City officials mush for charity in first annual ExxonMobil Top Dog Charity Sled Dog Race
It was a “photo-finish” for the first-ever Top Dog Charity Sled Dog Race, which was held on Sat., Feb. 12, at Tozier Track as part of the ExxonMobil Open. When all was said and done, the race ended in a three-way tie between Police Chief Mark Mew, Parks and Recreation Development Director Cathy Janigo, and Assistant Municipal Attorney Pam Weiss.
Mew, Janigo and Weiss mushed their three-dog teams through the 2.3 mile course and ended up crossing the finish line at the identical time of 8 minutes, 41 seconds. Coming in fourth place was Mayor of Anchorage Dan Sullivan, who finished with a time of 9 minutes, 58 seconds. Anchorage Fire Chief Mark Hall finished with a time of 10 minutes, 9 seconds.
Because of the tie, Mew, Janigo and Weiss split the prizes for first-, second- and third-place equally, resulting in each receiving $5,666 to designate to the charities of their choice. Mayor Sullivan and Chief Hall each designated $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, to their charities.
In all, eight not-for-profit organizations received a total of $20,000 in contributions from ExxonMobil, including: Anchorage Park Foundation ($5,666), STAR ($3,333), Covenant House ($2,833), the Great Alaska Council of Boy Scouts ($2,833), Catholic Social Services ($2,833), Salvation Army ($1,000), Victims for Justice ($1,000) and Alaska Red Cross ($500).
The event was held as part of the ExxonMobil Open, which is one of the seasonal races organized by the Alaskan Sled Dog & Racing Association (ASDRA) leading up to the Fur Rendezvous Open and has been an Alaskan tradition since 1973.
“We decided to add the Top Dog Charity Sled Dog Race this year as a way of giving back to the community,” said ASDRA President Christine Tozier. “The charity race was a huge success, and we plan to make it an annual tradition!”
According to Tozier, the charity race attracted several hundred spectators to Tozier Track on Feb. 12, including the staff and supporters of the non-profit organizations, members of the various municipal departments represented, and the family and friends of the mushers. Immediately following the race, all of the participants presented checks to the charities for which they were racing. In addition, several of the mushers expressed how much they enjoyed the experience of getting to mush a sled dog team.
“After spending 26 years here in Alaska, this was definitely one of the highlights,” said Anchorage Fire Chief Mark Hall. “I cannot speak highly enough about how much I enjoyed being a part of this event.”