Friday, December 28, 2007

Sports: Mushing, Basketball, and Hockey in Alaska

By Allen Bacon
Bosco: The Blog

I want to be Cyrus Harris when I grow up. Or John Baker. Harris and Baker are my new friends and they are Mushers. And they both live in Kotzebue, Alaska where I am staying this week.

Harris is a sprinter in Mushing Circles. His race with his 16 Siberian Huskies will be about twelve miles. John Baker is a long distance musher. Baker is a consistent top five finisher in the famous Iditarod Race in March. Last year another Kotzebue resident actually finished number 2. Eddie Eaton is one of seven Kotzebue residents that will be competing in the Iditarod in March 2008.

I've learned a lot about mushing this week. First of all, the optimum age for the dogs is around three years old. And actually a lot of the dogs are not pure Siberian Huskies. "I like to mix in some hound when I am breeding dogs," says Harris.

Dog mushers are unique because when their dogs can not complete anymore they either put them out to stud or they remain with the musher until they die....becoming part of the family. As a last resort they will place them with a family that is going to take care of them.

Saturday is going to be a very cool and exciting day for this sports fan. First of all in the morning two dog sled races are going to start in Kotzebue. These races are actually going to take place on the frozen ice in the ocean. The first race is a distance race that runs from Kotzebue to Noatak and back (about 120 miles) The second race is a sprint which is about 12 miles.

In between that and Sunday, the Kotzebue City Basketball tournament will be into it's Semifinal games. This has been interesting to watch for me so far. I went to the first two nights. This is where teams from other villages and small towns come in to play at the Kotzebue High School Gym. In case you are wondering, Noatak beat Norvick in the women's division. Then the Noatak Men's team beat Maniilaq in the B Division (30 and over) The main event featured two teams from Kotzebue namely FBX and TNT. TNT ended up winning.

Then I get on a plane and fly into Anchorage and I will be going to an Anchorage Ace hockey game. The Anchorage Aces are a minor league professional team and they will play the Utah Grizzlies. After that I will go over to Carlson Arena to see the interstate NCAA Division I Hockey Game between University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Anchorage.


Anonymous said...

Wow sounds like you are having fun as well as working. The best of both worlds.

I would have loved to see the sledding, I have never been to one before.


Bosco: The Blog Editor Allen Bacon said...

Mark - I am so excited to see have no idea. I will blog it when I get a chance probably when I get back to Anchorage. Tomorrow just got more fun for me in Felix. In addition to the stuff I posted, we will be able to see the UA Fairbanks - UA Anchorage interstate division I Hockey game as well, which as a hockey fan, I have always wanted to see also...Thanks for reading...and thanks again to Greg and yourself for such a wonderful 24 hours in Eugene...One of the highlights of our trip for sure!!!