Iron Will, Balto, Stone Fox; these are all stories as a child that I grew up watching and reading with a hope that the main character could be me. Well, when I was 15 years old, my wish came true! We brought home a stray black and white Siberian Husky in which we named Kody. I would try to make harnesses out of baler twine for him so he could pull me around the yard like in the movies. One day my Mom and I attended a Wis. Trailblazer’s fall meeting. Before we even got out of the car, I remember her saying to me, “We are not bringing home another dog.” But after sitting in on the meeting, being introduced to many mushers and learning what Wisconsin dog sledding was all about, we were chatting with a musher who sold us my first lead dog, Rapid (I called him Pinny since he had a disproportionate head).
I was mentored by Mike Marsh (Dog Daze Kennel) who in fact sold me my first sled, which was a Chatmac. What a fine piece of sledding equipment that was! I also was mentored by Roland DeBauche. I came out almost every weekend to help run dogs, learn the in’s and out’s of having my own kennel, and letting me ride along to races with him and his family – heck, Roland helped me to obtain my first sprint team. I have to say, without people like Roland and Mike I would have never learned so much or even pursued sledding at all.
Eventually, I built up a small kennel of my own and competed in the Wisconsin sprint-dog circuit. I didn’t have the fastest dogs out there, nor did I have that much experience, but either way I was a musher. That’s all that mattered to me at the time. My Mom was there to cheer me along (and help buy dog food). Even my Grandpa built me a dog box for the back of my truck. I was very blessed to have such a supportive family back then as well.
As time would have it, and I got older; I had to make the hard decision to sell my dogs (very heart-breaking) and some of my equipment when I went off to college. I had thought about becoming a park ranger and going to college up in Ely, MN just so I could keep my dogs and continue mushing, but my life took a different direction. Now, 13 years later, I have a small recreational team in which I am hoping my two boys follow in the dream of running their own team across the snow-covered trails of Minnesota.