Welp– This is it. We’re finally here. It’s hard to believe after the weeks of training, angsting, and loving on dogs, that the Copper Basin starts this Saturday.
We never would have gotten even close to this start line if not for the generous help of a LOT of people.
First and foremost, thank you to my parents. They have supported me in these mushing adventures since day one way back in 2000, and they have only amped up their game as I got my own dogs and a lot of my own pickles that come with dogs, house, and truck. Thank you so much Mom and Dad.
Thank you to Shawn, who has been on the front line of supporting this. It’s not easy to be the partner of a musher. Shawn has cooked, cleaned, loved on the dogs, held my hand when I’m freaking out, and generally been a pillar of strength even when things have been tough. Life will get less stressful after the race– I swear. Plus, maybe I could take you to dinner or something?
Thank you to Padee, who has given so much of her own time and love to the kennel. As with everyone on this list, I wouldn’t be here without you Padee. But seriously without all of the help can you imagine the trainwreck I’d be this week in particular? Wow. You are a vital part of ATAO… And also we’re lucky to have you as a friend.
Sarah, thanks for showing up and diving right into getting to know and love the dogs, working your tail off with little more than a thank you, and putting up with my constant change of plans. You’ve been a huge help and I feel good knowing you’re helming up the handler team for the Basin.
Tim and Julie Goggins have sent care packages, tons of support, and have rooted us on since Hooch and Ophelia came home for Christmas. Tim created the ATAO cup that many of our Founders and top supporters received for Christmas. They are amazing. I love the rendering of Hooch, our kennel matriarch and logo. Tim and Julie are coming up to see our very first big race! See you guys soon!
Pam and Daryl Darnell essentially kickstarted ATAO with a base of gear, including gangline, harnesses, houses, a sled, bowls, the truck dog box, and anything else you could think of to start a kennel. I am still using almost everything they’ve passed down to me. I am proud to carry the Happy Howls legacy forward. Thank you both so much.
Laurel Alden Brenner has been one of our biggest supporters. They were also the first fan to reach out and say– Hey it’s so cool you guys represent queerness + mushing. I didn’t know anyone would appreciate that! Their enthusiasm has been a huge milestone for me, and their support of ATAO has made the Copper Basin a possibility.
My work, Out of a Jam Solutions, and my boss Michael in particular. I call you the boss because you are boss. Thank you for constantly and often sassily supporting me. I will be back to work at some point I swear.
Our Monster Sponsors, who sponsor individual dogs. I’m so grateful for this small group of supporters. Cynthia was our first, and sponsors both Rey AND Furiosa! Jenny Cieplak, James Frye, Calimelissa, meencat, Chris L, Allyson, and Erica Phillips all give their “Monsters” star-worthy dedication and support. Thank you!
The ATAO Founders were with us from the very very start. Thank you for believing in us from go. Look where we are!
The Buddy Brigade blows my mind. Over 50 people picked out their favorite ATAO athlete(s) and have been cheering for them, stanning for them, and loving them all season. We’ll be doing our first of two extra Buddy Bonanza drawings tomorrow night after I draw my bib number– and we’ll do the second extra Buddy Bonanza drawing after we finish! Thank you so much for supporting us and loving the dogs so much.
On that note, our Patreon supporters– most of whom are also Buddies! You have been instrumental to our making it to the start of a big race.
Our small but dedicated following on Facebook, where ATAO started its social media journey. Thank you for sticking with us and “liking” us for so long!
#mushertwitter… This section of the social media miasma has changed my world. Thank you for all that you are.
My buddy Arthur, who is heading north even as we speak to help handle for the Basin. We concocted that idea a couple years ago and Arthur agreed without hesitation. It’s going to be awesome.
Dan Dockery, who is following me around trying to make me look cool, or at least slightly dignified. It’s a tall order, Dan– thanks for joining along with us.
And finally, thanks to all of you. So many of you have supported us all along the way, including in the last few weeks leading up to the race. Thanks to you, we have $$ to get Todd the Truck and the handler crew around the track AND to have food! Wow.
And finally finally, thanks to these twelve dogs. These twelve little buddies who are trusting, emotional, enthusiastic, ridiculous, and my pack. I love these dogs so much. Each and every one gives their full heart every day. They are all good and true dogs. I hope I can be worthy of them on this jaunt in the mountains and woods.
Now there’s only one place to go.
The race starts soon.