41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41When I woke up last Saturday morning my heart ached…..I chose to remain silent, knowing that without all the facts – words might make me an enemy. I have talked to myself, I have talked to Dennis, gathering my thoughts for my own comfort. Recognizing, what I say may possibly provide guidance –for the good of our Iron Dog, for the good of an Alaskan event, for the good of men I have called my friends, my boys, my family.
I used the phrase Shoulder to Shoulder to introduce Jim Palin as one of the 2017 Iron Dog Hall of Fame Inductees just two weeks ago. He reinforced, he rebuilt and reshaped our race – to right the course. Unfortunately, I think we need to do that again. I know that if we stand together…..we can learn from mistakes, we learn how to forgive, we learn acceptance, we know we can’t do it alone, but if we do it together shoulder to shoulder we’ll be far more successful…. much like an Iron Dog partnership we have to depend on each other, to gain confidence that the process will enable us to do the right thing. I am thankful that time is our ally….much like what Jim Palin did for all of us 21 years ago, it took him more than to year to harness and contain the explosiveness of racer’s frustration and sponsor disappointment to avoid certain demise to the Iron Dog we all love.
I listened to words spoken on Saturday night at the 2017 Award’s Banquet and I tracked silently the words written and posted on facebook from early Saturday morning — I am certain they will continue for many weeks to come. Those words that captivated so many of us were angry words, hurtful words, sorrowful words, some of them helped me shape my thoughts today.
I know,,,,,,Iron Dog isn’t the first to have rules issues, there are many Professional Sports that do….we the fans, the racers, the volunteers, the sponsors…. just need to figure out how we are going to deal with them and help ensure those issues don’t cause the death of our Iron Dog Family. I am comforted again by lesson’s learned from Jim Palin….with careful administration, working shoulder to shoulder, we can mend the fabric of Iron Dog, we can recover, we can thrive….we did it through hard work, open communication and a vision to grow, prosper and enjoy the friendly but fierce competition. We need to stand together again, to survive this storm which amazingly doesn’t have anything to do with weather.
I encourage all of you to engage in healthy debate, work side by side, shoulder to shoulder, contribute in any way you can to ensure that 35 years from now, we have a third generation of Elite Athletes throttling the World’s Longest Snowmobile race. Over the past 35+ years this one week in February has given us a reason to work hard, to accomplish great things, to feel a part of an incredible group a people from many towns and villages right here in Alaska to garages as far east as Maine, to a place called Camrose — our reach is far, it is mightier than the Yukon River and I trust with your active participation we will see incredible results …..
So many of you fans, family, sponsors and racers have shared your opinions, your beliefs and that speaks volumes to me, begin the dialogue, act the sportsman that we all agree to as vested parties of Iron Dog…..the bottom line is we must “TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER TO THE FINISH LINE”.
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To see the rest of Harriett’s Photos from Shoulder to Shoulder check out her album Shoulder to Shoulder!