Another cheer for Judy Merritt of Moose Pass, Alaska. She and her husband, Bill, have selflessly opened their lives to me and my husband, Nick, as I have sought to fulfill my dream of becoming a musher. Judy gave me my first opportunity to stand on the runners of a sled in December and I'm hooked. Since that time, the Merritts have welcomed us in their home and treated us like long lost friends. We are now working toward moving into their handler cabin so we can help with preparations for the upcoming racing season. We're so proud to be a part of Trail River Huskies. Thanks, Jude.
Love--Dianne Maythorne & Nick Kimlinger, currently (but hopefully not for long) of Anchorage, Alaska
Paul Therriault, from Oxford, Maine has been my mentor. I would like to use this forum to publicly thank him and recognize his encouragement. I started mushing for fun with German shorthaired pointers (GSPs) nine years ago. We ran in the 4-dog sportsman class (some times with only three dogs) but we had fun any way. Then we started running longer distances, recreationally. However, the day I combined three GSPs and three borrowed Siberian huskies to race the CanAm 30 for the first time I knew I'd found my passion!
I also found my mentor on the trail that day. Paul and I ran together for a few miles and after the race I shared with him my sincere desire to participate in more mid distance races in New England. I'd met Paul previously at a sprint race and we'd become friends. Once I'd convinced him I was serious about taking mushing to another level, he sold me some excellent dogs, gave me a few too, and openly shared his enthusiasm, knowledge and experiences in mid distance racing in a way that inspired me to set goals and work hard to develop my team. You see, Paul is an accomplished mid distance musher having completed the Labrador 400, CanAm 250 and many 60 mile races in New England and Ontario. Paul Therriault is known for his good humor, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for dog mushing. THANK YOU PAUL! :-)
Sincerely, Tenley Meara, Topsham, Maine
I'd like to thank Bev Meyers for helping me get into the sport of mushing. When I have a problem with one or more of the dogs on my team getting up a big dune, there she is at the top calling my lead dog or dogs up. I'll tell ya' what, without Bev, I'd just be a kid with a dream of running a team.
I have three special guys that I would like to publicly thank for their love, trust, kindness, and courage.
#1. My dad Jerry Scdoris for loving me and trusting me and never letting me take the easy way out. For insisting that I identify and develop my strengths and my dogs strengths, dad never let me accept my weaknesses as an excuse for failure. Most of all he helped me to trust and understand our dogs, and he trusted me to take care of them alone on the trail. Thanks dad!
#2. Dan MacEachan is my wonderful friend and teacher. Dan trusted me with his irreplaceable lead dogs, Johnny, Copper and O.J. in Wyoming. Imagine a friend that would ride for 500 miles on a snowmobile for 12 days, going nine miles per hour just to help me live out a dream. I learned so much from Dan and hopefully someday will be able to pay him back for everything. Thanks Dan! www.krabloonik.com
#3. There are actually races and race giving organizations and individuals that don't want me in their races because of a " physical disability." I want to thank Frank Teasley the Executive Director of the Wyoming Stage Race for his courage. Frank knew I was having problems being accepted as a serious musher. So Frank became the "Millennium Man" of sled dog racing and went way out on a limb and invited me to race Wyoming. I was 15 years old at the time. A kid, a girl, and "physically challenged". He stood up to everyone and I finished the race and got my first Iditarod qualifier under my belt. Thanks Frank! www.wystagestop.org
These three guys are my mentors and are pretty amazing!
Rachael Scdoris, www.sleddogrides.com
We want to thank Mike and Lynn Congdon for all their help this winter. We were total beginners and the Congdons taught us so much, and even let us borrow a few dogs to learn with.
They were very patient and long-suffering, even when I forgot that the sled has a brake (sorry Lynn!), and when both my husband and I lost teams. They took strangers under their wings and became friends, and gave us an experience we will always cherish and never get out of our blood. Our 9 year old boy wants to grow up and be a bush Alaskan with a big dog team.
The Congdons are a blessing and I am very thankful to have met them. Sled Dog Central has also been a Huge asset and we have learned a lot from all that post on the site.
The Moldenhauer Family, Minnesota
As my first season running dogs is coming to an end, I am reflecting on the achievements both the dogs and I have made. These achievements can only be attributed to my mentor, Laurie de Ste Croix. Laurie's words of encouragement, timely advice and constant reminder to be patient has enabled me to get through my first season and not being one of the statistics of a rookie musher giving up before the end of their first season. I look forward to one day meeting Laurie on the trail, and maybe even having our teams pass head on without incident.
For those looking at getting into running dogs, I highly recommend using the mentor program - it will save you in the long run. A second thank you to Sled Dog Central for being the medium for the mentoring program.
Paul Jones, Nobleford, Alberta
I'd like to thank Joe Garnie of Teller, Alaska for getting me back into dog mushing and for giving me a jump start on starting a new team.
For the past three years he has helped me start a new team by providing advise on training dogs and he has also provided free breeding and even a trained leader to get on track. He has been there for advise in the morning, at night and on weekends. He is like an encyclopedia when it comes to dog care and training. I know for a fact that he has helped other mushers when they are down on their luck.
A guy like him needs three...no four cheers!
Tony A. Weyiouanna Sr., Shishmaref, Alaska
I would like to thank Judy Merritt for the advice that she is giving me through the mentor program at SDC. I chose Judy because of her practical experience and sense of humor which is so important to mushing. She has been helping me towards my goal of distance mushing and proper care of the team in this demanding sport. Thanks Judy!
I would also like to thank Jim Updegrove for his hundreds of hours of time training me to train the dogs and for getting me started in Alaskans. Thanks Jim!
Finally, I'd like to thank the hundreds of mushers who contribute to the SDC forum. I read it daily and it is at times informative, thought provoking and downright hysterical! Thanks to SDC and the mushers for this great time!
Julie DeLoach, running6dogs, Cascade, Idaho
My thanks to Doug Heitz in PA for all his advice on training our first husky, Loki, to mush. He has helped answer all my questions and provide suggestions for training a young dog (9 months now). He has even offered us the opportunity to visit and train with his dogs in Pennsylvania to help Loki in her advancement. He has been a great support and kept me going when I have gotten discouraged.
Thanks for all your help Doug! I look forward to meeting you and your family soon!
It's nice to hear from mushers all over the world. Thanks to the Internet for making that possible. Good luck and happy trails.......
from the most southern musher in Canada...Point Pelee, Ontario.
Ed and Tasha Stielstra of Nature's Kennel, Duluth, MN have helped me tremendously with ideas on how to set up a kennel. They have a kennel setup unlike any I have seen before. All the dogs have their own "doggie deck" (see the Nature's Kennel web site which has a picture of this deck). I have incorporated this idea into my own kennel set up. It is so obvious how happy the dogs are at Nature's Kennel. In fact, if I was a dog I wouldn't want to live anywhere else but Nature's Kennel! Anyone who wants to learn more about kennel set up and dog care should visit this kennel.
Ed and Tasha are also excellent people to contact to learn more about training dogs. In addition to each of them holding a full time job, they make the time for their second full time job of training dogs. I have been around some people that are more caught up with the idea of running dogs and don't put the time and love in to their dogs that they should. The Stielstra's are the exact opposite of this and are an excellent example to follow!
Ed and Tasha have also been very helpful when answering questions I have regarding dogs I have purchased from them. Unlike some people who never want to help once the dogs are sold to someone else, Ed and Tasha are always very willing to give advice and tips. I have even observed this with other people that have purchased dogs from them. I would strongly suggest that anyone who is just starting out with sled dogs or only have a few years of experience contact Ed and Tasha. Not only will you be given honest information about dogs they have for sale, they will help you pick out the right dogs to match your goals. The information and advice you receive from Ed and Tasha will be invaluable. The Stielstra's are definitely mentors I would recommend to anyone!!
Geri Jeardeau Ridgeway, WI
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