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Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters, Palin and Alaskan Tourism

Knik Goose Bay Road starts out perpendicular to the Parks Highway, but swings right until it is 45 degrees to this principal artery.  This road takes you past the Iditarod Headquarters into Lake Lucille Park, which is owned and operated by the City of Wasilla. Walking out to the water’s edge, you see what for many in the Palinista Community is True North and a good place to begin the Sarah Palin History Tour.

The Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters

Video: Iditarod Race Trail HQ – August 28, 2013

File:Iditarod Ceremonial start in Anchorage, Alaska.jpg

Todd Palin is an Iditarod champion snowmobile racer, having won the Tesoro Iron Dog, the world’s longest snowmachine race, four times. He and his race partner Eric Quam entered the 2,000-mile race, starting in Big Lake with a halfway stop in Nome and finishing in Fairbanks, with a new snowmachine in 2012.

The Palins also run a mix of lead and team dogs for the Iditarod, touted as the Last Great Race on Earth.

Did you know that Gov. Palin Generates $189 Million Yearly in Alaskan Tourism wholly related to her? She motivates 44% of tourist travel to the state and her favorable number is 21 points higher among Alaska tourists than the general public.

Sarah Palin History Tour

A special series that provides a photographic journey into the life and times of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, specifically the buildings and spaces that were and remain an integral part of her life.

Sarah Palin History Tour: Rise to the Governor’s Office

Featuring: Captain Cook Hotel, Atwood Building, Alaska History Walk, Alaska State Fair, Gubernatorial Campaign Ads, Gubernatorial Era videos and State Fair Aerial Video

Sarah Palin History Tour: Forging a Leader

Featuring: Wasilla City Hall, Hall of Awards, Mayor’s Vehicle, Library, Menard Center, Leadership Slide Show narrated by Kevin Scholla.

Sarah Palin History Tour: Charting Her Course

Featuring: True North to Sarah Palin’s Birthplace, Mocha Moose, Wasilla High School where Sarah (Heath) Palin, known as the Barracuda, was the captain of the champion Wasilla Warriors women’s basketball team, Pioneer and Veterans Home, former Palmer Courthouses, former and current residences, Mat-Su Regional Birthing center, Veterans Wall of Honor.

NRA 2010 Sybil Ludington Award Nomination

US for Palin publisher Ron Devito was one of three nominators nationwide for Governor Palin to be conferred the NRA’s Sybil Ludington Women’s Freedom Award.

2010 Sybil Ludington Award Nomination Packet


Todd Palin Dedicates His 2015 Iron Dog Run to Chris Kyle

Todd Palin Excited to Bring Iditarod to TV

January 6, 2014 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Events | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pet Detectives Capture Iditarod Dog on the Lam in East King Co. for 6 Weeks

Enchiladas, roast beef aid in capture of runaway sled dog

By KYLE HOPKINS – Anchorage Daily News

Published: February 14th, 2012 08:37 AM  -  Last Modified: February 14th, 2012 08:38 AM


Iditarod rookie Silvia Furtwangler walked the Chester Creek Trail greenbelt Saturday, waving her iPhone in the air. The tinny speakers blared a recording of the German musher’s dog team howling and barking.

Still, Whistler didn’t come. The runaway sled dog, one of Furtwangler’s young leaders, had escaped her dog truck early Thursday morning in Anchorage. Spotted in the following days, trotting among the snowy trees bordering downtown, he had shown little interest in climbing back into a kennel.

Maybe it was the sled dog’s marathon car ride from Norway to Frankfurt, followed by the marathon flight from Frankfurt to Seattle to Anchorage, mused Furtwangler, whose English is still a work in progress.

"It’s a long, long way. And definitely, I’m sure he was a little bit (upset) to go again in the dog boxes," she said.

Whistler didn’t come when Gwen Truax of Anchorage, a Facebook friend of the musher, shouted into the woods with her best German accent. "Kommen sie, Whistler! Kommen sie!"

He didn’t come when other volunteers tried to bait him with moose steaks and bacon south of Fairview, where Whistler was spotted over the weekend. Furtwangler began to wonder if she’d have to race with 15 dogs. "Some people say, ‘It’s just a dog,’ " she said. "But it’s my babies, you know."

A 2003 Yukon Quest competitor who finished that 1,000-mile race with a team of shelter dogs, Furtwangler, a German, lives in Norway. She didn’t learn of Whistler’s disappearance until the end of the long drive to Willow, where she is training for the race.

Whistler must have pushed through a screen on the dog box of a borrowed truck, she said.


Furtwangler drove back to Anchorage while another of her Alaska Facebook friends, Tracey Mendenhall of Delta Junction, created a Facebook page dedicated to finding the distinctive, spotted dog. Within 24 hours, it bubbled with news of tips and sightings.

Kevin Degler, who lives in the area where Whistler was eventually captured, first saw the dog wandering near the Ship Creek boat ramp. "He was on a mission. He was looking south, he was wanting to get across those railroad trucks." A day later, Degler spotted Whistler near his Orca Place home. "That’s the dog from Facebook," his girlfriend said.

"I got within 30 feet of him with some bacon," Degler said. "He wanted that bacon, but he didn’t trust me."

For two days, Furtwangler searched the greenbelt, hoping the iPhone serenade of Whistler’s litter-mates and teammates’ barking would convince the dog to stay put.

"I think that was the only chance … so that he hear, ‘OK, the pack is here,’ " she said.

On Monday, the musher’s luck changed. Danny Parish, director of supported employment for the Arc of Anchorage, had seen Whistler in the non-profit’s parking lot west of Bragaw. The dog looked cold and hungry, he thought. Probably a stray.

About 6:45 a.m., he offered Whistler his lunch. Leftover chicken enchiladas. Whistler ate, but kept his distance, Parish said.


Meantime, Charlene Oliver, who manages an espresso stand at the agency, had heard about the runaway sled dog on the news. Small, sly-eyed and mottled, Whistler is unmistakable.

"When I saw his eyes, I knew instantly that’s what it was (Whistler)," Oliver said.

She gave the dog a bit of brownie, then lured him into the garage with a co-worker’s roast beef. By the time Furtwangler arrived, Whistler was waiting in the back of Oliver’s Suburban.

Furtwangler studied the dog’s legs and patted his shoulder as Whistler’s eyes darted from person to person in the expanding crowd. He looked scared, the musher said. Whistler is a country dog.

"We live really outside, in the wilderness. We have no roads, nothing, and then we traveled all the way from Norway to here," she said. "I think it was a little bit, kind of (a) shock for the dogs."

Iditarod dogs bolt from their mushers seemingly every year — often during the race, but sometimes before, when teams arrive in Anchorage and skittish huskies, unfamiliar with the city, disappear into neighborhoods. Lance Mackey temporarily lost a leader named Girlfriend in Spenard in 2010, the year of his fourth-straight Iditarod championship.

Furtwangler likely has more modest plans. She placed 16th out of 18 mushers in her sole Yukon Quest. This is her first attempt at the Iditarod, though some of her dogs come from familiar stock.

Named for the ski town in British Columbia, Whistler is the son of an Anchorage shelter dog named Sharkey. Furtwangler acquired Sharkey from Paxson musher John Schandelmeier, she said, and the pair are both on her 16-dog Iditarod lineup.

She plans to return Whistler to the team as early as today, with the race’s ceremonial start less than three weeks away in Anchorage.

"You’ll see him on the starting line," Furtwangler said.

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/02/13/2315959/enchiladas-roast-beef-aid-in-sled.html#storylink=cpy

May 5, 2012 Posted by | Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend | , , , | 2 Comments

10 Great American Animal Races

Growing up in upstate New York, my dad and I would go to the Saratoga Races every August. There’s nothing like watching your horse come around the final turn, battling for the lead. So events like this weekend’s Preakness Stakes always bring back some very cool memories.

But horses aren’t the only animals with a racing tradition. Here are ten examples.

1. Calaveras County Jumping Frogs


These high-jumping amphibians, made famous by Mark Twain, are actually battling it out right now. The Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee began on Thursday. If you hurry, you may still be able to get a bet in.

2. Ostrich Festival Races (Chandler, Arizona)


Did you know Ostriches can exceed speeds of 40 miles per hour? The good folks of Chandler, Arizona, do. I’d love to see this one, just to see what kind of wacky jockey decides to sit on an Ostrich. I’m thinking there may be alcohol involved.

3. Armadillo Races (Edgewood, Texas)

Imagine little round knights in not-so-shiny armor, racing around a dirt track. Sounds kinda cute. Although I’ve read they grow to 2 1/2 feet. That’s considerably less cute. Armadillo racing became popular in Texas in the 1970s, and the Armadillo World Headquarters is in Austin. (You heard me…the Armadillo World Headquarters.) Guess they’re mighty proud of their armored mammals down in Texas.

4. Camel Races (Virginia City, Nevada)

You wouldn’t think there would be camel races in the United States. Then again, we do have a big desert, so why not? The Virginia City Camel Races are a nostalgic reminder of the Comstock Lode, the first large discovery of silver ore in the U.S., when I suppose they used Camels to transport the silver. According to the official website, they also race ostriches and emus, because that’s how they roll in Nevada.

5. Cockroach Races


This is one of the slimier races I’ve come across. The annual cockroach races are held by the entomology club at Iowa State University. And if you’ve ever hung out with the members of the Iowa Stae Entomology Club, you know this is one rockin’ event. They also put on

something called the Insect Horror Film Festival, which features gourmet insect tastings. Who says there’s nothing to do in Iowa in October?

6. Lizard Races (Lovington, New Mexico)

How do you celebrate the 4th of July, with fireworks? How last season. The folks in Lovington, New Mexico, like a few lizard races with their barbeque. The Chaparral Park speedway is apparently the world’s premiere mini-reptile racetrack (Go USA!). And there’s a colorful history to the event, as well.

At the inaugural race in 1976, the lizards, frightened by the big crowds and flashbulbs, apparently started to eat each other (you can’t make this stuff up).

Modifications to the track and crowd placement have decreased the reptile carnage in recent years. But there’s always a chance one of the little guys will go all Godzilla on the competition.

7. Wiener Dog Races (Buda, Texas)


Who doesn’t love wiener dogs? Not only do they look great dressed up for Halloween, but you can also make a little extra cash with them at the track. Head down to Buda, Texas, in April, and you’ll enjoy the annual wiener dog race (and parade!), as well as the yearly chili cookoff.

8. Lobster Races (Aiken, South Carolina)

You would think an annual lobster race would be held in Maine, but the city of Aiken, South Carolina, has been racin’ crustaceans – that’s right, the Aiken racin’ crustaceans – since 1985 as a spoof of the Kentucky Derby. This year’s race, which just happened a couple weeks ago, drew close to 10,000 fans.

9. 4th of July Celebration & Porcupine Race (Council, Idaho)

Squeeze this one in between visits to the Potato Museum and Philo Farnsworth’s home. The race is held each year for charity, but I’m sure

a few dollars need to be taken out for bandaids, just in case any participants make their way into the crowd.

10. Great Alaskan Pig Races


And we end our collection of Great American Animal Races in the 49th state. Why race pigs in Alaska, you ask? If you had to pick something other than dog sled teams, you’d think moose, or elk. Something that represents the state, right? At least, I did. But Alaskans appear to prefer pigs. They’re quick little guys, too. And in these races, there are hurdles. I may need to find a Vegas sports book that takes pork action.

Mario Marsicano 10 Great American Animal Races by Mario Marsicano

2010 Wienerschnitzel Wiener Races

Living the Life of Riley – Wiener Nationals

Northern California Wiener National Series

Old World Dachshund Races

July 17, 2010 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Events, pet fun, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment