There’s no way we could accomplish any race without an amazing human crew. The Copper Basin takes an especially dedicated crew. For some sled dog races, you send the musher and team off, and see them at the end. For other races– like the Copper Basin– a human handling crew is required to follow along with the race. They have a lot of duties. They guide the team to a parking spot, advise the musher of resources (water here, food here!), watch over sleeping dogs, take care of dogs who are “dropped” from the race for tiredness, soreness, or illness, and rake up straw after the team has left. AND to do this, the humans have to drive almost double what the dogs and musher and mushing! The road does not exactly follow the race course. While the musher mushes, the human team has to drive fast to get to the next checkpoint before the team.
I am so excited to have a truly AMAZING human team lined up for the Copper Basin 300 this year. I don’t think ATAO could possibly wish for a better crew. And there are some important humans who aren’t handling for the race, but are helping to make this endeavor possible in other ways.
Here’s a breakdown of the incredible ATAO human team, along with their roles and bit about each of them:
Shawn Goggins: Logistics Manager
CB300 Moral Support, Social Media Updater
Shawn is the ATAO partner and prankster. You may find them sneaking around playing tricks, making cute stockings for the dogs, creating amazing DRESS A DOG DAY uniforms for our furry friends, loving on each and every dog, or procuring surprise puppies here and there. They also love the Green Bay Packers, silly videos online, and lichen. Shawn is one of the most caring people you’ll meet, and when they aren’t dedicating that love and care to their work with kids in crisis, they give so much love to ATAO. We couldn’t do what we do without them!
Shawn will be spectating the Copper Basin with their family, who are coming up to see ATAO’s first big race in person! They will be doing some updating of social media, but most of all, they will probably be checking and re-checking the tracker just as obsessively as you!
Sarah Dawn Harman: Young Padawan
Sarah was born and raised in a small dairy/logging town about an hour north of Seattle. After high school and a summer of being a camp counselor she joined the Navy. Sarah served for 4 years as a Gunner’s Mate on the USS John Paul Jones DDG 53 out of San Diego and Pearl Harbor. After her contract ended she moved back to Washington briefly to work at the summer camp again. She was going to start going back to school when she stumbled upon an opportunity to mush dogs in Alaska. This is something Sarah had dreamed of doing since she was little but until that moment it wasn’t something she thought real people could just go do. She packed up her dog and whatever else could fit in her little truck and moved up to Fairbanks in June of 2017. She says, “The last year and half of being here has been most challenging yet also rewarding times of my life. I’m super excited to be spending this winter under the mentorship of Mari and the rest of ATAO team!”
Arthur Worley: Chief of Dog Cuddles
Arthur is the official Dog Snuggler and will be handling for CB300. Arthur is making the long trek from Minneapolis to see the dogs and drive Todd! They are always down to build puppy pens and engage in any other ill advised shenanigans for the good of the dogs. Outside of the world of dogs, they are a social worker, rock climber, and co-owner of Arthur and Mari’s Ill Advised Attempt at a Moving Company, LLC.
Arthur has been a long time friend of Mari and Shawn and a supporter of ATAO from the beginning. They are an instrumental part of the ATAO dream, whether in person or from afar! We are so excited that they are flying up from Minnesota to help handle for the Copper Basin 300. They make up part of a kick-butt handling team that will be instrumental in ATAO’s success.
Padee Mccrery: Wookie Handler
Holding Down the Fort
Padee moved permanently to FBKS in 2018 after taking 3 winter vacations here. She has spent the last 3 Winters being an all around volunteer helper for another local dog musher. She loves the racing kennel lifestyle and is terrific with our dogs. We are excited to have her experience and loving dog attitude helping our kennel family.
Padee makes the gears of ATAO turn, whether its by helping to conquer the messy “dog house,” by giving all of the ATAO beasties tons of love, or by just being a great friend. ATAO wouldn’t work without Padee!
Padee will be watching over the ATAO house dogs while Mari, Shawn, the human team, and the 12 racers compete in the Copper Basin. It’s good to know the house is in good hands.
Dan Dockery: The Movie Guy
Dan Dockery is a filmmaker and photographer based in Minneapolis, MN. For his day job, he does software development remotely for a company in California. He generally does his best to avoid the cold – but he is so excited to document ATAO Kennel’s first major race that he is willing to brave Alaska in January.
Dan is hanging with the handler crew to follow ATAO down the CB300 trail this year. He’ll document the race in true style! We are so excited to share his work– and some amazing video of the team– with all of you. We’ll be talking more about how you’ll be able to see the end product this spring or summer.
Mari Troshynski: It Takes a Village to Raise an Idiot
Mari Troshynski is the musher in this year’s Copper Basin. Insert “oh no” face emoji here. Mari has been working with the Team of Twelve throughout the season this year at ATAO to prepare them for this race. Mari has raced the Copper Basin twice before, taking 13th most recently. She knows the dogs will excel but also knows that (like any musher) she is the weak link on the team. She is striving to live up to the capabilities of the dogs and make sure they have the food, rest, and guidance to do what they do best the best the can do. Her one goal for this years’ race is to finish with a group of happy wagging tails and maybe some exciting tales (but not too exciting please).
Mari is incredibly grateful for the support for ATAO far and wide, whether virtual, monetary, or hands on. Mari entered mushing thinking it was a solo sport, but now she knows exactly what a team it takes to get a group of dogs to the start line. Now there’s only one place left to go… The finish!
Getting the Human Team Set to Jet
We are floored by the cool people who are not just rooting for ATAO, but supporting us in sweat, blood, and tears. Thank you SO much especially to Sarah and Padee who have been working with us all season to make this race and this kennel a success. We know you are driven by the same thing that we are– A love for these silly four legged amazing friends.
We’ll be doing a breakdown of the four-legged team entering the Copper Basin soon. Keep your eyes here for those updates!
If you want to pitch in towards things to keep the humans of ATAO running for the Copper Basin, you can donate towards some last minute race needs below!
Okay, the countdown is on… I think we have a pretty good roster on hand. Let’s go!