For the 2011 season we have a total of thirteen all rookie teams running in our Pro Class race and quite a few more rookies that are riding with veteran partners. Safety is our number one concern for all our racers and providing an all day workshop is great first step in getting our rookies prepared for the race.
On December 4, 2010 we had about forty-five people join us at the Spenard Builders Supply (SBS) warehouse in Anchorage for our annual Woody’s Rookie Workshop. Each year SBS generously opens up their warehouse to the Iron Dog rookies as place to come and spend the day learning about what it takes to be an Iron Dogger. Woody’s studs, runners and accessories continued its support for the Iron Dog rookies by sponsoring this event as well as providing several great “rookie only” contingency prizes.
Skip Boomershine, one of our newest Board Directors, kicked off the workshop with an overview of the Pro Class race rules and introduced the Executive Director, Kevin Kastner. Kevin spoke briefly about the new events, updates and thanked all the sponsors for their part in making the workshop a reality.
Following the rules and announcements, Richard Fleming who was an official rider for the National Guard in 2010, gave his much anticipated slide show presentation. Bill Mielke also shared his slide show and experiences as a Trail Class rider.
After the lunch break, several veteran and champion racers came up to share their recommendations, tips and suggestions. 2010 Champion Chris Olds along with Team 21 racers Matt Spernak and David Branholm generously volunteered their time to go over safety, equipment, planning and nearly every imaginable aspect of what a rookie should know about riding in the Iron Dog. It’s this kind of sportsmanship and camaraderie that makes the Iron Dog such a great race. Thank you Chris, Matt and David for sharing your experience with everyone!
To give a unique perspective for the new rookies, Team 15 (Louis & Louis) also gave their account of what it feels like to be a rookie. Last year was their first ride on the Pro Class, which taught them a number of valuable lessons. The number one message that stuck with most new rookies is that whatever your expectations are about the Iron Dog…you’ve probably underestimated how tough it really is.
Given all the challenges physically, mentally, mechanically and environmentally…one should expect that the Iron Dog lives up to its motto of being the Longest and the Toughest. Its been said that nobody has ever finished the Iron Dog and said “that was easier than I thought it would be”.
Thanks for your Support!
A special thanks to all the volunteers, staff and racers for making the event a success. We really appreciate the support of all our sponsors, but especially want to thank the following:
- Spenard Builders Supply – for the location and lunch (great hamburgers, thanks!)
- Woody’s studs, runners and accessories – for the prizes and support of our rookies
- Odom Corporation Alaska – for providing the NOS energy drinks, water and soda
- Leaddog Helmet Lights – for providing transportation support and great safety gear for Iron Dog racers!