What makes a good community...

After a massive weekend by the committee members, volunteers and competitors at the Altitude 5000 Sled Dog Challenge, we all gathered in the High Plains Hotel, for presentations. And I realised how many things I really like about the sled dog community.

  • When the MC announced the different states that were represented, the biggest cheer was for the single, first ever Tasmanian competitor, who had brought her team of rescue huskies, over for their second race, their first on snow. (Follow their adventures here.)
  • Men and women competed, without being separated into men's and women's divisions.
  • The prizes for sportsmanship and care of dogs were bigger than the prizes for first place. There were 11 votes for the winner of the sportsmanship award.
  • One first prize winner donated his winnings to the care of a friend's dog.
  • Two mushers, who'd overcome great personal challenges to compete this weekend, thanked their competitors, who'd supported and encouraged them. (I cried, but noone's surprised about that.)
  • The last three competitors all thanked their spouses and families, acknowledging the support required to raise, train and compete with large kennels of dogs. There is no "I" in team, even among folks who put their own necks on the line, riding at speed behind teams of 8 dogs through the snow.

Like any group of people, these folks disagree and annoy each other at times, but at times like today, the vibe was pretty wonderful.

Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!

2012: Since my first trip to A5K, I've really gotten to know and appreciate so many of these people!

2012: Since my first trip to A5K, I've really gotten to know and appreciate so many of these people!