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Mushing symposium starts Friday at Pioneer Park

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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:52 pm

FAIRBANKS — Mushers, fans and friends of the mushing sports will gather this weekend at Pioneer Park for the biannual Mushing Symposium hosted by the Alaska Dog Mushers’ Association.

The event features three days of lectures, meetings, panel discussions and a trade fair as well as a bunch of fun with the Yukon Quest Birthday Party on Friday evening and the Alaska Dog Mushers Association annual auction on Saturday night.

Friday’s activities start with the Yukon Quest rookie meeting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Blue Room of the Centennial Center for the Arts at Pioneer Park. The event is strongly recommended for all mushers running the Quest for the first time in 2013.

Activities pick up at 4 p.m. when the trade fair opens. The Yukon Quest will host its 30th birthday party and spaghetti feed Friday evening with a no-host bar social hour from 6-7 p.m. and the spaghetti feed starts at 7. There is no charge for food, but donations will be greatly appreciated.

Two lectures will be given in the civic center theater. Stephanie Little Wolf will deliver a talk from 6-7:30 p.m. on the history of the traditional use of dogs in Native American and Native Alaskan culture. From 8-9 p.m., veterinarian Eric Jayne will speak on Creating a Healthy Veterinary Community.

Keynote speaker Donna Gigliotti will present a two-hour talk starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday titled “How does it work — why isn’t it working — what can I do?”

Using moving X-rays (floroscopy) video and pictures, Gigliotti will help mushers better appreciate and understand the inner workings of their dogs.

Among other things, Gigliotti will explain how specific issues can affect the body’s dynamics, decrease endurance, slow recovery time and stress the system leading to greater health issues.

Christina Richardson, owner of Seal Cove Kennel in Canaan, N.H., will be bringing 20 years of experience to the presentation.

Saturday morning should get off to a lively start with a panel discussion of the upcoming IFSS World Championships, scheduled to start in late February and run through mid-March at various locations throughout the North Star Borough.

Buzz Otis, executive director of the North Pole Economic Development Corporation which is hosting the event, Alaska Dog Mushers Association race marshal Mike McCowan, IFSS vice president Helen Lundberg and skijorer Kriya Dunlap will participate in a discussion of the event moderated by Jeff Conn.

There has been much discussion of the IFSS using the World Anti-Doping regulations for official participants and its own standards for dog care. The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association has withdrawn its support for the long distance event, which has been deleted from the race schedule.

Other Saturday morning events included a 10:30 a.m. presentation on condition and nutrition by Salcha veterinarian and open class race Arleigh Reynolds, as well as a workshop by Dave Klumb on Fastening Your Sled Together, at

9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

The Great Cooker Cook-Off is set for 12:45-1:30 p.m. outside the civic center and an International Sled Dog Racing Association awards ceremony is set for 1:15 p.m.

Another veterinary panel featuring Tamara Rose, Dawn Brown, Arleigh Reynolds, Donna Gigliotti and moderator Jodi Bailey will start at 4 p.m.

The ADMA auction, featuring a Christman Stove and items donated by Cold Spot Feeds, Denali Fenceworks, Goldstream Sports, Howling Dog Alaska and others will run from 5-9 p.m.

Sunday, there are several more presentations including A Year in the Life of a Lead Dog at

9 a.m. with Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore; Mushing 101 at 10:30 a.m. with Aliy Zirkle, Jodi Bailey, Greg Sellentin and moderator Andrea Swingley; and at 10:30 a.m.:, Beringia — the traditional sled dog race for dogs of Kamchatka (Russian Far East) with Lisa Strecker.

Workshops with Gigliotti are scheduled at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

A presentation by Erin Trochim on setting up a training data base will start at 1:30 p.m.

The symposium closes at 4 p.m. Sunday when the trade fair shuts down.

Single day passes for Saturday or Sunday are $35. A two-day pass can be purchased for $65. Friday’s events are free.

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