Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer

When I first started blogging, I had quite a few questions about how to get started. The first person to send me great advice and encouragement was Othmar at his blog Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer. He is VERY encouraging of women participation in outdoor activities, as evidenced by his recent post on "The Rise of the Huntress". In it he says, "The rise of the huntress has made our hunting heritage a true family affair that can involve the children and both parents, which has helped hunting to become a family activity." I recommend that you check out the full text of the post and his blog. He describes himself and his blog by saying, "Hunting and fishing is much more to me than just a pastime. It’s a way of life! This blog is dedicated to this way of life and the promotion of our rich North American outdoor heritage." You'll enjoy the quality writing in his posts, and the variety of hunting and fishing-related topics!

Promoting - Planning a Women in the Outdoors Event

Phew - the work is halfway done! I'm volunteering to co-coordinate a Women in the Outdoors event for our area. In my previous posts on Starting an Event, Choosing a Site, Selecting Courses, I describe how we ironed out all the detail of when, where and what. Next we are working on the "Who?". Who will attend? Well, no one is going to attend unless you promote the event!

The Women in the Outdoors organization provides great colorful posters for giving event details and contact information. In addition, we glued pamphlet holders to each poster and stuck 8-12 pamphlets in each one. these posters are placed, with permission, at various locations including: gas stations, grocery stores, fitness centers, retail stores, libraries. I did check back at a few of these places and had to re-fill the pamplets. The fitness centers seemed to do the best.

Word of mouth is a great way to get participants. Both of us had people we knew personally send in registrations, which was great! I also set up a small display in the lobby of a local Gander Mountain store and handed out brochures to women. It worked better when I just handed a brochure to each woman, rather than asking if they wanted one.

We also did the standard promotions of registering our event on websites, and sending a press release to local magazines and newspapers. We did get good results from the newspaper coverage - several people called me from that. For us, it was a good idea to double check the website registrations. We asked for our brochure to be uploaded to the national Women in the Oudoors website. I later checked it and saw that some of the page breaks were offset and the brochure wouldn't turn out right when printed. So we had them re-upload the brochure. And thank goodness! I heard from one woman that she found our event by checking the national site. She also mentioned that she only looked at the events that had their brochure on the website, and disregarded those that didn't have the brochure readily available.

Almost right away, the registrations started pouring in! Check my next post for how our fundraising efforts went!

2008 Olympics: Women Kayakers

Kayaking is an exciting sport, but kayak racing? That's a whole different level of muscles ladies! Women have a chance to show off those kayaking muscles and skills this summer at the Olympics. Here's a run down on the Olympic kayaking events in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Flatwater Kayak: The events include "K-2 500m (kayak double) Women ", "K-1 500m (kayak single) Women", and "K-4 500m (kayak four) Women", each referencing the number of women in the kayak and distance of the race. According to the "Official website of the Olympic Movement" (, flatwater racing is based in pure speed on the course and requires a calm water surface. Competitors are assigned to lanes.

Slalom Kayak: In slalom kayak racing, paddlers navigate through sets of poles called "gates" which are set-up amongst challenging rapids, currents, and eddies. In that there are similarities to slalom skiiing. Winners will complete the course in the shortest time, with the fewest penalties. Penalty times are added to the overall course time if the paddler touches one of the poles or misses a gate altogether. The event is called the Women's K1, and has traditionally been a 300-meter course.

If watching the kayaking events gives you the bug to try it, check out this website - Girls At Play. It's focused on getting women into kayaks!

Women of the Iditarod 2008

If you don't know what the Iditarod is, take a moment to smack yourself on the forehead......done? OK. The Iditarod is a THRILLING dog-sled "race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska." (Per their own description, which I couldn't have said any better!) The Iditarod is ran partially in commemoration of a heroic event. In 1925, diphtheria threatened epidemic-stricken Nome, Alaska. Life saving serum was delivered through the extreme efforts of dog mushers and their hard-working sled dogs. This Jr. Iditarod print you see here is by well known Alaskan Artist, David Totten, and is available for sale in limited quantities at their website as a fundraiser for the Jr Iditarod Scholarship Fund.

According to the Iditarod's musher listing, this year's "Women of the Iditarod 2008" are:
Bib # - Name - City - State
3 - Jessie Royer - Fairbanks - AK
17 - Aliy Zirkle - Two Rivers - AK
19 - Karen Ramstead - Perryvale - Canada
21 - Deborah Bicknell - Auke Bay - AK
23 - Jessica Hendricks - Two Rivers - AK
24 - Sigrid Ekran - Norway
27 - Sue Allen - Wasilla - AK
29 - Laura Daugereau - Port Gamble - WA
39 - DeeDee Jonrowe - Willow - AK
40 - Silvia Willis - Deshka River - AK
47 - Heather Siirtola - Talkeetna - AK
55 - Rachael Scdoris - Bend - OR
59 - Melissa Owens - Nome - AK
60 - Jennifer Freking - Finland - MN
62 - Molly Yazwinski - Fairbanks - AK
72 - Sue Morgan - Richmond - UT
75 - Liz Parrish - Klamath Falls - OR
79 - Kim Franklin - United Kingdom
82 - Cindy Gallea - Seeley Lake - MT
86 - Kelley Griffin - Wasilla - AK
88 - Anne Capistrant - Healy - AK
89 - Zoya DeNure - Gakona - AK

You can track their progress and results on the race page of the Iditarod website. There are also some mushers that withdrew according to the Iditarod's musher listing. The projected race finish is March 11 or 12 in Nome. Good luck ladies!!

What is Adventure Racing?

Have you heard of Adventure Racing? I think it's a really great sport for the outdoorswoman, since it can combine a variety of outdoor skills that you may already do regularly! According to Wikipedia, adventure racing is described as "a combination of two or more disciplines, including orienteering and navigation, cross-country running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing and related rope skills. An expedition event can span ten days or more while sprints can be completed in a matter of hours." Wikipedia also explains the history of it, but you may recognize some of the more popular events such as Mark Burnett's Eco-Challenge, and PrimalQuest. Most adventure races are team events, and team attitude and coordination can be the make or break "talent" rather than say, great biking, or fast paddling! There are many many women already doing this, and some events require co-ed teams.

Have any of you tried adventure racing? I'm thinking about trying it out next year at a small local event. I think it sounds really fun and....adventurous!

Selecting Courses - Planning a Women in the Outdoors Event

I have an update on our event planning for Women in the Outdoors! (Previous posts here and here.) We finalized our volunteer instructors and pinned down which courses we are going to offer. Attendees will rank their choices (1-8) on the sign up sheet, and will get 4 of their 8 choices. That is subject to class size, instructor availability, etc. There may be some cancellations which would affect that. But hopefully not!! Here's our class list:
Improv Acting/Humor Coaching
Gun Cleaning/Maintenance
Self Defense
Belly Dancing
Turkey Calling
Voyaguer Canoeing
Dutch Oven Cooking
Nature Journaling
Tree Identification
Learning about Raptors

What would be your top 4 selections?? The next step is to create our sign-up brochure and get it out into the community. I'll let you know what are the popular choices in a future post!

Elk Antlers at the Wedding?

There's a good reason that I've been scarce lately - here's a clue... I found this on TMZ's website the other day, an article entitled "Bridezilla vs. Rudolph". I love the quote, "It's all about venison chic this season."!! So what do you think about elk antlers on a bride?!?

Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle

It's a winter wonderland up here! The snow keeps falling and falling and falling! I'm hearing about all kinds of people going off the roads and into the ditch - yikes. For all of you in snowy climes, don't forget to have emergency items in your vehicle. Here's a list of possibilities:

Stay warm!
Gloves/mittens, wool socks, coat, boots, a blanket, hand warmers

Get out!
Cell phone/charger, booster cables, shovel, windshield scraper, tire chains/rope, road salt and sand, tool kit, road maps, compass

Wait for help!
Snacks, water, blaze orange flags, flashlight/batteries, emergency flares, first aid kit, waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)

In more extreme locations, you may also want to include battery-powered radio/batteries. Personally, I've got the gloves, socks, boots, blanket, hand warmers, booster cables, scraper, maps, snacks. I'm planning on adding cell phone charger, flares, first aid kit, flashlight, and matches. Guess I'd better get going on that now that we've got over a foot of snow on the ground!

Notable Outdoor Women - Julie Kay Smithson

Outdoor Life Magazine just came out with "The Outdoor Life 25 - People Who Changed the Face of Hunting & Fishing" in the December/January 2008 issue. In it they recognize two women, Julie Kay Smithson and Jennie Richardson (more on Jennie here). I wanted to provide you more information and links on these notable outdoor women!

Julie Kay Smithson is noted as an unsung hero for her devotion to the cause of property rights. After a run-in with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding an endangered species on her land, she tutored herself on the issues of land-use, and environmental and endangered species. Since then she has been educating landowners and sportsmen through her research and website PropertyRightsResearch.Org
As you look through her website, you will realize that Julie takes very polarizing stances on specific subjects. You will likely agree wholeheartedly, or will be vehemently opposed to what she is saying. She's an interesting selection for Outdoor Life to add to their list - I doubt that she will be admired by the majority. She could serve however as a great resource for those who are struggling with land rights.
Unfortunately, I have to veer toward being opposed to her views. Specifically, I cannot agree with her comment on her website that "Climate change, i.e., 'global warming' OR 'global cooling,' has virtually zilch to do with production of so-called 'greenhouse gases'." Such disregard for the extensive research and intelligence of independent scientists world-wide, who state that humans are in fact accelerating the climate change, is an extremely arrogant and "cause-centric" stance and it makes her look foolish. I certainly would select her as an expert on land use rights, but I highly doubt that she's also a climatologist experienced in current climate research and theory.

Notable Outdoor Women - Jennie Richardson

Outdoor Life Magazine just came out with "The Outdoor Life 25 - People Who Changed the Face of Hunting & Fishing" in the December/January 2008 issue. In it they recognize two women, Jennie Richardson and Julie Kay Smithson (more on Julie here). I wanted to provide you more information and links on these notable outdoor women!

Jennie Richardson is noted as a leader for her work in getting school children involved in archery. They say, "In 2002, educator and national champion archer Jennie Richardson was chose as the state coordinator for a fledgling program designed to introduce archery to middle school students...." They further describe how that program has grown to the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) that is "being taught in more than 40 state and 4 countries."

So who is Jennie Richardson? According to her website, Jennie has been an avid bowhunter and angler since she was a child. After suffering a shoulder injury that ended her days as one of the top softball coaches in Kentucky, Jennie learned to shoot her bow with her teeth “Tim Farmer-style” while she went through shoulder surgery. She was soon back to shooting competitive archery. Her time in Semi-Pro classes didn’t last long – as she won seven out of 14 tournaments in 1998 and was named Cabela’s Shooter of the Year and won the World’s Championship. She is a two time World Champion, has logged 87 Top 10 finishes, 26 Top 5 finishes, 21 Top 3 finishes and six wins. (As of today when I got the info off her website - these numbers may have changed by the time you read this!) This list of accomplishments on her website is VERY impressive!