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CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - The North Star Sled Dog Club hosted multiple sled-dog races in the first ever 'Spirit of the North' Winter Warrior sled dog race held Feb16 - 17 at Camp Ripley
"Mushers and teams came from all over the state to take part in 10, 25 and 40-mile races around the Camp Ripley Training Center," said Camp Ripley spokesperson Maj John Donovan
"This two day event is new to the variety of activities conducted on Camp Ripley," said Col Scott St Sauver, post commander for Camp Ripley "It's exciting to watch the racers and teams test their skills in this challenging sport," added St Sauver
Early risers were able to enjoy the view from the grand stand while they sipped hot chocolate The races started at 9 am on both days and lasted through the early afternoon
"It's great having so many people out here to see what we do and learn about sled dogs," said Bob Bzdok, event co-organizer "We are so pleased to be out here on Camp Ripley It was great not having to worry about running into hazards on the trail"
Most sled-dog races are held in state parks or along connecting trails accessible to snowmobilers and skiers Occasionally, the sled-dog trails will cross roads which cause a safety hazard for the racers and their teams according to Bzdok Although Camp Ripley is open to the public, the trails utilized by the racers were closed to foot and vehicle traffic
Of course, the dogs are the most popular aspect of the sport
"Most folks have never seen this kind of thing before; we get a lot of questions asking about how friendly the dogs are," said Club Veterinarian Jerry Vanek "They are excited athletes, but they'll be just as happy to lick your face as anything else," he added
The event put on by the North Star Sled Dog Club was the first of its kind in Morrison County and drew an estimated crowd of 500 people According to Bzdok, everyone involved stressed how impressed they were with the support from Camp Ripley and the racers are looking forward to coming back next year
Feb 17, 2012
Photos and story by Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs Office
Posted: 2015-11-25 09:37 AM ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative (WVI), a group orientated toward networking Minnesota women military members and veterans brought 16 service(wo)men from all services, ages and backgrounds together, November 12, to assist in a Habitat for Humanity build. Eleven of the 16 women are current or former Minnesota National Guardsmen.
"We started celebrating Veterans Day this way in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy coming back each year to build," said Trista Matascastillo, program officer for Veterans Voices and chairman for the WVI. "We learn new skills, build our own confidence and make new friends. There are 27,000-plus women vets in Minnesota and so often we hear that women veterans feel isolated and alone and having events like this is just another way to bring us out and together."
The group started in the morning with a brief on the tasks for the day and quickly got to work, going above and beyond by organizing the work-site and making sure there was a high attention to detail.
The event featured a C-130 tour for any of the attendees, which included girls as young as nine. Following the tour, the documentary film 'Girl Rising' was featured and ended with a panel discussion. Topics included overcoming obstacles, mentors and people who have inspired them along the way.
"I think events like this are essential in opening our doors to the community and raising awareness about important issues not only local, but around the world - often these are places many of our wing members have deployed to," said Master Sgt. Theresa Mensinger, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Non-commissioned officer.
Posted: 2015-11-16 07:47 AM DULUTH, Minn. - With the handing-off of the 148th Fighter Wing's flag on Saturday, Col. Jon Safstrom has become the new wing commander.
The Duluth native assumed the leadership role from Col. Frank Stokes, who is leaving Duluth after leading the 148th for more than six years to become chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
During Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony at the Minnesota Air National Guard base in Duluth, Stokes passed the flag of the 148th "Bulldogs" to Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, who then passed the flag to Safstrom, symbolizing the accepting of the command.
Posted: 2015-11-12 12:51 PM BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing and employees from Best Buy Corporate joined forces to support Operation Gratitude at the Best Buy corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Minn., Friday, Nov. 6, 2015.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. Every year, Operation Gratitude sends more than 150,000 individually-addressed care packages to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed overseas.
On Friday, more than 30 members from the 133rd Airlift Wing worked side-by-side with employees of Best Buy Corporate to pack bags filled with snacks, small electronics and other items to be shipped to deployed military members overseas. The efforts paid off and the group packed nearly 1,800 bags in under an hour.