Archives for Sep 2012 | News and Announcements | North Star Sled Dog Club

NSSDC Elects New Officers

This year, the positions of vice president and treasurer and the adult youth committee chair were up for election on the staggered schedule of officer elections. Joe Fessler was re-elected to the position of vice president. He was installed in this position last year as a result of the then vice president, Lyman Wolske, being elected to the presidency. Julie Schmelzer, a relative newcomer to NSSDC circles, was elected to be the new treasurer. In that there were no nominees to accept the position, the Adult Youth Committee Advisor remains vacant.

Vice president Joe Fessler’s involvement in the operation of mushing organizations is the next step in his goal of supporting the sled dog community and educating the broader public about the sport. Through his passion for mushing and his innovative ideas, he hopes “to contribute energy and promote collaboration amongst the various groups involved in the mushing community.”

He became involved in our sport around 2005 or 2006 with his Siberians in the skijoring events, where he has garnered many accolades. This young man lives life at 90 miles an hour. He is a board member of Mushing USA and a founding board member of Skijor USA. With a B.S. Degree in Computer Science, he is currently employed as senior software engineer. He is the founder of Experience Sled Dogs, an organization that provided a sled dog program for 141 girls of the Rum River Girl Scouts. Joe has been an integral member of the NSSDC race committee, lending his energy and expertise to, especially, the St. Paul Winter Carnival race. Fessler lives in Chisago City, MN, with his kennel of Siberian husky dogs.

NSSDC’s new treasurer Julie Schmelzer lives in Kimball, MN. She has been around the sport for thirteen years, mainly in the mid-distance classes. Schmelzer loves the outdoors, especially hiking, canoeing and camping. Although she received her education in recreational leadership and American Sign Language, which she freelances at, her true calling is for the outdoors. Her interests in hiking took her to Kenya, Africa, to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2009 with three other women. The climb took five days of hiking and camping. “The views were awesome.”

Back at home she resides with her hubby and her Siberians, which she races in the mid-distance classes. She especially enjoys the sport or rec class. Her next adventure? Only she knows!

Anti-Doping Training to be Offered

(International Federation of Sleddog Sports) secretary general Sally O’Sullivan Bair will tentatively be offering training for those interested in the IFSS canine anti-doping protocols. Bair is the only IFSS certified canine anti-doping official in North America. This two-day, weekend seminar will be offered in cooperation with the University of Minnesota Veterinary School.

The training will take place on the St. Paul campus, probably sometime in April, 2013. Dr. Jerry Vanek, DVM, will also present a short workshop to the vet students on doing race vet checks.

Bair has been in contact with Megan Pratt, Pre-Veterinary Club President at the University vet school. Pratt has expressed interest on the part of several of the vet students in such a training seminar and workshop.

The seminar is open to any interested person. One need not be a veterinarian or a vet student or a pharmacist or physician to attend (Bair is none of these!). Anyone wishing to participate in this valuable and interesting weekend seminar is asked to email Bair at


NSSDC Volunteers Needed

Winter Carnival Race: If you or someone you know is interested in helping with the planning and execution of the Winter Carnival race, please let Sally Bair or Joe Fessler know. In addition, we are seeking volunteers to be involved in the following events associated with the race: 

Kids Mutt Race:
NSSDC is still finalizing plans with Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet, but our hope is to have a number of events at their store locations to promote the Kids Mutt Race. These events would involve bringing dogs and equipment to walk families with children through everything they will need to know to get themselves ready to participate in the Kids Mutt Race. We plan to have a set “curriculum” developed by the time of the events. Although the dates are not established at this time, please let Joe Fessler know if you are interested in being involved. The Kids Mutt Race is usually for kids ages 8-15.

Winter Carnival Parades:
NSSDC would like to have representation in one or both of the Winter Carnival parades this year. Unfortunately, the daytime parade is typically the Saturday of our event. However, it would be fantastic if we can find a few non-racing members to handle this parade. The torch light parade is the following week during the evening sometime. Please let Bob Bzdok or Joe Fessler know if you are interested in being a part of the parade.

NSSDC Event at Infinite Campus:
Joe Fessler’s work has requested that the club come out this January on either the 3rd, 9th, or 10th during the work day to provide a brief talk on sled dogs and skijoring, some demos, and a handful of dog sled rides for the top contributors to the company’s Toys for Tots campaign. Please let Joe Fessler know if you are interested in being involved in this event and which of the dates would work for you. Note that the club will be receiving a donation from Infinite Campus for providing the programming.

Girl Scout Events:
Joe Fessler will be providing educational dog sled programming to a number of Girl Scout groups again this winter. He is looking for additional mushers to come and share their experiences with the scouts. Fessler has structured programming, including hands on activities, to be presented at these events. Please let him know if you are interested in participating, and he will provide additional details and dates/locations.

Midwest Mountaineering Winter Expo, Nov. 16-18:
NSSDC will require a handful of volunteers to occupy the booth Friday November 16 through Sunday November 18 during Expo hours. This involves talking to customers about the sport, the dogs, the club, upcoming events and promoting new membership applications. Please let Joe Fessler know if you are able to help out!

Volunteers are needed for the following North Star Sled Dog Club events and activities.

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