Willow Dog Mushers Symposium to be held September 24

A Gathering of Champions-WDMA K9 Athlete SymposiumRegister now and save money for the Willow Dog Mushers Association K9 Athlete Symposium to be held on Sept 24 at the Willow Community Center, MP 69.7 of the Parks Hwy. You don’t need to own a sled dog to enjoy this event! (Go to:http://www.willowdogmushers.org)The day begins with registration in the Community Center starting at 9 am. Check out the awesome vendors, silent auction items, and the “Parade of Dogs” there as well. The kitchen will be open all day for anyone needing a cup of coffee or some food.Then, cruise the parking area for the GEAR SWAP. Here you’ll find mushing related items and general merchandise to barter or buy. Some valuable items at a decent price are always here. Back inside the community center, choose from many hands on seminars that will benefit anyone who plays in the outdoors of Alaska. Learn how to use a GPS with Vic Stanculescu; Extreme Weather Outdoor Survival with John Wilber; Canine Massage and Acupressure with Susan Whiton DVM; and Basic Wilderness Medicine with Paul Forman and Dianne Maythorne. Behind the community center are demonstrations from experts for all kinds of dog lovers: Nose Work with Claudia Sihler; and Dirt Dogs with the Anchorage Skijor Club. From these, you may find activities you want to try with your dog. Or try learning about: Emergency Shelters, Fires and Knots with volunteers from the North American Outdoors Institute AK. These seminars will repeat three times so you can visit at least three of them.At 1 pm the Official Symposium kick off takes place in the main hall. Welcoming remarks and presentations will be made. Taking the stage will be keynote speaker, 2011 Iditarod Champion, John Baker. We are very pleased that John, who is the first Alaskan Native to win the Iditarod, will join us. We feel his speech will be quite inspirational. There will also be time for a Q&A, so get your questions ready!Following John, will be a series of panel discussions that include: What Does It Take to Break Into the Top Ten with panelists: John Baker, Dallas Seavey, Ramey Smith and DeeDee Jonrowe; Challenging Your Personal Status Quo with panelists to be announced; Best Sled For Your Purpose – Design and Function with Bernie Willis and Cody Strathe.If panel discussions aren’t for you, outdoor activities will continue with: Military K9 Unit Demo with the Elmendorf Air Force K9 Unit; Harness Fit and Function with John Baker, Martin Buser, Dallas Seavey, Egil Ellis and Kelly Griffin; and High Flying Disc Dog Demo with Will and Chanelle Barron, the 2010 Alaska Skyhoundz Champion. We have champions everywhere today!Closing the day program will be a panel we call: Gathering of 2011 Champions with John Baker, Egil Ellis and Dallas Seavey. We feel so fortunate to have the 2011 Iditarod, Yukon Quest, and Fur Rondy and ONAC champions together on our stage. What a great way to end this portion of the day!But, it’s really not the end. At this time, we will have a live auction of our Sled Dogs On Parade. These life size wooden dogs, made by Dale Evans and painted by local artists will steal your heart. This was a huge fundraiser for us last year and well as a raucous time. The bidding became fast and furious with lots of laughter and fun. The dogs will be on display all day, so consider which one will look good in your home! We’ll also finish up any silent auction items at this time and give closing remarks.We’ll have a bit of time for dinner concessions and a social hour before clearing the hall for our evening presentation, PAMYUA. This is a new event for us and it is made possible, in part, by generous contributions from an anonymous donor, Willow Area Community Organization (WACO) and Vern Halter: Dream-A-Dream Dog Farm. We thank them all!Pamyua is the band who played for John Baker as he drove his team down Front Street in Nome to win the 2011 Iditarod. From Wikipedia:” Pamyua’s music is self-described as “tribal funk” and “world music”. Most of their songs are based on traditional Yupik, Inuit and Greenlandic chants, but the group is well-known for reinterpreting them in modern styles, such as the song “Cayauqa Nauwa”, which has been performed a cappella (mengluni, 1998) and with Pacific Islander influences (Caught in the Act, 2003), as well as traditionally (Drums of the North, 2005).”Pamyua is separate from the symposium, with separate charges. Seating is limited, so ordering tickets early is recommended. Adults can buy one ticket and get one free child (under 12) ticket if reserved at the same time. Prices for the symposium and Pamyua can be found at:http//:www.willowdogmushers.org/Symposium.htmlPrices go up by $10 for all events after Sept. 19, 2011.On the website you will find the full agenda, registration forms and vendor forms.If you have any questions about the symposium, email the symposium chairperson, Janet Sweeney:runhusky@gmail.comVendors should contact Jenny Evans: jenjendale@aol.com

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