Get Beckie to Beargrease!
Have you ever had a dream so big it changed everything?
Meet Beckie Hacker, a vet tech extraordinaire who, after attending to thousands of elite canine athletes on the sideline of Midwest races, had a big change of her big heart.
She admired the tight bonds mushers forged with their dog teams, training for hundreds and hundreds of miles under tough conditions that require grit and trust--and she knew she had to have that, too. So she gave up the comfort of a house in the suburbs and a profession in which she was highly admired. She built with her own two hands a trailer to travel with her dogs and she moved to Alaska during the summer and a remote cabin in the winter to live her dream. In fact, that's what she calls her racing team: Dream Big Kennel (DBK)! Beckie's dream is to run the 1000+ grueling Iditarod Sled Dog Race across Alaska. She's got one qualifying race under her belt (the UP 200). And now she's going after her second qualifier - the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race in Minnesota, which starts January 31, 2016.
To get there, she needs our help - FAST.
Here are 4 ways you help Beckie's dream come true
1. [$100] Sponsor a Dream Big Dog!
2. [$50] Be a FixxerUpper: Keep DBK in top shape!
3. [$25] Be a FuellerUpper: Keep DBK moving!
4. [$Name it]: Any amount you can share!
Diamond (Leader) "Hey, let's get a move-on!"
Diamond is a leader from Al Hardman's kennel. She's a young dog that is very good up front! She will go through anything and is not a quitter! Her dad, Eider, was out of Susan Butchers kennel and was a multiple Iditarod finisher in lead for Al. Her all business attitude she definitely got from him!
Vanny (2014 - Team) (on the right) "Im a BIG dog now!"
Vanny is out of the Chief Vet Litter (ToftexAlpine) and he is doing fantastic! He has run in lead a little bit but Beckie is focusing on his work ethic and drive instead of his brains at the moment! He is a hard worker and is training with the big dogs for racing this season!
Let's do this!!!
A very touching night at the end of a wonderful race. Beckie Hacker finishes in 8th and wins the red lantern award for the final musher to cross the finish line. Hugs and laughs and smiles...as the lady who has helped so many other teams get to the finish line over the years is finally across that finish line herself.
This was Beckie's first Beargrease, and it sure wasn't easy. Her shoulder will be looked at and probably x-rayed tomorrow, but only after the marathon award ceremony. The crowd on hand at the finish line at Billy's Bar tonight was A good bit more lively than those intrepid souls who were there at 5:20 AM to see Nathan Schroeder come across for the win. Both moments equally exciting, but for far different reasons.
And guiding her all the way to her goal this evening was a little friend – we will just call him "Nome gnome". Pictured below is that little gnome that represents a much bigger Nome she intends to visit one day, and she'll do it by dogsled. With one of her two needed Iditarod qualifiers now behind her, she plans to run Alaska's longest race in 2018.
And how notable it was that it would be none other than 4-time Beargrease champ Jamie Nelson to bring out the traditional lantern given as a symbolic gift for the final musher to reach the finish.
A wonderful night for a great spirited person, and what an amazing show of what we stand for. It was simply the perfect end to another beautiful edition of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.
To see the pictures:
Race update: "Breakfast at Billy's...and a story of courage"
- It will soon be time for a rest for this tired hombre. There will likely be some other team members dropping in with some info as they're able through the night. Why not join us for a little breakfast at Billy's?! If you leave hungry, you didn't try hard enough!
Speaking of 'trying hard enough'... the word "tough" is being re-defined in these hours. Beckie Hacker, bib #4, has left the Sawbill checkpoint. Normally, the people toward the back of the pack run a solitary race with little to no attention. And Beckie certainly hasn't been looking for any.
But she's earned it.
On the up-bound run just before Sawbill, she took a spill with her sled, landing squarely on one unfortunate shoulder. All mushers have taken spills. Occasionally they are painful. More rarely - damage is done. We'll just say that while she is going to be OK, she is in real pain. A doctor was consulted at Trail Center and further examination is in her plans as soon as she's done with this race.
Those who know Beckie know that her level of determination to keep going is - well - simply not going to be overshadowed by her pain. And her team was looking healthy and happy.
Visiting with her before the Trail Center departure, she had a small cheering section encouraging her to do what she felt was right. What's right for Beckie and for Beckie's dogs. She was laughing and joking with the volunteers and her handling crew. And then she pulled the hook. The dogs happily tugged her out onto Poplar Lake. "There's just not much quit in me" she said in a recent interview.
What ever happens tonight - think of that person at the back of the pack. Think hard about what they're trying to accomplish. For some, it's a crazy dream to run a certain Alaskan race. Others will say - "I just want to be on the trail with my dogs and see what they're willing and able to show me."
For her...this particular race seems to be about both. "The dogs aren't done yet, so I'm not done yet" she said.
Getting to the finish line is her mission tonight and we'd love to see her get there. Kind and smart people are keeping an eye on things as her team runs to Finland checkpoint. There she'll probably re-assess things just like she's done at the past 5 checkpoints.
We're with you either way, Beckie.