Dawson City, Yukon Friday, September 13, 2002

The Go-Go Girls (on the left) didn't seem to have the speed at the beginning, but they took the race. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Go-Go Girls Capture First Place
Outhouse Race Is for the Fun of It
Canada Council Spending up 187% in the Yukon in Five Years
Elder Mason Honoured in Dawson
School Opens with a Bang
The Annual Klondike Classic Open Horse Show
CBC North to Reinstate Dawson City Transmitter
In Search of the Lost Klondiker
Dempster Highway Makes Top Ten Scenic Drive List

Welcome to the Sept 13, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 30 photographs and 22 articles that were in the 24 page Sept. 10 hard copy edition. This edition is late in getting posted because ye editor has now returned to teaching (part time this year) after his sabbatical year and is having trouble adjusting to the pace.

The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, Diane O'Brien's "Camp Life" cartoon, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here, including the runner up entries in the Authors on Eighth writing contest. You are missing a lot if you're just reading the on-line edition.

We encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online (38,148 since July 2000 and about 25,000 on the original counter before that), and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers. See our home page for subscription information.

An Appeal to Our Readers

Our webmaster has been carrying the cost of this site since it began in March, 1996. That means our volunteer based non-profit paper has been able to appear on the world wide web for free. In the very near future we are going to have to start paying for the hosting service which allows us to exist. About 600 people read this paper every time it goes on line. If most of you could forward a few dollars to the address on the homepage (Bag 6040, Dawson City, YT, Y0B 1G0) we could afford to keep this online edition going without much of a strain.

Go-Go Girls Capture First Place

by Dan Davidson


The Go-Gos also took the limerick contest. Their entry had to do with a long wait for relief, which may be obvious from the stance. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Go-Go Girls proved that doing three shows nightly at Diamond Tooth Gerties has forged a team that sure can-can run. The five ladies took the 25th running of the Dawson Outhouse Race in a respectable time of 11 minutes and 18 seconds, making them the fastest team overall and the fastest female team in the race. The prize for the effort was $100.

It probably would not be fair, however, to compare these young ladies to the other women's team, the Long Johns Silvers. Half of that team, led by Mary Fitton, was composed of women who had first run the outhouse race 25 years ago, and the remaining two members were recruited off the street just minutes before the race was begun.

It might not be a surprise to learn that this group came in dead last. After visiting every bar along the route, they dragged in after 2 hours and 10 minutes. Fitton joked that the judges had set a time limit for her team.

The fastest mixed team, and in second place overall, was a group called the Lucky Pooos. with a time of 11:47. They, too, received $100.

The fastest male team, the Running of the Caripoo, arrived third with a time of 15:28.

The Pit of the Pit team, while very Pretty in Pink, was not in the running with a time of 17 minutes.

The Black Hills Billies was a team composed of the runners who won this race back in 1977. A little the worse for the mileage they've traveled since, it took them 28:09 to haul their butts back to the finish line.

Aside from the prizes for speed, the judges handed out some special event awards. Both of the 1977 vintage teams received participation medals.

The Most Humorous Outhouse Award went to the Black Hills Billies.

The Best Overall Outhouse was won by the Long Johns Silvers.

The Most Pooh Deposited in Town Award went to the Pit from the Pit, which left droppings composed of a disgusting mixture of mud and corn everywhere they went.

The final touch of the competition was the limerick contest, which took place during the awards ceremony, in between shows at Diamond Tooth Gerties. The winners of this contest were the Go-Go Girls, who won for both "content and structure" according to the judges, leaving the crowd in the casino to wonder just what that might mean.

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Outhouse Race Is for the Fun of It

by Dan Davidson


The Long Johns Silver team was spearheaded by people who have been running in this race for 25 years, since 1977. Mary Fitton led the team. Photo by Dan Davidson

The 25th running of the annual outhouse race was a good deal faster than anyone on the planning team expected. Two teams pulled up at the finish line just over 11 minutes after the starting signal had sent them off to the west on Queen Street.

True, the race was shorter this year by a good bit. being only about 12 blocks long instead of the old route that used to take in half the town's perimeter. This year the race began at Diamond Tooth Gerties, headed west on Queen, jogged north on Third over to King Street, cut west to Second, and south back to Queen, west to Front Street, south to Princess, east to Fifth Avenue, north to Queen and back to Gerties.

While it wasn't a really long race course, there was a requirement to make eleven stops along the route as part of a scavenger hunt.

The teams had to return with the name of Klondike Kate's Smoothie of the Day, a roofing screw from Dawson Hardware, a chocolate toe from the Downtown Hotel, a pastry from Riverwest, a baby cone (with no ice cream) from Klondike Cream and Candy, a Polaroid snapshot from Peabody's, a drink umbrella from Bombay Peggy's, an Eldorado Hotel pen, a business card from Dominion Shell, some letterhead and some answers from the Triple J Hotel, and, last of all, a drink coaster from Diamond Tooth Gerties.

There is a suspicion that most of the teams sped up the process by keeping their outhouses moving while runners collected the goodies. There was a rule against this sort of thing but without monitors at each site, it really wasn't enforceable. Justine McKellar, race coordinator, says that the KVA will have to look at ways of combating the problem next year.

The race route was shortened, she said, because of the change in its essential nature over the last five years or so. It used to be that there were two classes of contestants: 1) those who were in it for the race and 2) those who were in it for the costume show. These days the serious racers are gone (saving themselves for the Skagway to Whitehorse Relay race perhaps) and the fun racers have taken over.

The names and costumes tell the tale. The Running of the Caripoo team wore hats that looked disgustingly like coiled droppings.

The Pit of the Pit came from the Westminster Hotel, and left a trail of pretend pooh in their wake.

The Go-Go Girls from Gerties looked like refugees from an Austin Powers movie, and had both the moves and the soundtrack to go with their outfits.

Both the Black Hills Billies and the Long Johns Silver team actually featured people who had run in this race 25 years ago.

"This year it was more for light hearted fun." McKellar said, "so we made it easier to get involved." Her own outfit, along with Wendy Burns', was a one piece white coverall which proclaimed her to be an official with Toxic Waste Management. No wonder Wendy had trouble giving away surplus pastries to the crowd after the race was over.

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Canada Council Spending up 187% in the Yukon in Five Years

by Dan Davidson


Jean-Louis Roux, chairman of the Canada Council, addresses the Dawson arts community. Photo by Dan Davidson

As he began his remarks to the gathering at the Oddfellows' Hall in Dawson on August, Jean-Louis Roux noted that locals might sometimes feel that the territorial capital gets more attention than the Klondike capital.

"But you'll be pleased to know," said the chairman of the Canada Council for the Arts, "that this is the first official even of our visit and that the people in Whitehorse will just have to wait until later this week."

The board, made up of representatives from all across the nation, meets four times a year, and tries to make sure that one of those meetings takes place outside the National Capital Region. Never before has it been to the Yukon.

"It was 45 years ago, in Marc 1957, that the Council held its very first meeting in Ottawa. So this is a very special year for is and one of the ways we are celebrating it is by holding our meeting in a part of the country where the Board had never met before.

"This year, we're dividing the meeting between Dawson City and Whitehorse."

The council travels, Roux said, to gain first-hand knowledge of how things are progressing in the arts in Canada, and also to show the flag by making more and more people in the arts community aware of the Council and what it can do for them.

Roux was quite specific about the council's desire to court the media and local governments to enhance awareness of the arts and of the council's programs.

"Statistics Canada tells us," he said, "that the number of artists in Canada has increased by nearly one-third over the past 10 years, and that the broader cultural sector is one of the fastest growing areas of our economy, employing more than 640,000 Canadians."

As a result of this, applications to the Canada Council have risen by 42% over the past six years. Roux is grateful that this year, at least, the council had an additional $75 million to pump into projects, this thanks to a three year federal funding initiative that dropped $500 million into the arts, culture and heritage area.

It's not enough, he told his audience. The demand far exceeds the available resources.

Apparently, more and more people in the Yukon have become aware of the council, for its involvement in projects here has risen by 187% over the last five years, topping off at $413,000 in 2001-2002.

In Dawson City, the biggest chunk of that funding is the $33,000 which goes into supporting the quarterly residencies at the Berton House Writer's Retreat.

"Not only," said Roux, "does this organization provide an important opportunity for writers from across Canada to learn about the north, it also is a fitting tribute to the great Canadian writer and Dawson City native, Pierre Berton."

The largest single grant in the territory went to Nakai Theatre Ensemble, which scored $92,700 last year for its various programs, some of which have traveled outside of Whitehorse.

The Yukon Arts Centre Corporation accessed $35,000, while the Yukon International Storytelling Festival received $32,300.

Smaller groups and individuals also received grant funding, examples being the Peters Drury Trio ($20,000) and Kim Barlow (2 grants totalling $17,600).

Roux introduced the board members and staff to the assembled arts community and everyone got down to some serious networking.

The board was in Dawson for a little over a day. They might have arrived sooner on Tuesday but the airport was fogged in here. Once they did arrive they had a hectic afternoon and evening, taking in a production of "Songs of Shär Cho" at the Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre in advance of dinner at Klondike Kate's and the evening reception.

They had the next morning to look around the town before heading into Whitehorse on Wednesday afternoon.

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Elder Mason Honoured in Dawson

by Dan Davidson


Newt Webster's larger than life portrait looks down on him from the window of the Masonic Temple. Photo by Dan Davidson

The oldest member of Yukon Lodge #45 of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons got a bit of a surprise on August 10. Eighty-nine year old Newt Webster has been invited to the Masonic Temple at Queen Street and 4th Avenue for what he thought was a simple get together and a lunch to discuss the continuing renovations to the interior of the building.

That wasn't quite it.

"We're declaring it Newt Webster Day," said Tom Mickey to the surprised elder brother of his order. "Is that okay?"

"Well, I can't stop you," said the bewhiskered Brother Webster. "You're bigger and younger than I am."

"Being that you're our senior member," said Mickey, "a 57 year member ... that you're famous for sitting out on this step, that you're the backbone of this Lodge and you're giving us hell all the time when we don't do things right ... we've probably done something today that's gonna irk you a little bit."

Outside the former Carnegie Library the impromptu ceremony continued as Mickey pried a large sheet of cardboard out of one of the window frames on the front of the building, revealing a several times life sized portrait of Newt wearing his favourite Yukon Transportation Maintenance ball cap and bearing the legend Brother Newton E. Webster, along with the day's date.

It was fitting tribute for the elder Freemason, who winds his way to the steps of the lodge from his home on King Street on each of his daily walks, in all manner of weather, whenever he can possibly make it. He's the guardian of the temple and speaks to anyone who happens by to share his perch in the evenings. Lately, he's fastened a piece of masking tape with his name on it just under the logo on the cap so people will know his name, but with Big Brother Newt looking down on him, name plate and all, that will no longer be necessary.

Mickey explained that the painting was done by Jacqueline Boily, a university art student, based on a photograph that was taken just over a year ago during the cornerstone ceremony for the building.

The location for the painting was prompted by the fact that one of the windows the organization has set out to replace with proper historical looking panes turned out to be a fake.

When the Carnegie Library was first built, there were 35 real windows, but sometime after the Masons took over in 1934, the central staircase was relocated to one side of the building to make a larger room upstairs, and one window was blocked off. Instead of a sectioned window like the other 34 will be, this one is now a gigantic poster with Newt embedded between the panes of glass.

"Well, now I won't have to tell anyone who I am," said the pleased Webster.

Inside the building most of the tin covered, embossed walls have been sandblasted to get the old, unsightly, peeling paint off them so the interior can be restored. It's a job that Mickey expects will take awhile yet, but he's certain Newt will be around to see that they do it right. One way or another, Big Brother will be watching.

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School Opens with a Bang

by Dan Davidson


Three of the seven broken windows at Robert Service School can be seen in this picture. Photo by Dan Davidson

While most of the students at the Robert Service School seemed content to be returning to classes on August 20, some unidentified person wasn't at all happy with the school. At least, seven broken windows in less than a week would make it seem so.

Classes began for the 224 students who were registered at the time on the day after the Discovery Days long weekend. Students were treated once again to a pancake breakfast by the staff, who had already met as a group for several hours on the holiday Monday. Most of the young scholars were more anxious to meet their homeroom teachers and get their lockers than they were to eat.

The first broken window was spotted on that Monday, and the rest followed in short order, Most of them were in the Ancillary Room or the Music Room, ground level areas with lots of windows easily accessible from Fifth Avenue.

Police are working on the matter, but there have been no results so far. Speculation is that the culprit has left town.

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The Annual Klondike Classic Open Horse Show


Horse Show. Photo by Jodie Groves

Grey skies, cool temperatures, even occasional drizzle, did not deter thirty-six determined riders from competing in the recent horse show, hosted by the Klondike Horseman's Association and the Bits 'n' Bridles Horse 4-H Club. The show was held on August 24 & 25, at the HoofBeats Equestrian Center in Henderson Corner. Horses and riders came from Whitehorse, Dawson City, and Sunnydale, to participate in this year's show, and all reported having had a good time.

The weather mostly co-operated on both days, and the rain held off during the daytime, at least. We even saw a bit of sunshine on Sunday! Unfortunately, many days of rain before the weekend had the grounds fairly saturated, and riders had to contend with somewhat slippery footing at one end of the arena, which was blocked off for most of the show.

We were very pleased to have Ms. Edith Sands, of Fairbanks, Alaska, as our judge for the weekend. Ms. Sands was also able to spend a few extra days in Dawson City, and enjoy some of the sites and activities.

Riders of all ages and skill levels competed in several different disciplines during the two-day event, including dressage, English riding, jumping, Western riding, trail, and rodeo-style gymkhana events, such as keyhole and barrel racing. Spectators were also treated to some special entertainment on Sunday, during the musical freestyle competition. For this, riders must choreograph their own riding routine, complete with appropriate costume, music, and props. Great tunes, much talent, and just plain fun were the order of the day!

Top honours for the weekend went to:

Walk/Trot Hi-Point: Stefanie Cayen; Reserve: David Gammie
Novice Hi-Point: Kaitlyn Silvester (Whose); Reserve: Lindsey Dixon (Whse)
Pee Wee Hi-Point: Spencer Sumanik (Whse); Reserve: Kathryn Morrison
Junior Hi-Point: Caitlin Gammie; Reserve: Anna Caitlyn Sumanik (Whse)
Senior Hi-Point: Julia Fellers; Reserve: Hillary Gladish (Whse)

All youth participating in the show were placed in groups of three for a Youth Team Award. Congratulations to the highest-ranking team: Kaitlyn Silvester, Lindsay Baxter, and Caitlin Gammie.

Our sponsors are too numerous to mention here, but the Klondike Horseman's Association and the Bits 'n' Bridles Horse 4-H Club would like to extend huge thanks to everyone who supported us in this year's show. You were all so generous, and this show could not happen without you! Many thanks are also extended to our numerous volunteers and helping hands - you are also an important part of our show, and your help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to Gordon and Carlene Kerr, who have always contributed so much to our shows over the past six years. Their path is undecided for the time being, but we would like to wish them the very best of luck in whatever their future undertakings might be.

Thanks to the Klondike Visitors Association as well, for their generous grant, which enabled us to purchase some necessary supplies, and carry out some much-needed repairs & maintenance.

See you next year!

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CBC North to Reinstate Dawson City Transmitter

In response to the concerns raised by listeners, CBC North announced today that the AM radio frequency 560 will stay on air. CBC North Director of Radio, Mike Linder reassured listeners that Yukoners will not lose service.

"We will consult with the people in the community and look at what

options are available to either maintain the AM signal or ensure a FM signal can fully serve the people in the area," Linder said.

The AM transmitter in Dawson City was to be decommissioned today (September 10, 2002).

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In Search of the Lost Klondiker

by Dan Davidson


This lady has lost her mate. Another piece of Klondike memorabilia hits the road. Photo by Dan Davidson

A man has been added to the list of memorabilia liberated from the Klondike this summer.

For several years now this gentleman has been perched with his lady friend on top of the Welcome to Dawson City kiosk at the south end of the town boundary, waving merrily to oncoming traffic in the company of his Klondike garbed lady friend. The two of them made a fine couple, standing on the second floor balcony of the kiosk.

It must have taken a bit of an effort to separate him from his mate, but someone managed to do it sometime in August, according to the people who reported him missing. Perhaps the same person or persons also swiped half of the centennial banners from the poles on both sides of the kiosk.

At any rate, if you see a lonesome Klondike gentleman pining for his true love somewhere, please let the folks at the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce or the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture know where he is.

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Dempster Highway Makes Top Ten Scenic Drive List

The Dempster Highway has made the list of the Life Network top 10 scenic drives in the country.

"It's a credit to the co-operative marketing partnership that exists between the industry and government that the Yukon is high on everyone's list," said Business, Tourism and Culture Minister Dale Eftoda. "With everyone working together we are able to send out a clear and consistent message that the Yukon is a great place to visit, to live and to do business."

On its website, Life Network describes the Dempster Highway as one of Canada's most beautiful drives and recommends a fall trip for its spectacular autumn colours. Check out the Dempster Highway top ten listing at www.lifenetwork.ca.

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