James began mushing by handling for his friend and neighbor, Clayton Perry. After one run, he was hooked! A perk of embarassing mushing stories is that the dogs keep all his secrets!
Miriam got started in mushing 12 years ago as a sled dog tour guide for Jackson Hole Iditarod. Her mushing highlight was completing the Iditarod in 2016 and racing in the Nadezda Hope Race in Chukotka, Russia in 2014. Something Miriam looks forward to is competing in the Kobuk 440 in Kotzebue, Alaska. Go fast enough to get there but slow enough to see!
Jereld's mushing highlight was transporting tractor parts to a snowed-in Wallowa County couple with his family on the runners with him with a process of Training, Conditioning, Learning, Adapting, Innovation. HIs most embarassing mushing situation was hiking and running 12 miles over fresh snow to catch up with his dogs.
Laurie Warren, 54, started handling for her son Garrett and helping him train his first year mushing. She also helped her younger son, Trevor, when he got a team, and she helped train their puppies. Knowing her competitive nature, Trevor suggested she enter a race herself. She agreed and was hooked!
Warren’s mushing highlights include training, traveling, & spending time with her sons while they run dogs together as a family. She has wonderful, priceless memories of racing each other in the darkness to the backcountry cabin & bringing their favorite dogs in to lay around the fire & warm up.
Maya is Laurie's main leader and she recalls how she worked into the lead spot: "My team was struggling last year for a leader with enthusiasm who would get out there and keep the line taught. I put her up there on a chance since she was still not quite two and she took off! She leads with a drive and excitment that inspres the rest of the team. This shouldn't be too big of a surprise as her father was a leader for Jeff King's team and her mother is a phemoninal leader for my son Garrett's team."
She retells her embarrassing moment: at the Cascade Quest a couple years ago, I ran my first overnight race. Upon arrival at the start, I learned I was supposed to have a cable tie out chain. I was relieved when no one checked to see I was without it. That night while sleeping next to my team, I awoke to a dog licking my face, one exploring my sled bag for food, and another frolicking in the snow. I spent the rest of the night with a leash in each hand, holding on to the trouble makers, learning the importance of having all the required gear, and hoping no one would awake to see my predicament!
Josi, 24, the second oldest of five kids in her family was homeschooled & works as an insurance agent. In her spare time, she writes and is a published author. She also enjoys cooking ~ especially gourmet cheesecake. But, of course, much of her time is spent caring for and training her dogs.
Josi’s mushing career began when she was 9 & her dad bought her a Siberian Husky, her “dream dog.” For exercise, they hooked the dog up so he could pull her around on her rollerblades. After a move to the country, the kennel was born. Her grandpa built all of her sleds for her.
In 2012, Josi got the opportunity to handle dogs for Aaron Burmeister’s Iditarod team, working with Scott Smith. It was her mushing highlight fueling her desire to run her own team in the Iditarod in 2015. Thyr recounts the time her team got away from her & ended up in a field belonging to her 4-H advisor’s uncle. When she found out whose field it was, she had to “fess up.”
“One of my most memorable dog sledding experiences was when we went out on an afternoon run. The dogs were really excited since they hadn't run the day before, so when my mom and I left the truck the dogs were going really fast. Moose frequent the trail, so as I was looking around for moose in a small river that runs next to the trail, I saw three elk were standing in a perfect line watching us. I wish I had a camera! They started running upstream and ran along side us for about ½ mile. I remember thinking if we had been on a snowmobile, we’d have missed the whole thing!”
Brett, 47, became interested in mushing when reading books with his son, Spencer, about the Yukon and sled dogs. “My son made me do it!”
His mushing highlight was receiving the Red Lantern award at Race to the Sky in 2012 as well as midnight runs under a full moon and mushing and camping with his son. Brett was the winner of the ECX 200 mile race the last 2 years!
He lists an embarrassing dog situation as being when he was being dragged through Lincoln, Montana on Hiway 200 at midnight and couldn’t stop on the pavement. He ended up in the parking lot of the local steakhouse. He relates a funny story as being when his veterinarian told him his dogs were awfully fat to be running the Race to the Sky, and he told the veterinarian she was awfully fat to be calling his dogs fat.
His goals for the future are to eventually run the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod…and perhaps find a new veterinarian.
Clayton started mushing in 1998 with hounds to hunt lion and check trap line in the wilderness. In 2008 he switched to Alaskan Huskies. He lists his mushing highlight as receiving the Eagle Cap Extreme's "Best Cared for Team." His goal is to keep on loving dogs for 50 more years.
Perry says his most embarrassing dog moment was when his team went "off course" in downtown Jackson Hole, Wyoming running over a cameraman and through spectator's lawns and gardens.
Mushing runs in Rex's family and he got started by helping his son Bryce. In fact, he's been told that mushing is contagious which seems to be the case in the Mumford family!
Perhaps as a handler would be Rex' most embarrassing dog situation. He had led a team to the start and one of the lead dogs on his son's team liked to leap over the other leader. Back and forth, back and forth, so Rex decided it would be a good idea to stand between them and stop the back and forth leaping. The only problem was he did not hear the count down over all the barking. When the dogs were released Rex was standing in the middle of the team and was mowed down. His son had to stop the team so he could crawl out!
Christina's interest in mushing started when she was just four years old, after watching the movie Balto. Then and there she decided she was going to run, and win, the Iditraod Trail Sled Dog Race. Her mom thought it was just a phase and that she would soon move on to something else. Her mom was definitely wrong! Christina was 13 years old before she was allowed to get her first dog, and her team has continued to grow!
The Iditarod is still a long term goal for Christina, but for now she has her sights on numerous 100 to 300 mile races in the US.
One of Christina's favorite quotes is by Bethany Hamilton: "Courage doesn't mean you don't get afraid. Courage means you don't let fear stop you."
Gabe started her interest in mushing when her friend had a litter of pups when she was a teenager and she fell in love with the dogs. Then after 2 years of helping train them she ran her first race, the Denali Dash 120.
She says her "favorite moments out on the trail are when I get to see my dogs really enjoying what they do. Their energy is contagious and wonderful to be around."
"There are only two things you can control in this world - attitude and effort."
Connie got started mushing when her first Husky would pull her around on her roller blades. Her husband then bought her a sled dog ride with Perry Solmonson and she was hooked!
Her mushing highlight was winning the Best Kept Team from the Northwest Sled Dog Association for the 2013-2014 season. Her team is all rescues or re-homes. She is so proud of them!
The 62-year-old's goal for the future is to stay upright on the runners for as long as she can.
Connie's most embarrassing dog situation: "My dogs quit on me during a dry land race. That's when I came up my kennel name, Weeno Pullya. It's Native American for "lose some weight, lady!" I had to practically push the cart back."
Trevor Warren is a 20 year old musher following in his older brother, Garrett’s mushing footsteps.
His most embarrasing dog situation was when he was running up a trail and got convinced he had taken a wrong turn, so he hooked down, turned around and headed back the way he had came. Turns out when he turned around he was less than 300 yards from the intersection he was looking for.
Hugo says he was given his first husky and ended up adopting and rescuing several more. He needed a way to exercise them, and it snowballed from there.
Antonucci lists receiving the dream team award at the Cascade Quest as well as finishing third at Bachelor Butte Dog Derby as his mushing highlights. His goal is to continue mushing and participating in more races during the racing season.
An embarassing moment was during one of his training runs when his 12 dog team got away from him. When he finally got back to the truck, the team was there waiting for him!
Hugo's goals for the future are to take one race at a time and finsh with a team of happy dogs!
"Huskies are addictive like potato chips; can't have just one!"
"Real athletes run naked, sleep in the snow and eat raw meat."
Bino’s love of the outdoors is evident in his hobbies. “I never paddled a boat I didn’t like!” he states. He grew up im Phoenix and went to college in Tucson. He traveled to Alaska in the summers to work in the fish industry. There, he says, he met the “wrong people...mushers.” He ran tours in Sun Valley from 1990-1998. He started his own kennel and began racing to test himself and his huskies.
Bino’s mushing highlights have been numerous over 18 years, but he says the best came in 2005 when he got the opportunity to bring huskies to Wallowa County and met “the great people of this community.” Otherwise earning the veterinarian’s award for “Best Cared for Team” in both the ECX 100 & 200 has been the best experience in his career. He says it’s a “tremendous honor to be recognized by the sport’s finest veterinarians for conservative decision making and dog driving.”
His most embarrassing dog situation involved a recent total melt-down leaving him with a dozen stitches and a broken ring finger. While still in urgent care for this situation, Bino went ahead and entered the midnight run in Michigan.
Fowler’s goals are to be a great husband, build a pole barn, remodel the kitchen & install flooring, fill his salmon tags, & steer clear of trouble.
April Cox, 47, had owned Siberians for years when in 2005 she heard about a race only an hour’s drive from her home. With only recreational mushing experience, she entered the 3 dog class. After that race, wanting to take it to the next level and get into mushing more seriously, she signed up for Mushing Boot Camp that spring.
Her mushing highlight her first time finishing the Eagle Cap Extreme 100 mile race in tough racing conditions. She not only got the Red Lantern award, but came in 2nd place as well!
As far as embarrassing experiences, she had a group of kids visiting her and her dogs at the truck and one of the dogs decided to get amorous with one of the children! Another time, her team of young dogs stopped at the finish line to visit instead of crossing it!
April hopes to keep running various races and maybe move up to the Eagle Cap Extreme 200 miler someday!
What started as a camping trip with his dogs in 2007 evolved into mushing for Larry. His mushing highlight was driving the Tag sled through the streets of Anchorage for the Ceremonial Start of the 2015 Iditarod.
Morgan started watching the Eagle Cap Extreme through school and as soon as she could she started helping with the race. One year a musher asked her to run his spare team, but she was unable due to lack of experience. However, this put a bug in her ear that she might be able to do this. The next year she was given a dog from another musher and it all snowballed from there!
Her mushing highlight was running dogs with her Austrian sister Charlotte. Her most embarrasing dog situation was when she and Charlotte were hooking up two four dog teams. They hooked up Charlotte's team first and then Morgan's, but since she didn't have a leader she asked Charlotte to watch her team so they didn't tangle. Charlotte's team proceeded to pop their snow hook and take off up the trail. Charlotte took chase with Morgan's team while Morgan drove the truck around to head them off at Salt Creek Summit. Morgan got to Salt Creek summit and when she walked down the trail she found that Charlotte had somehow hooked up all eight dogs to one sled and was happily mushing her first eight dog team!
Morgan plans to attend Montana State University in the fall of 2018 to study wildlife biology.
In the late 80’s Dina lived in Colorado and the hiked a lot with her 2 husky hybrid dogs and she watched some local sprint races. When she moved back to Washington state she bought a sled and started collecting and breeding Siberian Huskies. She did many recreational activities with her dogs, started a group called Work-9 to do fun runs, did the Oregon Dune Run, and the Mail Run in Quesnel, BC Canada. Her first race was the Cascade Quest where she realized her Siberians were not competitive enough, so she started collecting Alaskans.
Dina’s mushing highlight was a number of years ago during the Cascade Quest. She had doing a lot of training on hills and on the first huge hill of that race she and her team went charging up and they startled the race marshal that was kicked back on his snow machine. He said “What are you doing here?” It turned out she was leading the whole pack!
Dina hopes to one day retire and buy a coffee plantation in Kona, Hawaii. “I figure if I put it out there enough, it could happen!”
Susan Parraga, 55, was our first local musher to enter the Eagle Cap Extreme! She has been running dogs around their Wallowa County property or taking them out carting for fifteen years but had mostly concentrated on showing her dogs rather than racing them. She and her husband would hook up 2 to 4 dogs and run them around their yard. It was 2 years ago that some of her dogs participated in the ECX Junior Race and last year her team ran in the 31 mile, 2 day ECX Race. Now she says it's HER turn to catch up!
She says her mushing highlight so far does not involve her, because her dogs are more experienced that she is. Her highlight was watching her dogs finish the Eagle Cap Extreme 31 mile, 2 day event in 2016.
Parraga has owned and bred multiple AKC champions and several years ago bred one of the top 25 Siberians. Her current team includes AKC Champion and Pointed show dogs. Her long term goal is to get a sled dog title for her dogs and exhibit in the sled dog class at the National Specialty. But first, she wants to finish this race!
“I have Siberian Huskies, it is a challenge to keep our of embarrassing situations!” Parraga writes. When passing by a vendor’s table, her foundation bitch jumped up and gobbled all of the snacks. For years afterwards, whenever that vendor saw them coming, she would clear her table."
Susan's favorite quote: "Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love, faith, and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made." ~ Roger Caras
Jane Devlin, 53, started her mushing adventures by rescuing Siberian Huskies in California. After attending a mushing boot camp with some rescued Siberian Huskies, she relocated to central Oregon to learn more about the sport and have access to trails and a mushing community.
Devlin includes running the Pedigree Stage Stop 8 dog Classic, chasing a moose at the Priest Lake Race, and having dogs that trust her and are a pleasure to work with as her mushing highlights thus far.
Jane’s goals are to make her dogs the best they can be in every aspect of the their lives.
She describes an embarrassing situation: “One of my dogs used to eat people’s jackets if they left food in the pockets. I bought a few jackets, kept my friends, and the dog lived to be 14.”
Another time she made her leaders turn the team around twice in a race when they knew the right trail. She bought them hamburgers as an apology!