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Top sculptors, Native music, help from icon

Mike Dunham

• Snow sculptures survive wind

The weekend winds wore down the images at the GCI Snow Sculpture Contest, but not as bad as you might think. Perhaps the location, deep in the valley along Ship Creek, across from Comfort Inn, afforded some protection.

An inspection on Monday showed some of the pieces holding up well, especially a giant phoenix looming over a smaller bird and a Viking riding a dragon -- a reference to the movie "How to Train Your Dragon."

In the 3-member team competition, Team AK Awesome won first place in Division 1, Service High won Division 2 (junior and senior high schools), Turnagain Elementary won in Division 3 (elementary schools) and Denali Family Dental won in the family/corporate Division 4.

In Division 5 (solo), Jon Eric Thompson took first prize, George Reandeau came in second and Guy Urban was third.

• Native gospel music begins

The Native Musicale opens tonight at 7:30. The popular presentation of Native Alaskan gospel groups has moved from its former location at West High School to Change Point Church, 6689 Changepoint Drive. That's the former fish processing plant in front of the big inflatable Sports Dome, just off Raspberry Road between Arctic and Minnesota Boulevards. This will continue nightly through Friday. Admission, as always, is free.

• Riddles snags loose team

Some interesting people were involved when musher Randy DeKuiper's dogs got away from him on the first day of the World Championship Sled Dog Championship. Former state senator and mushing veteran Con Bunde, officiating at the starting line in his trademark skunk fur hat and gloves, was run over by the team -- an intimidating experience, but nothing that kept him from continuing his duties for the rest of the race. And among those credited with throwing themselves at the sled and stopping it until DeKuiper could catch up, the foremost is said to have been Libby Riddles, the first woman musher to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.