothing but the verbal commands.

Since many of the guests have never seen a 16-dog team, one of the things they do is hook one up in front of their eyes and then ask the dog to pull the dog truck out of the arena. It's amazing how quickly they get that truck (it's the one Mitch won in '04, btw) with a dog box on it moving and here you see Dallas making a running leap into the cab so he can apply the brake once they're out the gate.

Buddy is back. His calmness is amazing. It's obvious he's happy with the concept of not only having his own team of Alaskan Huskies, but seems to think it's the way it should be.
They exit at a full bore run, btw, and caught a glimpse of Dallas helping snag them as they hit the staging area.

Speaking of the staging area, we hit it again after the show for some more puppy cuddling. Man, if only I could fall asleep this easily in any number of odd positions.

Buddy, resting up from his sled ride.

This picture in no way conveys what a big guy Buddy really is. He's impressive, even for a Mal. I swear, if I fold down the tips of my fingers, his paws are about the size of my hands!

Oh, yeah, the woman's team (Kay) won. Eric gave Pat the bootie after Kay took the first race heat, then everyone gets the appropriate sticker, pink or blue, at the end of the show, depending on which team wins. Bottom line, a fun show and I highly recommend it.