Fur Rendezvous Sled Dog Races


By: Liz Tvrdy
In February 1962, Jimmie Tvrdy, Ken Koestler and Sarge Robinson hit upon the idea of constructing a board to show spectators at the Fur Rendezvous the progress of the dogs and racers as they raced from and to Fourth Avenue over a 25 mile track. About ten amateur radio operators were stationed along the trail and AM was used to relay the dog team positions. The board consisted of two sheets of plywood, measuring 8’x8′ on which the trail had been drawn.

This year, February 1972, ten years later, the club had two men at the board (*two of the above three, Jimmie Tvrdy and Ken Koestler) and a grand total of twenty three checkpoints. Snow machines were used on the back trail. FM, Handy Talkies and a repeater were used to transmit the position of the racers as they passed the check points. The board has grown in size to 8’x16′ and has been raised from the ground and placed on a flatbed trailer and had been given a new coat of paint with the addition of some pictures in keeping with the dog racing.

Communications were much improved by the use of the FM repeater with many more checkpoints and hard-working volunteers. This year we even furnished the downtown P.A. system for the dog sled races – donated through the courtesy of Yukon Radio Supply.

Next year we propose to sell advertising to be placed on the front and back sides of our “new” 18’x16′ board; thus revitalizing our now depleted treasury.
*editor’s note.
(In 1962 Jimmie Tvrdy was President; Ken Koestler was Activities Manager & Sarge Robinson was chairman of this activity. In 1972 Ken Koestler is President; Jimmie Tvrdy, Vice Pres & Sarge Robinson has retired)

AARC February 25, 1973 Page 1

From Checkpoint #1 comes the following-report:

By .Beth Clark

A report from Checkpoint #1 at the Fur Rendezvous, Friday, February 16, 1973. I really do believe Checkpoint #1 at 4th and Cordova is the most exciting point on the first day of the race. Actually this year, before the first day (Friday) was over, check point #9 (Tudor Road Crossing) as the more exciting, but more about that later.

Many of those teams just don’t seem all that anxious to run, especially the first day so when they make the turn at 4th and Cordova they start looking for a way out. They turn up alleys and wrong streets. This year one team made the turn onto Cordova, then turned toward town onto 5th, back across Cordova, dove on 5th heading out of town, back onto Cordova to 6th, toward town on 6th back across Cordova heading out of town, back onto Cordova to 7th, turned around (somehow) and headed back really running now, to 4th. A handler tried to help by stopping the team and got all tangled up with dogs ail over him. Finally the team turned back in the right direction on Cordova to 6th, then turned toward town on 6th back to Cordova to 9th and back on Cordova headed for 4th, turned back at 4th and on the way again. By this time another team slightly tangled with it, but both teams running. I thought O.K. Next thing I knew here came our renegade team through Checkpoint #1 again. It obviously had left Cordova, probably about 6th street, headed for town and made a complete circle. I really don’t know where it got back onto 4th street for I was really surprised when I realized it was the same team coming through Checkpoint #1 again. I guess that team decided the only way they were going to get back to the finish line was to make the complete circuit.

Several of the teams leave the trail at 6th, 5th and 9th streets the first day, but seems to have the idea by the second and third days. I really believe the movie cameras for TV should pay more attention to Checkpoint #1 on the first day if they want to catch all the excitement.

Now, back to the excitement at Tudor Road crossing, Checkpoint #9, KL7HEK Art. His vehicle was his cabover van. Early in the day he found he wasn’t getting enough heat to his heater mounted back midway in the van, so he lifted the cover over the motor and propped it open a-ways to let in motor heat. He had a gasket gone in the motor, which let a lot of fumes escape right into where Art was sitting. Looking back now, many of us, including Art, can see where he hadn’t been acting right, nor responding right. He finally had been, clear out, for some time, but came to, to realize I was checking teams back through at 4th and Cordova that he hadn’t seen. He asked me how come. By then I was sure something was wrong, so I told him to secure his station and go home. He tried to, but killed his motor and didn’t have enough strength to start:it again, only had enough strength to hit the mike button to say “Beth I NEED HELP”, and faded out. KL7HIU, Bob, at the police station heard him, and realizing something was radically wrong, immediately dispatched an ambulance. From then on things happened fast and very efficiently. KL7HAC, Charlie, at home monitoring, left at once, and got to Art ahead of the ambulance. Also, KL7GNW, WA0HVA, WA9HJZ and many others responded, helped get Art out of the van and into the ambulance and eventually got the van home for us. If KL7HIU hadn’t been on the ball and all of those others hadn’t acted so fast Art would be dead today. from Carbon-Monoxide poisoning. The doctors said Art’s size had saved his life and even then two more minutes would have pulled the final curtain down. Art gave the nurses and doctors a bad time for a good while, but is home, fat, sassy and lazy as ever now. He says he owes his life now to his fat, so now has one more argument against losing any weight, HI!! Art and I both want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who helped so freely and efficiently in saving Art’s life last Friday. WA0HVZ stayed right there at the hospital Friday night with Art and me until nearly 7 p.m.

Thank you all!! Aren’t Hams Wonderful!!

KL7HEJ, Beth Clark

1977 – The Big news for the month of February is the annual Fur Rendezvous dog races, which we will be assisting again this year. Several stations are still needed to cover checkpoints, and the business meeting will deal mainly with the preparations for this event. Bill Reiter. KL7ITI will be the chairman for the event this year. If you will be able to help, or wish to reserve a particular checkpoint, do call Bill as soon as possible. Wilse, KL7CQ will be heading up the teletype system. Never done a race? – – – attend the general meeting and find out what is going on.