Official Iron Dog News Release
16 August 2018
It is with much respect and thanks to years of service, that the Iron Dog Snowmobile Race has accepted the resignation of Jim Wilke and Skip Boomershine. Their dedication and hard work on the Iron Dog Board of Directors and as volunteers for countless years have been welcome and appreciated.
During my short time on the board of directors, I have heard Skip mention more than once that the Iron Dog was comprised of four main groups of people, and that a loss in any of those areas would shake the foundations of this great race. Those pil- lars are represented by the racers, fans, volunteers, and sponsors. Racers: who endure what is unarguably one of the most intense and dangerous events worldwide. Fans: who brave ice, wind, cold, and darkness to show their favorite teams how much they love them. The volunteers: who literally give up time and treasure to support this test of mechanical and human endurance. The sponsors: whose pocketbooks and generosity pay for this race and the prizes earned by teams. We have lost a significant piece of one of these pillars.
By no fault of the Iron Dog, its racers, nor the sponsor themselves, the race lost its title sponsor two years ago. The amount of investment from that sponsorship was a key component to keep the race running at the world class level that it has grown to over the years. After losing said sponsor, and the innovative and energetic personality of Kevin Kastner, the Iron Dog has un- successfully struggled to fill both of these losses this year. Due to those losses and the inability to mitigate them, the organiza- tion is running on empty. The coffers are dry to the point where we can neither pursue new leadership through pay, nor main- tain basic staffing levels. On Tuesday August 21, the remaining board members will vote on whether a 2019 Iron Dog Snow- mobile Race will take place, but not without needed and valued input from the four pillars of Iron Dog’s success.
We want to hear from you. We want to hear from the racers, the fans, the volunteers, and the sponsors. We want to know your ideas on keeping the Iron Dog alive. Perhaps, most importantly, we want the race to not only take place, but for this to be a turning point in the Iron Dog. A point where the race can enter into the twenty-first century with a new level of engage- ment and participation. We want this race, which crosses three generations of competitors and fans, to continue for genera- tions into the foreseeable future. In our hubris, we had forgotten to ask for help from the hundreds of professionals and hard- working people connected to the Iron Dog. That time is over.
Please, take the time to click here or visit our Facebook page for the survey and tell us what the race means to you. Tell us your ideas for saving it, and tell us how you are willing to make those ideas a reality. We have only one goal. That is to race in 2019. Beyond that we want to reintroduce a stronger, better, and more inclusive race in 2020 through participation and transparency that puts everyone involved into a position to be heard, and to help guide this most amazing event.
On a personal note, I came to the Iron Dog through a different route. I came to this event through the education system. I have to say that this event is so much more than a race. I have seen young people, who may have been lost from their path, find it through following the broken trail of these determined riders. In my small corner of this event, I have seen this race change lives for the better. I am personally not ready to let that go away. Please help us all continue.
This process will not be short and it will not be easy, but nothing about this race has ever been so. Thank you for your time, your ideas, and your willingness to move forward.
Lee Butterfield Board of Directors
About Iron Dog, Inc. | 7100 Old Seward Hwy, Ste C, Anchorage, Alaska 99518 USA
Iron Dog, Inc. is a proud leader in the snowmobile community promoting snowmobile safety and outdoor education through trade shows, seminars and community events. Iron Dog also conducts student exchange programs and through its annual raffle has donated nearly $200,000 to Alaska charities since 2011.
The Iron Dog race, is a World Class Snowmobile Event that crosses the State of Alaska each February impacting over twenty-five Alaskan communities. Today’s Iron Dog course is over 2,000 miles, from Anchorage to Nome and finishing in Fairbanks, making it the World’s longest snowmobile race. Participants must traverse areas of Alaska’s most remote and rugged terrain while confronting some of the harshest winter conditions. Survival skills are essential, making it the World’s toughest snowmobile race.