Denise Perry Salmons

I have been a member of BTC for 5 years. When I joined BTC I was brand new to this sport. I had no idea
what I was getting into. This group welcomed me and my life hasn’t been the same since.

Over the yearsI completed my first Sprint, Ironman Wilmington in 2016 and most recently IMLP in July. Thanks to the support of this club and it’s members, who are now like family, the road to Ironman has been paved with more support than I ever imagined. Being on the Board will give me an opportunity to give back to the club and it’s members who have been there for me! Not to mention, I bring along killer cupcakes and a great club photographer!


Denise Perry Salmons

Mary Songster-Alpin

Hello, my name is Mary Songster-Alpin.  Many people know me via social media (Facebook) as Mary Suzanne.  I have been a member of the BTC since I first joined April 7th, 2015.  I am running for election to the BTC board directors because I can’t think of a better way to give back to a club that literally helped save my life and has helped me to become the person that I am today.

When I joined the BTC, I had started to embark on the greatest challenge of my life.  Just 4 months before joining the BTC, I was a struggling, depressed, overweight mom, wife and veterinarian.  I was in severe pain due to having ankle arthritis and struggling with the knowledge that my mother died in 2011 prematurely due, in part, to having severe arthritis, limited mobility and arthritis.  I was terrified of ending up in the same situation and not being around for my beautiful daughter.  I struggled with proper nutrition and with being able to stick with a physical activity that could help me lose weight and regain mobility.   Swimming was my only forte but that activity alone didn’t help me lose weight and become physically fit – I needed something more.  Fortunately I met some triathletes both in real life and on-line and their enthusiasm for the sport caused me to want to embark on this wonderful sport as well.  I joined the BTC Facebook group in 2012 and immediately found an extremely supportive group of friends.  I really wanted to become a triathlete so first I dabbled in indoor triathlons but still struggled with my weight and with trying to become active.   I then tried to compete as the swimmer in a relay at the ECC Kat with wonderful BTC members Lisa Trapasso and Erin Sheehan in 2014 but the untimely death of my father-in-law waylaid that plan.  I started sliding backward again and it wasn’t until the following January that I actually learned how to eat properly and started losing weight.  Once the light bulb went on and I started losing weight, I started being able to be more and more active and, although my ankle continued to be painful, I found that I could actually run – even a mile or more!!  After 4 months of slow gradual weight loss and increasing physical activity, I joined the BTC for real and successfully competed in the ECC Kat Sprint Tri – this time by myself!  I was a triathlete!! 

Through the love and support of my husband, daughter and my BTC family, I continued to lose weight and continued to compete in triathlons – building from sprints to Olympic aquabikes to Olympic triathlons to eventually half Iron-man distance triathlons.  I lost a total of 75 pounds and even though my ankle continued to deteriorate, I could still work out regularly and remain active.  I found that even though I was a slow triathlete, I had the endurance to compete in the long distance triathlons.  I then made the absolutely insane goal of actually competing in a full Ironman.  After a year of training and planning, I successfully completed Ironman Louisville on October 15th, 2017 with a time of 16 hours and 36 minutes.  I was now an IRONMAN!!!

I couldn’t have succeeded in this journey without the help of my BTC club mates.  Your help, advice, support and encouragement have meant the world to me and I can’t imagine competing in this sport without the help of such an awesome diverse yet united club.  Now that I achieved my bucket-list dream of completing an IRONMAN, I want to give back to this awesome community.

I know that you want to know more about me than just my triathlon journey though. I am a WNY native having grown up in Frewsburg NY near Jamestown.  I went to undergraduate college at Cortland (where I thought that I would become a physical education teacher until I learned that I couldn’t throw a ball to save my life and changed to a biology and chemistry major).  I obtained my doctorate degree from NC State where I lived for 8 years in the mid to late 90’s.  I now live in Machias (approximately 45 minutes south of Buffalo) with Jim, my husband of 25 years, and Kerianne, our almost 15 year old daughter.  We have a small farm just outside of town that we share with our 3 horses (Kaine, Brave Heart and Tutt), 1 dog (Misty – a 5 year old yellow lab), 2 cats (Paws and Lindsay), gecko (Buddy) and rabbit (Gus).  I own a veterinary clinic in Chaffee, NY called Pioneer Paws Veterinary Clinic – I am the solo full time veterinarian and my husband is my practice manager.  I occasionally do relief work as well for the emergency hospital in Orchard Park.  Our daughter is a sophomore at Pioneer Central School and is a skilled and talented equestrian, cross country and track runner and top-notch student – much of our time is focused on supporting her in her endeavors.  Although most of my life for the past year has been consumed with training for my Ironman, I have been an active volunteer in the Cattaraugus and Allegany County 4-H activities.  I have served as coach and mentor for Kerianne and other 4-Hers as they participated in horse knowledge based and show ring competitions at the county and state levels.  I am also very active in my church (Hope Lutheran Church) in Arcade where I have volunteered as a Sunday School teacher, in the altar guild and on various committees. 

I hope that you will consider me for election to the BTC board of directors and if elected, I will work hard to assist the club in any way possible to improve life for our members.

Renee Sossong

ReneeDear Fellow BTC Family Members,

I would like to take a moment to thank whoever it was that nominated me for a seat on the BTC Board.  I was humbled to receive the email that informed me.  It would be an honor to give back to the club/family that has  done so much for me over the past few years.  I was a late bloomer as far as triathlon or any kind of physical activity.  I started running just five years ago and literally stumbled into triathlon as a way to keep training through a running injury.  I have not only become addicted to the sport but also the people and the atmosphere surrounding triathlon.  I cannot imagine my life without it.  My teenage daughter did her first triathlon this summer and I am seeing her quickly be drawn into the family as well.  I feel blessed by the experiences and growth that have occurred in my life by being a part of the BTC family.  At this time, I would like the opportunity to give back by volunteering as a board member.  If selected, my energy and enthusiasm would allow me to put my unique talents to use serving the BTC family in whatever capacity needed.

Best Regards, Renee Sossong



BTC’ERS – this year for our Banquet, we are donating to the Buffalo Animal Shelter, a place very special to me & Mishka (this picture was Mishka at the Shelter on the day she was going home with me) … For every item/cash donation ($1.00 = 1 ticket) you can get extra tickets for some AWESOME prizes from our AMAZING SPONSORS!!! There will also be a 50/50 raffle …

BTC have always been generous and I am so excited to be giving back to the Shelter.

Below are a list of wish-list items they are asking for and ALWAYS in need for. I will have a bin to fill (one of the items requested) with donations.

If not going to the Banquet and still want to donate – Mishka and I will come out to collect!

Thank You BTC – you are an amazing group

  • Pate style canned dog food any brand for filling Kongs
  • New or used strong, sturdy dog leashes
  • Bleach
  • HE laundry soap
  • New or gently used Kong dog toys, not the very small size
  • Any kind of cat toys
  • New or gently used/clean cat beds
  • New or gently used/clean large dog crates, x-pens
  • New or gently used/clean cat carriers
  • Soft dog treats for training
  • Canned cat and kitten food, any style or brand
  • Dish soap and dishwasher detergent
  • New or gently used/ clean strong dog collars
  • Large Rubbermaid type bins for storing stuffed Kongs
  • Essential oils for making dog enrichment toys

2017/18 Board Member Elections

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-03-59-pmIt’s that time of year again when we begin consideration and voting for the open board member slots of the Buffalo Triathlon Club. This year, the deadline for candidate nominations was October 31st. Bios will be published here on the blog as they are received with online voting beginning in late November. Announcements of the winners will come as voting completes and new or reelected board members will be installed at our club banquet in January.

How Many People Are on the Board and How Many Slots are Available?

The BTC board consists of 11 members, and each term is 2 years, with half of the terms expiring each year.  The following 6 board members have 1 year remaining on their terms, and will continue to serve on the board for 2017:

  1. Jennifer Bell (current president)
  2. Amy Benedict
  3. Keith Burtis
  4. Erin Sheehan
  5. Karla Sommers (current treasurer)
  6. Lisa Trapasso

The terms of the following 5 board members are expiring, and they will need to run for re-election if they want to continue to serve on the board for 2017-2018:

  1. George Hackford
  2. Heather McIntyre
  3. Joe Pautler (current vice president)
  4. Gary Randolph
  5. Sharon Winiewicz (current secretary)

Who has currently been nominated or chosen to Run for a 2017/2018 Board Seat:

  1. Joe Pautler (Currently Serving)
  2. George Hackford (Currenty Serving)
  3. Mark Sommers
  4. David Federspiel
  5. Mark Knerr
  6. Alisha Gannon
  7. Dave Shapiro

Click on each candidate name to see their bio and information

More information on Board Member Duties and Activities

Board members meet once per month (for approximately 2 hours, usually over dinner at a local restaurant), and keep in touch via email and in-person to manage the overall direction and administration of the BTC.  Tasks that are overseen by the board include such things as weekly club workouts (swims & bricks), club events (Spring Thing, Ontario Scenario, etc), organization of the annual banquet and other social get-togethers, processing memberships, newsletter & blog, apparel orders, negotiating sponsorship and partnership agreements that include discounts for BTC members, accounting and budget management, BTC asset management (tent, bike boxes, safety equipment, etc), administration of the web site and Facebook page, BTC library management, and more!

Joe Pautler

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-28-49-pmMy name is Joe Pautler and I have been a member of the BTC since 2005. I joined the club because I wanted a safe way to practice open water swimming before my first sprint triathlon, but I quickly found that the club had FAR more to offer than just that. I became very active in the club and established great friendships with the other members. I am sometimes asked why I devote so much time and effort to the BTC, and the answer is quite simple. I have benefited greatly from the previous and current members of the club and I want to make sure that the club continues to stay strong and provide those same benefits to the existing and future members for many years to come. The success of the BTC is due entirely to the members and volunteers that contribute to it. It is great that we have so many people that are eager to donate their time and services for the betterment of the club, and I just want to do my part. Here is a quick list of some of the ways that I have contributed to the BTC over the years:

  • Coordinated all north town weekly brick activities for 2006-2008 & 2011-2013 including the posting of weekly results and the creation and distribution of the year-end awards. I designed and implemented many of the practices that we continue to use today, such as the event formats, the laminated race numbers on race belts, the Members’ Memorial Time Trial, etc.
  • Served as BTC webmaster and IT Guru for 2005-2008 & 2011-present. I did a complete overhaul of the web site in 2005, and again in 2011, in order to update the information and create a site that is consistent with our club branding. I also take care of the domain name (including all of our email addresses and file repository), the oversight of our facebook group and our online club calendar, the care and maintenance of our membership database tools, the administration of all of our online registration forms and PayPal account, and the composition and sending of our monthly ‘email blasts.’
  • Served on the BTC board of directors 2011-present, and was the Vice President in 2012, 2013, & 2016. VP duties included scheduling the board meetings, producing the meeting agendas, and facilitating the meeting discussions.
  • Founded the BTC library and drafted the initial policies and procedures for it. I also designed/created various BTC promotional brochures, membership application forms, and workout sign-in sheets over the years.
  • Served on the membership committee 2013-present. Duties include answering inquiries from current and prospective members and assisting with the processing of online member registrations and renewals.
  • Represented and promoted the BTC at various events over the years, such as setting up and staffing information tables at health and wellness fairs, setting up and staffing the BTC tent at various races and events, etc.
  • Coordinated the design, purchase, and distribution of various club apparel orders (race kits, tech shirts, hats, etc).
  • Have written approximately 25 articles for the BTC newsletter & blog over the years, covering topics such as race reports, gear reviews, commuting via bicycle, etc.

Although I had to take a break from racing in 2014-2015, due to rupturing my ACL playing indoor lacrosse, my racing history includes approximately eighty 5k/8k/10k/15k running races, fifteen half-marathons, four full marathons, twenty-five Sprint and Olympic triathlons, ten 70.3 triathlons, and two IRONMAN 140.6 races (Wisconsin & Lake Placid).

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-4-28-12-pmWhen I’m not swimming, biking, and running, I work for the University at Buffalo as the Technical Program Manager for the data network. I am responsible for the technical oversight (planning, design, budgeting, implementation, etc) for all of the routers, switches, firewalls, etc, that provide Internet access and network connectivity to more than 120 buildings on the 3 UB campuses (Amherst, Main St, and down town). Our network provides services to approximately 30,000 students and 6,000 faculty and staff. I live in Depew NY, with my wife Paula and our guinea pigs Chip and Cadbury. Paula is also quite active in the BTC. She has completed many running races and also really enjoys riding her bike. She did her first (and probably last) triathlon at the Summer Sizzler in 2011, just so she could say that she did one. She is not a big fan of open water swimming. In 2013 she completed the Disney World Goofy Challenge (half marathon and full marathon on consecutive days) as well as the Disney Coast to Coast challenge (requiring a full or half marathon in both Disney World and Disney Land in the same calendar year).

Regardless of whether or not I am re-elected to the board, I look forward to continuing my involvement with the BTC, and helping out in whatever ways that I can to benefit our club, our sport, and our community.

Mark Knerr

Hello My name is Mark Knerr,

It is a great honor to be nominated to the board of directors of the greatest tri Club in the world.
This will be my 4th year as a member of the BTC and look forward to giving back to the club that has done so much for me and my triathlon experience. I have been the Ride for Roswell team captain for the last three years and have helped out with the club tents. I have had the opportunity to participate in many tri’s at many different venues and each time have brought back many great experiences from each. I always make an effort to meet and introduce myself to the new members and make them feel welcomed.

I also enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my better half Laura and our families when we can.Some of my other interest are Boating, water and snow skiing, and hikes with the dogs. I look forward to serving in whatever capacity best suits me if elected.

Thank you


George Hackford


Hello fellow BTC Members!

I’m running for another term on our Board. If elected you can count on me to represent the club and perform in the same capacity that I have for the past 2 yrs; ie helping distribute apparel/gear, sharing tent duties, and organizing/running our Northtown Bricks and TT’s. BTC is Family…and is undoubtedly the best Tri Club on the Planet. Every single member has motivated, inspired, or helped me in one way or another.

To sum things up, my main goal is to do everything possible to help maintain the quality and integrity of our organization.

Thank You for considering your vote!

George Hackford

David Shapiro

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-9-03-04-amI have been a BTC member for the 15 years I have lived here. I am honored to be nominated and if elected would do my best to continue the great job the BTC does in supporting our local athletes. I realize that the BTC is only so successful because of all of those who volunteer their time. I have been involved in the BTC more closely the last few years. I suggested and helped with the design and ordering of the tech shirts and I have volunteered at our Marathon water stop the last two years. I also volunteer for Amherst Meals on Wheels, am the Treasurer of my daughter’s soccer teams and raise money every year for the American Diabetes Association by riding in their Tour de Cure.

I am an Anesthesiologist at ECMC and The Center for Ambulatory Surgery but I have only worked half time the last 5 years so as to spend more time with my family (wife Mary, Daughter Alex 14 years old, Black Lab (Fifa 1 year old) while still pursuing multi-sports and Martial Arts (Krav Maga). I completed my first Full Ironman at Lake Placid this year. I had volunteered there the prior year (and at Chattanooga this year) and really appreciate how volunteering can be as inspiring as racing.

David Federspiel


Hello all, I would like to introduce myself, my name is David Federspiel.

I have been a member of the club since 2013, I would be honored to receive your support in the 2018 BTC Board Of Directors position. Over the last year I have been fortunate to serve on the BTC board and I would like to thank those members who will be leaving the board after many years of hard work and dedication.Your efforts have resulted in the great club we have and you will be missed.

Since joining the club I have taken great pride as a member, volunteering, try to be a member that others can turn to for anything..and taking part in club activities. All my sporting accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of my fellow members. To me it is about giving back to a club and the sport. I look forward to the possibility to serve on the board for 2018 through 2020. I believe the following years will be an important period in our club. I would like to hear from YOU, the members, the backbone ….What do you like and dislike? How can we go about building on our successes and work on issues that need attention? Club members involvement is essential to its success.

It has been a pleasure working with the current board and I look forward to serving you again.

Thank you,