I've never heard of anyone else doing this before and couldn't be more tickled that it's me these people chose to sponsor. Here's the story....
A month or so ago I got an email from a woman (her name is Karla) who lives near Seattle and expressed interest in "sponsoring" an Iditarod musher as a birthday gift for a friend. Karla said she had a group of people who wanted to sponsor me to secure a ride in my sled down 4th Ave. As much as i hated to, I told her that she could do that, but would have to do it through the Iditarider auction. Once I informed her that ITC received all that money, not me, she said, "we want to sponsor you". She said this friend, Arlene, would rather develop a relationship with me, then have the glory of the ride down 4th Ave....FOOL!!! Just kidding! I offered Arlene, Karla and any who are going to accompany Arlene to the start, a kennel tour here and an invitation to the open house at Happy Trails kennels on the Friday before the race. So, things got rolling and Karla got word out about the sponsorship. On the night of the big surprise party, last Friday night, I was set to make a phone call to Karla at precisely 7:45. By then, the party was in full swing. All got quiet, someone put a fur coat on Arlene and informed her she had a phone call. On speaker phone I said hello to Arlene and asked her if she knew who it was. She didn't recognize the voice....I said..."that's probably because we've never met." Anyway, I got to spring the surprise.....that all the people in the room and some from around the world, were sponsoring my 2010 Iditarod run in her honor. That she was invited to come to Alaska for the 2010 Iditarod start and would be accompanied by a group of those friends. She was quite surprised and a bit speechless. The phone call was short. I let her get back to her party. Oh and how much did Arlene's friends pitch in for a sponsorship.....$1800!! I can't wait to meet Karla and Arlene. They both must be very special people!!!
BTW, I think Karla chose to sponsor me because Arlene is a retired teacher and so am I. Well, OK, so I'm not retired yet, but I am a teacher.
These are some pics of the party!! Sure wish I could have been there. However, as all of you that know me can already figure from the pics.....I wouldn't have had a thing to wear! Doesn't look like your typical Alaskan party!!
For link to the web page for more info on Arlene's birthday gift.....http://www.bestmemories.com/arlenesbirthday/adventure.html