At Sourdough, Copper Basin 300 Dog Race Volunteers Build Checkpoint Using Wall Tents

SOURDOUGH CHECKPOINT  10 Below with Northern Lights & 5 mph. All systems go.  Volunteers Build Wall Tents For Copper Basin 300   (Photos...


10 Below with Northern Lights & 5 mph. All systems go. 

Volunteers Build Wall Tents For Copper Basin 300 

(Photos & Stories, Bruce Cain) 

The Sourdough checkpoint mobilized this week for the Copper Basin 300. The project involved clearing snow and setting up a mobile trailer for the veterinarian team, a 12x16 wall tent for the race volunteers and two 10x14 wall tents for the mushers. 

The tents and trailer were set up Thursday. A team will light up the camp this afternoon and detail everything in preparation for the arrival of the trail crew around midnight and the first race teams around 4AM Sunday morning. 

Race coordinator Jason Severs greets trail breaker crew at Sourdough Checkpoint. Saturday night at 11 pm. 

BLM Ranger Joe Crane 



Wednesday 2:00 PM AITRC Load tents, frames, stoves
Bruce Cain
Sterling Spilinek 
Dan Gorse
Kelsey Stanbro 
Ted Sanford

Thursday 1:00 PM meet at Sourdough to set up tents, frames, stoves and toy hauler.
Bruce Cain
Albert Craig
Tim Skiba
Nic Patterson 
Sterling Spilinek
Dan Gorse
Ted Sanford 
Nic Patterson

Sourdough Crews 

Saturday 1/14th


Set Up Crew/Operations (Crew gets camp operational and warm) Meet at Sourdough



Bruce Cain, Dan Gorze, Nic Patterson, Sterling Spilinek, Tim Skiba, Ann Fisher


Over Night Operations Crew (Maintains camp keeping equipment running, fill wood stoves) 2000-0600 Next Day


1.Tim Skiba

2.Bruce Cain

3. Caroline Ketron 


Sunday Operations Crew 1/15th




1.Nick Patterson 




1. Joe Bovee 




1.Edward GreyBear 


Sunday Checkers



First Musher Arrival Around 0400 -1000 (0415 the first musher arrives normally)


1. Tessa Wittman 

2. Shirley Cain 

3. Casey Flint 





1. LeeAnn McDonald 

2. Marnie Graham 

3. Ann Fisher 




1. Tamera Jones 

2. Shirley Cain 

3. Kelsey Stanbro 


1800-shutdown/lock up


1.     Shirley Cain 

2.     Tim Skiba 

3.     Bruce Cain 

4.     Recruit others to help on site.

What Do You Need To Do To Set Up A Single Checkpoint At Sourdough? 

UPDATED 12/5/2022.  Coordinate dates, times, tasks, and transportation with your crew.

This is a rough outline from past set up experience.


·       Make sure someone has cell phone compatible with Copper Valley service providers. (Verizon)




·       DURING WEEK OF RACE DAY (USUALLY WEDNESDAY AND/OR THURSDAY depending on the size of the support crew)

o   Schedule and coordinate a camp mobilization day.  (Ahtna, AITRC, BLM crews)

o   Get campground plowed

o   Get camp set up layout

o   Visit camp location with checkpoint coordinator/leaders and make sure there is a final plan for site set up that everyone agrees on.

o   Coordinate dumpster, outhouse, hay, and mushers bag placement location.

o   Make sure all the checkpoint supplies are staged, on hand or coming in by race day.

o   CHANGE THE OIL IN THE GENERATORS and make sure the oil it topped off and the generators run and generate 110 volts at a load.

o   On supplies gathered, PLEASE label everything as to who owns it, or it needs returned to with a Sharpie permanent marker.  Thank you.

o   Load Camp in Glennallen.  Tools, make sure you have two step ladders and basic carpentry tools.

§  12X14 volunteer tent frame and canvas tent (at AITRC)

§  12X16 Mushers tent frame and canvas tent (at AITRC)

§  12X14 Mushers tent frame and canvas tent (at AITRC)

·       Load and strap down to Ahtna and/or Cain flatbed trailers.

·       Barrel stoves, stove pipe, and dampers

·       Lathing and screws to connect and seal tents to frames.

·       Tools, make sure you have two step ladders and basic carpentry tools.  Battery drills, bits, and compatible fasteners.

§  Toy Hauler trailer (at BLM)

·       Take cover off propane tanks (and leave it off for the race)

·       Fill propane tanks (should be 2 ea. 40lb tanks.

·       Preferred: Glue 100-watt silicone heater to each tank.

·       Alternatively: Get heat lamp and blanket rigged up to keep propane tanks warm, then pack them for shipment to sourdough.  (Remember heavy duty arctic extension cord and 3-way plug)

·       Make SURE someone knows where the new RV electric connector for the toy hauler and it is where we can find it.

·       Truck to tow toy hauler

·       Connect and check tires and lights.

·       Test furnace if you can.

o   Haul camp to Sourdough and set up.

§  Set up tent frames

§  Install tent covers

§  Install wood stoves, pipe, and dampers

§  Stage toy hauler

§  Assemble as much pre-race gear in the tents or leave in the toy hauler as possible but leave stuff that will freeze or get stolen till race day.

o   Locate firewood supply and identify who will deliver it on Race Day.

o   Make a race day set up list.

o   Report in to race managers on status.

o   Make a race day final setup plan.

o   Secure key for the toy hauler.

·       THE DAY BEFORE RACE DAY.  The afternoon of 1/13/2023: Check through all gear staged and organizing tasks for sourdough checkpoint.

o   Get the 12-foot step ladder from Ahtna

o   Propane, tanks are filled and staying warm in BLM shop or Cains shop.

o   Organize Lights, extension cords, 3 way plug connectors, 2KW Honda generator.

o   Put together oil spill kit.  Rig up containment platform for the generators.

o   Make sure we have gas cans for the generators that can be poured out of without creating a mess.  (Might have to order some from Canada).

o   Make signs for mushers tent, volunteers tent and veterinary trailer

o   Coordinate who will make and deliver soup, cookies etc.

·       RACE DAY 1/14/2023

·       10:00 AM - Noon

o   Attend race start in Glennallen.  Fill in as needed.

o   Someone should start buddy heaters in the Toy Hauler at Sourdough by 10 AM to preheat everything.  This can be the firewood crew.

·       Noon – 1:30 

o   Get Gear in Glennallen, take it to Sourdough.

·       2:00-5:00

o   Get Generator Running Someone Arrive at Sourdough around noon.  Start in on these tasks it should take 2-3 hours to get these done.

o   Start furnace in Toy Hauler

o   Leave buddy heaters in Toy Hauler running to help the furnace to get it thawing out.

o   Set up barrel stoves and stove board paver blocks

o   Start fires in wood stoves and adjust bases.  Test to see how warm they get on the stove jacks, framing and walls.

o   Make sure firewood is staged and bucked up to stove length

o   Make sure there is enough firewood.  Get more coming if we need it.

o   Rig cords and lights to all tents, outdoor flood lights and generator station.

o   After cords are run, shovel show around tent bases for air seal and over cords running on the ground to provide cover to reduce tripping hazards

o   Set up table and Awning for checkpoint

o   Set up tables and chairs in the wall tents

o   Install signs

o   Organize the volunteer tent supplies, food, water, etc.

o   Spread hay on floor of mushers tents, keep hay away from the wood stoves.

o   Set up leader board

o   Set up thermometer

o   Check in with race central give weather report

o   Get update on trail breaker crew schedule.

·       5:00PM until startup of checkpoint depending on team progress

o   Bank Fires, stand by

o   make sure toy hauler gets warmed up enough

o   Put soup/brats/ribs etc. on wood stove in volunteer tent

o   Ensure communications are working

o   Fill in on tasks as needed

o   Rest/nap

o   Keep cars warmed up

o   Eat cookies and soup

·       Checkpoint start up.

o   Operate according to schedule.

·       After last teams out

o   Start shut down and secure take gear out or secure in toy hauler.

o   Demobe next week.


Supply/Tool List (partial)

·       Firewood cut to 18-24” lengths ½-1 cord depending on weather.  For outside barrel and 2 tent stoves.

·       Thermometer that goes to 100 below.

·       Generators

·       Generator insulating box

·       Spark plugs for generators

·       Engine oil for generators 3 quarts

·       Generator fuel

·       Funnel

·       Spill kit

·       Generator spill containment platform

·       Propane tanks topped off for toy hauler furnace

·       Battery operated drills with Torx T-25 bits and Phillips bits

·       Hammer and carpenters tool belt (square, tape measure, pencil, nails, sheetrock knife, etc.)

·       Clamp on light fixtures (8-10)

·       3-way extension cord connectors (6)

·       Extension cords (6-8) 25- and 50-foot arctic, heavy duty preferred

·       8X1 5/8 deck screw T-25 heads 1 lb. box

·       9X3 deck screw T-25 heads 5 lb. box

·       Pliers, multi blade screwdriver, 12” crescent

·       3/8 Drive socket set with spark plug socket

·       Basic toolbox

·       Cell phone chargers

·       Headlamps

·       Extra headlamp batteries

·       Backup handheld spotlights/lanterns in case generator goes out (it usually does)

·       Duct tape 2 rolls

·       Electrical tape (good wintry weather kind) 2 rolls

·       WD-40

·       Axe single bit

·       Maul or wedge if firewood is big and needs split.

·       Snow shovels 2

·       ¼ inch rope 100 feet

·       Chocolate chip cookies

·       Chocolate chip cookies gluten free

·       Oatmeal raisin cookies

·       Chili 2 1-gallon cans

·       Ground Coffee 1 can

·       Big soup pot with lid 1

·       Barbequed ribs 10#

·       Brats 4 packages

·       Big camp stove coffee pot – 2 (one for hot water, one for coffee)

·       Water bucket and dipper if getting water from the river

·       Bottled water

·       Garbage cans

·       Big trash bags 1 box

·       Small trash bags 1 box

·       Paper plates

·       Paper coffee cups big (for soup, chili and coffee)

·       Soup Ladle

·       Waterproof paper

·       Sharpie magic markers Black – 2

·       Hand pull sled

·       Toilet paper

·       Paper towels 1 case

·       Folding Chairs

·       Folding Tables

·       Blanket for door of volunteer tent with thumb tacks



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