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2006 NWT Inaugural Sled Dog Symposium

Submitted by Carol Beck

~Click on any photo for larger view~

The NWT Dog Sledding Association held its first Sled Dog Symposium in Yellowknife August 11 to the 13th, 2006. It was an incredible success. Participants took part in the weekend of world class professional sled dog development.

Champion Mushers from across North America including: George Attla, Joee Redington, Roxy Wright, Doug Swingley, Melanie Shrillia, Lloyd Gilbertson joined NWT Mushers, Grant Beck, Warren Palfrey, Shelly and Rob Ramsay and Marcel Marin to complete the mushers panels. Veterinarians including: Colorado’s Carolyn Griffitts, Montana’s Terry Adkins and Yellowknife’s Tom Pisz rounded out the panelists.

Topics ranged from: breeding, winning race strategies, training techniques to veterinarian care and injury prevention. Something for everyone.

The weekend began on Friday night with a meet and greet event with entertainment provided by the NWT’s most famous Comedian and MC, George Tuccaro. Local radio and TV media took full opportunity to interview our distinguished guests during this event. The Trade show opened it doors and provided opportunity to everyone to obtain more information on the Diavik 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby, Skijoring or purchase supplies from vendors.

Saturday morning the sessions began with enthusiasm as Yellowknife was so proud to host such a highly successful group of individuals for this event.

NWT Speakers Panel
One of the Speaker Panels
NWT Campfire
Enjoying the campfire at Aurora World

Following the full day of professional development a dinner and bus trip was made to Aurora World where participants feasted on a gourmet meal of local fish and enjoyed an outdoor setting in beautiful weather to NWT’s famous Fiddler Lee Mandeville and his father George on guitar. Hay River Mushers, Dave Poitras and his son Mathew also provided some surprise and wonderful entertainment by sharing their guitar playing and singing talents around the campfire.

Sunday morning sessions continued to motivate participants as the World Class presenters shared their knowledge with the audience.

George & Joee
George Attla & Joee Redington
Roxy with juniors
Alaska’s Roxy Wright with Yellowknife Mushers:
Trista, Taylor and Teren Beck

The energy level was very high and many took the opportunity to get their photo taken with their heroes and have books signed by World Famous George Attla.

On Sunday night following the sessions, a surprise belated birthday party was held at Grant and Carol Beck’s house for George Attla. Adults and children joined in on the fun.

NWT Symposium: George's Birthday Party
George Attla’s surprise birthday party!
Wright, Redington, McKay & Attla
Roxy Wright, Joee Redington, Elizabeth Ann McKay & George Attla
Fishing on Great Slave Lake
Joee Redington & Brent Beck –Great Slave Lake

A number of presentations were made by various sponsors including the Aboriginal Sports Circle of the NWT.

Thanks to all who supported our event including Sponsors: Canadian North Airlines, City of Yellowknife, Aboriginal Sports Circle of the NWT, Sport North Federation, McKay CA, Yellowknife Inn, Yellowknife Dog Trotters Association, Diavik 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby, Aurora World, Overlander Sports, Media Works, WLP Enterprises and Beck’s Kennels.

Thanks also to the event volunteers including: Garth Wallbridge, Roy Desjarlais, James Pugsley, Barbara Beck, Vivienne McQueen and Martin Rourke.

See you next year!

NWT Dog Sledding Association Executive
Elizabeth Ann McKay, President
Carol Beck, Vice-President
Jackie Jacobson, Treasurer
Kate Steadman-Palfrey, Yellowknife

wpeC.jpg (12344 bytes)
George Attla meets NWT 4 time Olympic Cross Country Skiers Sharon and Shirley Firth

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