NSSDC Championship Points
Championship Race Points
Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each class having a minimum of three events.

There will be no certificates awarded except in the Junior classes for each participant who is not eligible for a medal.
Maeb Bayers Memorial Trophy
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Maeb Bayers Memorial Trophy

2013 Recipient: Joe Fessler



The Maeb Bayers Memorial Trophy is presented annually to a NSSDC member who has made outstanding contributions to the Club and to the sport.

Maeb Bayers was an active NSSDC member in its infancy and contributed to its growth and development as well as to the careers of several Midwest mushers of the time. She was known for her knowledge of dogs/mushing, her kindness, willingness to help, and her good sense. She died in January, 1977, of a brain tumor.

The Maeb Bayers Memorial Trophy was donated to NSSDC by Marti and Dick Mackey of Bemidji, Minnesota, who were close friends of Maeb's. The trophy was first awarded in 1981 to Bob Jones of Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

Past recipients of the Maeb Bayers Memorial Trophy are:

1981 Bob Jones

1982 Chris Van Ness

1983 Donita Lerum

1984 Pat Jones

1985 Lisa Chaplin

1986 Bill Clower

Roxanna Clower

1987 Rick Johnson

1988 Rick Johnson

1989 Judy Bergemann

1990 Deanna Dowdle

1991 Annette Johnson

1992 None

1993 Ann Stead

Jerry Vanek

1994 John Cooper

1995 None

1996 Rick Johnson

1997 Sally Bair

1998 Ann Stead

1999 Robin Gaspard

2000 Dean Coan

2001 None

2002 Sue Anderson

2003 Lynn Congdon

2004 Rick Johnson

2005 Carol King

2006 Jim Benson

Brian Harvell

2007 None

2008 Al Kasinskas

2009 Bob Bzdok

2010 Kris Wolske

2011 Joe & Lorraine Cappuccino

2012 None

2013 Joe Fessler
John Weber Memorial Trophy
John Weber Memorial Trophy
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By Sally O’Sullivan Bair

(Information from The Tugline, August, 2003, and March, 1997)

Carved from California redwood by Mel Fishback (Riley), Art Allen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was the first recipient in 1969 of the John Weber Memorial trophy. The beautiful trophy was donated by John Weber’s family. He was killed in Viet Nam in 1968 on his 21st birthday. Despite his youth but with a vision for the future of sled dog racing, he was an active driving force in North Star Sled Dog Club in the 1960s. To honor Weber and what he stood for, John’s family and Denny Hitchcock, his friend and mushing companion, asked Mel Fishback (Riley) of Montana to fashion the trophy. It was originally awarded at the St. Paul Winter Carnival race. When that race folded, it was awarded to a 10-class driver at the Cannon Falls, Minnesota, race. Today the trophy, having been retired in 2002, rests on display at Denny Hitchcock’s dinner theatre in Rock Island, Illinois.

John Weber
John Weber was but a teen when he entered the ranks of mushers. “A flaming meteor. Six feet tall. Rough, tough,” described one newspaper article. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, September 1, 1968). Born February 3, 1947, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, John was a neighbor to early mushers Denis Christman and Leo Sowada. He moved to St. Paul in 1959, graduating from St. Paul Murray High School in 1965. Always an “outdoorsy” type with a love of animals, Weber saw his first Siberian at a neighbor’s, who had been given the dog by Priscilla (Tootie) Nelson. The teenager wasted no time in making Nelson’s acquaintance, eventually working into training her Siberian team, headed by Kache and Kona, who were out of Mabell Hill’s Kennel in Circle Pines, Minnesota. (Eventually Hill moved to Stacy, Minnesota. She was an early North Star Sled Dog Club notable, who is often referred to as “the godmother of Minnesota Mushing.”) He built a sled for Nelson and made harnesses out of parachute rope and would get up early in the morning before school to train his team. Weber became a regular at Hill’s farm on weekends, where he met fellow mushers Gene Lee and Denny Hitchcock. Weber entered the St. Paul Winter Carnival Sled Dog Race in 1965 and competed in sled dog races in Iowa and Michigan. At eighteen, he was one of the finest husky dog sled racers in America. His prowess in Winter Carnival events is a most colorful chapter in the history of those events.

Shortly out of high school Weber enlisted in the Army and was eventually sent to Viet Nam, where he was killed on his 21st birthday, 1968. Just prior to that, in November, 1967, however, he had been hit in the chest but continued helping his companions and stopped an enemy attack by killing twelve of them during the Battle of Hill 875. After a short recuperation in the hospital, he was out again in the field leading a five-man reconnaissance team February 3rd when he was fatally wounded.

“John saved all his money for the dogs,” said his mother, Violet Weber Ross. “His one great goal was to someday go to Alaska.” His heroes were Jack London and Robert Service and his dream was to mush through the wilds of Alaska, “where it was cold and clean and pure.” (St. Paul Pioneer Press, September 1, 1968)

Friend and mushing companion, Denny Hitchcock remembers Weber as a very independent, hard-driven teen and a strong competitor who was dedicated to whatever he was doing. He also recalls Weber as the first person in Minnesota to use a “snowhook” of any kind, which exhibited typical Weber ingenuity. It was fashioned out of a meat hook from a local butcher’s shop. In these early days of the sport in Minnesota, a team was disciplined to stay stopped on a voice command, which wasn’t always a sure way to produce the desired result. With only a friction brake to stop them, which gave way as soon as one’s foot was lifted from it, many a team would run like the wind instead of obediently stopping.

The Award
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Voted on by his/her fellow drivers in the Unlimited (Open) or 10-dog class, the John Weber Memorial Trophy was awarded to an Unlimited (Open) class driver or 10-dog class driver (when the Unlimited Open class was no longer run at many races) who exemplified the best sportsmanship by his/her fellow mushers in the class. It is interesting that two of Weber’s mushing companions, Gene Lee and Denny Hitchcock, were recipients of this trophy, an indication of the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie that existed among the small group of dedicated, early Minnesota competitors. Of equal note is the fact that Dave Lee and Jeremy Lee represent son and grandson of Gene, signifying the passing of the sportsmanship torch through generations and a tribute to John Weber’s memory.
This spirit of sportsmanship and competitiveness – just the whole thing of sled dog driving – all of the good points are kind of rolled into John Weber and the John Weber Trophy.
John Cooper

1969 Art Allen, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

1970 Tom Mathias, Michigan

1971 Dave Walling, Pocatello, Idaho

1972 Oz Bayers, Anoka, Minnesota

1973 Gene Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

1974 Oz Bayers, Anoka, Minnesota

1975 Art Allen, Cedar Rapids, Minnesota

1976 Dave Niswander, Wyoming, Minnesota

1977 No award

1978 Gene Lee, Stacy, MInnesota

1979 Gene Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

1980 No award

1981 Tom Lerum, Zumbro Falls, Minnesota

1982 Dave Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

1983 Dee Dee Niswander, Wyoming, MN

1984 Tom Lerum, Zumbro Falls, Minnesota

1985 Gene Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

1986 Tim Wallace, Ham Lake, Minnesota

1987 No award

1988 Stuart McIntyre, Ely, Minnesota

1989 Dave Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

1990 No award

1991 Denny Hitchcock, Sherrard, Illinois

1992 Steve Bergemann, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

Ted Wallace, Wrenshall, Minnesota

1993 Dave Steele, Merrifield, Minnesota

1994 Rabbit Smallwood, Isabella, Minnesota

1995 No award

1996 Gene Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

Rabbit Smallwood, Isabella, Minnesota

Steve Bergemann, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

1997 Denny Hitchcock, Sherrard, Illinois

Gene Lee, Stacy, Minnesota

Cayenne Biberstein, Zurich, Switzerland

Ted Wallace, Wrenshall, Minnesota

1998 No award

1999 Ted Wallace, Wrenshall, Minnesota

2000 Jeremy Lee, Pine River, Minnesota

2001 Steve Bergemann, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

2002 Award retired

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Art Allen, the 1st recipient of the John Weber Award
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