As I read the letter in Feb 14's edition, I had to chuckle at some of the comments. And yes, the writer has some valid concerns about the race that are already being looked into, but he is also misinformed on other concerns.
First, as Co-Chairs of the Pinedale Stage Stop, my wife and I are trying to bring it back into Pinedale and get the schools involved once again. We had great business support this year. We are looking for alternate starting locations; Bloomfield, Tyler and Pine, or even Bridger and Pine and then proceeding up to Willow Lake and from there, still in planning. Safety of the race teams is always a priority. There is a Junior Musher program that allows youngsters the opportunity to ride with a Musher or drive the sled at the end of the race. Participation in this essay event is small, and we would like to see more youth enter.
Secondly, waiting in the cold? This is a winter event and we cannot dictate the temperature nor the race format (we are told by race officials when they will be in town). Additionally, Kendall Valley Lodge opened their doors to all that were at the start/finish line to come in and warm-up by offering a breakfast special and then a lunch special. Sandy even provided shuttle service at no cost to help transport spectators, handlers, and race officials to and from the lodge.
Thirdly, I would like to know where the writer received his information about the Meet the Musher dinner. The Stockman's Restaurant received the bid to provide dinner to the race teams, officials and community and was compensated well for their efforts. This dinner was free to all who attended the function.
Finally, as was mentioned at the Meet the Musher dinner and the following Town Council meeting, plans were laid out about changing the race start and possible finish, the donation of $1,200 to public health for youth vaccinations (145 vaccinations given out in the fall of 2013), 65 banners (13 in-kind trade and 53 sold) were sold (not hustled) to local businesses, dog food donation to the animal shelter, a donation to Happy Endings Animal Rescue, feeding 236 people at the Meet the Musher dinner, paying Stockman's restaurant $2,593 for providing dinner, booking 23 hotel rooms at three different hotels for the race, and an unknown amount of fuel and food being purchased by those attending or competing in the race. Short of not having the race start in town, I feel the IPSSSDR Sled Dog Race Pinedale Stage Stop was a success. Yes, there are always areas to improve and this is why I solicited volunteers to get on the committee at both the Meet the Musher dinner and town council meeting.
If you are interested in serving on the committee, give me a call at (307) 679-5158.
For the complete article see the 02-21-2014 issue.
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