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End of Season Report 1995-96
submitted by Lori A. Brinkley

We started the season on a cold, windy day in Warrens, WI, on Sat., Nov. 11, 1995, with 17 dogs competing in the Midwest Musher Season Kick-off weight pull. The club rented the Lions Building for the weekend. Club members' kids played inside and watched videos on the TV/VCR supplied by Mark and Kelly Pruka. Adults took turns checking in on them as the weight pull progressed to a top pull of 1154 lbs., on wheels, on frozen sand. It was nice to get in out of the icy wind between rounds.

That evening, after the day's work was done, all members and competitors present were treated to a delicious pot luck meal consisting of hamburgers, fries, beans, salad, chips, and friendly conversation. Afterwards, many competitors took advantage of the free accommodations offered by the club and stretched out their sleeping bags and spent the night.

The next day, Sunday, Nov. 12, 1995, was also cold and windy as many mushers got together with John and Helen Schultz and Karl Reimann, using their wheeled carts to give the dogs short workouts. Everyone present had a good time, four-legged as well as two-legged.

December 9, 1995 also dawned cold and windy. The local radio station in Richland Center was passing on wind chill warnings from the National Weather Service as TSAMC hosted the fourth annual Nature's Mercy Winter Celebration. Due to a light dusting of snow the day before, the kid's dog sled rides were able to go on as planned and a surprising number of spectators lined up to give their kids the opportunity to experience the thrill of riding in the basket behind a team of Alaskan Malamutes. The rides cost 50 cents each and the proceeds were donated to the Wisconsin Chapter of Malamute Rescue.

The wind did not die down and the temperature did not rise all day as 33 dogs competed to a top pull of 1350 lbs. on wheels, on hard packed dirt. After the work was done, club members were invited to attend a pot luck meal and membership meeting at the home of Duane and Lori Brinkley. The menu consisted of bar-b-que, chips, beans, apples-n-dip, and many more goodies. The minutes from this meeting were printed in the February, 1996, newsletter.

Sarg's Tug Weight Pull in Mukwonago, WI, on Jan. 20, 1996, was not as cold, but was just as windy as 44 regular class dogs competed to a top pull of 1550 lbs., on wheels, on frozen grass & dirt. This event was at Reggies Place and was sponsored by the establishment and Eagle Pack Dog Food. Each handler received one bag of Eagle Dog food, and the remaining bags were used for prizes. Trophies were also rewarded in all five (5) weight classes.

The Iaroratuk Memorial Weight Pull in Mischicot, WI, on Saturday, Jan. 27, 1996, was the weight pull that almost wasn't. Last year, this pull was held the second weekend of March and was dubbed the "Mud Pull" due to the conditions brought about by spring thawing. To correct that problem this year, the pull date was moved to January.

Mother Nature decided to show everyone who is really in charge of the conditions at events and sent more than 12 inches of snow and blizzard conditions the day and night before. The heavy snow finally stopped falling around 3am, and plows were out in Mishicot by 5am, but the wind did not die down and created white-outs, wind chill warnings, and dangerous conditions throughout the day. This pull was started late because the chief judge from Cambria and all the club equipment from Spring Green had to battle the wind and snow all the way there.

It is not known how many competitors were unable to make it to the event, but 37 regular class dogs competed to a top pull of 1500 lbs., on wheels, on frozen ground (the snow was so light and fluffy, it could not be packed down enough to pull on, so it was plowed away).

Saturday, February 10, 1996, the day of the National Championship Weight Pull at Christmas Mountain Village near Wisconsin Dells, WI, started out warm and sunny. The track which had been painstakingly groomed and leveled the week before, when it had been 20 degrees below zero, had withstood forty and fifty degrees above zero during the week. It had settled more than a foot and was very soft. Many feared that the track would turn to slush and the event would be short with a very light top pull.

Barriers were put up during the registration and weigh in period to keep people from walking on the track and making it worse.

A first this year, was a separate Novice Weight Pull. Novice dogs were allowed to try their skills in an event all their own. Top pull, as allowed by the TSAMC rules, was 950 lbs. After which all but 450 lbs were removed prior to the start of the Main Event Weight Pull.

Once again, Mother Nature showed who was in charge as a front moved through just after noon The winds picked up, and the temperature dropped all day. Not only was the event not short, but it didn't get over until well after dark with 79 regular class dogs competing for the top pull of 2250 lbs while volunteers stood shining flashlights down the track so the dogs could see where they were going. Two dogs actually pulled the 2250 lbs, but since that was all the weight available, the final placement was decided by who had the fastest time.

This weight pull featured a $3,000.00 purse and trophies for first through fifth place in each weight class, which were sponsored by Christmas Mountain Village, and one (1) ton of Eukanuba Dog Food, sponsored by the Iams Company, for weight and prizes. Every handler received a bag of food at the end of the day as did everyone who actively helped at the event.

John and Helen Schultz and the Board of Directors of TSAMC would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped when John fell on the ice and was rendered unconscious. The club members who are EMT's, the person who ran to the ski patrol office to call the ambulance, the people who volunteered to use their own cellular phones to call the ambulance, the members of Christmas Mountain's Ski Patrol, the ambulance crew who responded quickly, the person who got the blanket, the person who took over for the Chief Judge when the pull resumed, the people who took over sled work for John, the person who took over the official stats, the competitors still in competition who waited patiently for the pull to resume, the people who loaned the flashlights, the people who held the flashlights, all the friends who waited and worried until John woke up and breathed, the person who stayed with John in the motel room after the ambulance was sent away, and everyone who has expressed concern following the accident, THANK YOU! If anyone who contributed was forgotten, THANK YOU, TOO!

Sunday, February 11, 1996, the day of the third annual Sourdough Sally Race, was warmer, but was still just as windy as the day before. This race grew from eight (8) teams last year to twenty-two (22) teams this year.

Mushers started out lying in their sleeping bags with their dogs on stake-out and their harnesses hanging on their sleds. They were each allowed one person to hold their lead dog and assist at the end of the race. All mushers had fun, and some even learned to harness their own dogs. Notice in the results that the three or four dog class of the race was won by one (1) second.

On Saturday, February 24, 1996, TSAMC hosted the Northwoods Championship Weight Pull, sponsored by M&I Bank in conjunction with Klondike Days, in Eagle River, WI. The weather was sunny and (you guessed it) windy. The track had been rained on the day before, and what had been well leveled snow, became rutty ice. Hard work and a little help from Mother Nature helped get the track in shape in time to start the Novice Pull.

New at this event was the option to pull dogs in both the novice pull and the regular pull. The entry fees for these dogs were $20.00 each instead of $15.00 each. This was allowed because the decision was made that because the novice pulled separate from the regular class, it could be considered a separate event. Several dogs took advantage of this.

When the Main Event Weight Pull actually began, the track was morelevel, but it still had some icy patches. The dogs' traction was a concern. As the day went on and the sun stayed out and warmed everything up, the icy track turned to slush as 76 regular class dogs competed to end the season on a positive note.

The sticky track did not hinder one of the most exciting finishes in TSAMC weight pulling history. After the 1950 lb. round, there were still two dogs left. 180 lbs were added, and both Beaver LaBarge (Irish Wolfhound) and Merlin Boyer (Mastiff) pulled the 2130 lbs. through. Only 130 lbs of dog food were left to be added to the load. That made the weight of the sled 2250 lbs. Once again, both dogs completed the pull. What to do next? Ask for volunteers who knew what they weighed.

A young man came forward who weighed 150 lbs. He climbed up on top and hung on as both dogs again pulled the weight. Another volunteer stepped out of the large crowd and announced his weight as 200 lbs. He climbed up beside the other rider and rode the 16 feet twice as both dogs pulled the weight of 2600 lbs. Once more a man volunteered to become a passenger. He weighed 225 lbs. Merlin was the first to try to pull the 2825 lbs. He broke the sled loose, but was unable to pull it the whole 16 feet. As Beaver stepped up to pull, it was announced that this would be his final pull before retiring. The large crowd of spectators and competitors all held their breath for 9.33 seconds while Beaver La Barge finished his weight pulling career with one more completed pull thus finishing the TSAMC 1995-96 season. Many people gathered around to give him the attention he had earned.

Beaver is an Irish Wolfhound and will be missed at Christmas Mountain and Eagle River.

End of Season Points

Another new challenge was added to the 1995-96 season. Every regular class dog to compete in a weight pull with TSAMC this year received five (5) points for pulling the qualifying round for his/her weight class plus one (1) point for each dog in his/her class to finish below him/her at that particular event. Dogs who's weight changed during the season accumulated points in two (2) or more classes and these points could not be totaled.

The dog with the most points in each class will now be awarded the title of top weight puller in that class.

Here are the names of the winners:
Top TSAMC Weight Pulling Dog in the Under 60 pound class for the 1995-96 Season is Butch, an American Pit Bull Terrier, owned by Marty and Sherri Stringfield.

Top TSAMC Weight Pulling Dog in the 61 - 80 pound class for the 1995-96 season is Hobbit, an Alaskan Malamute, owned by John and Helen Schultz (note: Hobbit is 10 years old and the father or grandfather of the dogs in second in this class and first, second, and third in the 81 - 100 pound class)

Top TSAMC Weight Pulling Dog in the 81 - 100 pound class for the 1995-96 Season is Roo-be, an Alaskan Malamute, owned by John and Helen Schultz.

Top TSAMC Weight Pulling Dog in the 101 - 120 pound class for the 1995-96 Season is Kiana, an Alaskan Malamute, owned by Steve Beauchamp.

Top TSAMC Weight Pulling Dog in the Unlimited class for the 1995-96 Season is Sheena, a Saint Bernard, owned by Melissa and Dean Martin.

Congratulations to all the winners! This was one of the toughest weight pull seasons in recent history. All five of these dogs truly accomplished a magnificent feat and TSAMC is proud to have them pull at our events. We are looking forward to the competition next year!

Trophy donations for these wonderful dogs are being accepted. At the time the points system was proposed for this year, we did not know what kind of interest we would have in our new award. We are a little overwhelmed by the amount of interest this points system has received. The original plan to present the winners with paper certificates or "Wearable trophies" like sweatshirts just doesn't seem like enough, anymore. TSAMC did not set up a budget for trophies for this achievement (above plan stated as reason), so donations to have special plaques made would be appreciated.

Note: It was decided at a membership meeting in 1996 to buy plaques for first through third place in each class. Every year since then, the trophies have been paid for by TSAMC and have been different each year.

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