Harry's mentor is 2 time Yukon Quest and Iditarod champion Lance Mackey.
From Lance Mackey's Comeback Kennel webpage:
Welcome Harry Alexie to our team!Harry Alexie comes to us from Kwethluk, Alaska. He and the National Guard have teamed up to run the 2009 Iditarod. Harry has leased a dog team from us, not as an adventure but a challenge. He will be training and running races with us all season, please be sure to make him feel welcome and encourage him in his Iditarod journey.
Harry is no stranger to mushing, he has been mushing most of his life. He attended the Kwethluk Community School and the Alaska Vocational Technical Center and has been with the Alaska Army National Guard for 13 years, working as the Personnel Service NCO for the 2nd Battalion 297th Infantry in Bethel, AK. He enjoys traditional hunting and fishing, and reading. He is married to Sharon and they have two children, Raymond and Joette.
The Mackey Kennel is honored to help Harry and the Alaska Army National Guard reach their goals. In the Alaska Army National Guard - YOU CAN!
Alaska Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Harry Alexie runs 10 sled dogs on an 18-mile practice run near two-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey’s Comeback Kennel training facility in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 2008.
Source: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Paizley Ramsey
The really cool thing about Harry is that my friend and Idita-Sista, Janet will be Harry's Idita-Rider this year. Idita-Riders are those adventure-seekers who are the highest online bidders, winning an exclusive ride in the sled basket of an Iditarod musher for the first 11 miles of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. For the past 2 years Janet has been Lance's Idita-Rider!
As the final days of this year's auction approached, Janet had decided to wait until the last few minutes to start bidding on Harry. This is her account of that evening:
Life got frantic in the "T" household when the computer froze just 8 minutes before the bidding for Harry Alexie, the musher I wanted to ride with in this year's Ceremonial Start.
As fate would have it he was listed as the last musher to be auctioned.
If we failed to win with our bid on him there would be no Idita-ride this year.
No problem. We've done this successfully for two years. Third time should be just business as usual.
We talked to Kit hours earlier when the auction started to share the excitement. We had a lovely chat explaining how the bidding worked and together we watched a couple of mushers get bid on and closed out. We said our good-byes. Little did we know how crucial a role she would play just hours later in our bidding.
Waiting....waiting....pizza....beer.....waiting.....waiting.....down to the last 4 mushers.
Then a Norton Update struck and froze our computer!
NOTHING would kick start it.
There went the 2009 Idita-ride.
But NO, WAIT......Kit knows all about this now.We phoned Kit who was still at her computer watching the auction.
After a mini-freeze on her computer, she was able to open our account and bid on Harry!
OK, we're in and we're the high bid. But wait...someone else outbid us.
No problem. We upped it by the required $100.
No...it told Kit our bid did not outbid the current bid. So we had to up it by $200.
That worked. We were high bid again.
Then the REAL agony started. After a bid has been made, the countdown clock on that musher is reset for three minutes.
Can you hold your breath for 3 minutes?
So she had to keep refreshing the page to see those three agonizingly slow minutes tick down.
Nothing.....no other bid....2 minutes....still no higher bid....1 minute....30 seconds...........................................................10 seconds...............WE DID IT!
Screaming in PA and GA.
It was my pleasure to be a part of the excitement!
Besides, I've always enjoyed spending someone else's money! (chuckle)
I can't wait to watch Harry and Janet ride off down 4th Ave!
Janet held an Idita-Skate event in Bethlehem, PA last week.
Read all about it here:
I spent the weekend worrying about the story concerning Coco and Cookie. I sent a message to the "owner" listed on the email I received. I never had a reply, so I did a Google search and discovered that this same story is circulating all over the country, indicating that the dogs live in different areas of the country, from coast to coast.
At this point I am skeptical. I have read a report stating that the dogs found a home in So. Cal...I do hope that much is true!
I'll keep you posted if I get more info on this confusing situation.
If you can offer any additional info, please leave me a comment.