They are well-fed, conditioned athletes with individual and team sponsors, biographies on the web and a loyal following of fans. Beemer and Viper don’t demand paw sanitizer and honey lemonade when meeting and greeting fans. In fact, as they trot across the Verizon Wireless store parking lot in Fairbanks, Alaska where its 20 degrees below zero, you won’t see an ounce of discomfort in these racing canines. Unlike standard pro athlete store appearances, fans of dog mushing sit alongside the stars of Alaska’s most unique sport, and enjoy hands-on petting time.
Beemer and Viper are 7-year-old Alaskan Huskies – owned, trained and fed up to 10,000 calories per day by Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore. Zirkle and Moore are mushing legends in Alaska, and recently sponsored by Verizon. They will compete in the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race beginning March 7th; a journey of more than 1,000 miles to be completed in eight days, weather permitting.
After earning runner-up honors in 2014, Aliy is training hard and preparing her dogs for the race of a lifetime.
The Iditarod traces its roots to a life-saving dog mushing trip in 1925 that delivered 300,000 units of serum to Nome in time to save the village from a diphtheria epidemic. With the port of Nome closed due to winter ice, dog sleds were the only way to deliver medicine and other supplies.
Verizon’s sponsorship of Aliy, Allen and SP Kennel provides the team with new smartphones, two GoPro cameras and other accessories, enabling advantages in race training and preparation. Although two-way communication devices are not allowed to be used by competitors during the Iditarod or Yukon Quest (another 1,000-plus mile race) SP Kennel race handlers will update the SP Kennel blog page and post photos to Instagram and Facebook.
Scott Charlston is a public relations manager with Verizon Wireless. Follow him on Twitter at: @VZWScott.