If there’s one thing that all of the sponsors of Iron Dog reiterate, said the race’s executive director Kevin Kastner, it’s safety. From the moment the racers leave the chute in downtown Anchorage, until they are safely at the finish in Fairbanks, there are countless ways in which they put themselves at risk.
But a prepared racer is a successful one, and the Donlin Gold Safety Expo highlights the many ways in which racers and riders will stay one step ahead of any trouble. The event, free and open to everyone, is set for 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Cabela’s in South Anchorage. Not only can participants meet the racers, but they also can glean safety information of their own, so when it comes time for their own backcountry adventures, they too are prepared.
“A lot of our partners, like Donlin Gold, they want to reiterate that safety message,” Kastner said. “The largest safety improvements Iron Dog has made over the years have been requirements of protective gear and some restrictions on certain dangerous portions of the course — we’ve enforced some overland routes to keep them off the water, and stayed on top of helmet safety as well… And we have riders, too, who are spreading the safety message.”
While safety is the overriding theme of the expo, it also is meant to be a prerace celebration of the days to come. To add to the festivities, organizers created a new event – the 2016 Passport Game and Best in Show competition. Participants can enter to win door prizes and vote on the best-looking 2016 Iron Dog Pro Class snowmachine. The Best in Show prizes will be announced on site.
Iron Dog Raffle tickets (drawings to be held Feb. 27 at the awards party in Fairbanks) will be on sale, too. Win the grand prize of a 2016 Toyota Tacoma from Kendall Toyota. Or maybe that raffle ticket is worth the second-place prize – a 2016 CFMOTO U-Force 500 UTV from Alaska Power Sports paired with a 10-foot Aluma Tilt trailer from White Spruce Trailer Sales. Those and the other prizes will be on display at the expo. Raffle tickets are $60, and half of the proceeds will go to the Alaska Veterans Museum, the chosen beneficiary of Iron Dog’s 2016 race.
WHEN: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17
WHERE: Cabela’s of Anchorage, 155 W. 104th Ave., Anchorage
WHO: This is a free, public event hosted by Iron Dog and sponsored by Donlin Gold with vendors and race teams included.
RAFFLE TICKETS: Raffle tickets are $60 and half the proceeds benefit the Alaska Veterans Museum. Call 907-306-0130 for tickets or go to www.irondog.org/raffle-ticket-locations/.