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Catching up with Art Allen

Thanks to Denny Hitchcock for providing this update on Art.

Click on photo for larger view

Photo provided byChris Rose-Anderssen, Norway
Originally published in NEWS LINES on the line - REC/Marion". Printed in May 1975

Photo Caption:
Art Allen with one of his nine dog winning teams coming down the trail at St. Paul, Minnesota

A quote from the text: "Art Allen grew up in the Pas, Manitoba, Canada and has been driving dogs since he was 10 years old. He has set the fastest time ever recorded for a 50 mile leg, 3 hours and 45 minutes or 13.3 miles per hour. He has held world championship for two years and lost one year by 30 seconds".

Another quote: " Art came to our area to work a sled dog team for Roy Gaddis, when Gaddis sold his team Art began to build his own team with a handful of dogs".

I wanted to give you an update on Art Allen. Some of you may know that Art was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a few years ago. He also has diabetes and depression. My wife and I visited him recently and Merv Hilpipre was there a short time ago.

He was very happy to see us and we, of course, enjoyed the visit very much, as well. I am certain Art would love to hear from all his mushing friends. That time of his life was a joy for him and, certainly, a joy for all of us who are friends and benefited from his help and vast knowledge of our sport.

As the first professional dog driver in the country, he paved the way for all those who followed. He was there in 1963 when racing started in Minnesota and that’s when many of us began our friendship with Art and began learning from him. He was also there when we started NSSDC and ISDRA.

A non-mushing friend accompanied me to the 2nd Ely race in 1971. On the way home he said “I really like your friend Art. He’s like the Will Rogers of the mushers. He doesn’t say much, but when he does, everyone listens.” How astute! Art would love to hear from you – a card, a phone call or a visit. He will appreciate whatever you are able to do.

My best to you all.
/Denny Hitchcock

Art's new contact information as of 12/22/09:

Colonial Manor of Amana
3207 220th Trail
Amana, IA 52203

Editor's note: You can also email your message for Art to Denny, he will print them out and take them to Art.  Denny's email is

We invite anyone who has an "Art Allen" story or photo to share it with us on this page.

You can Email us

Submitted by Kevin and Diane Johnston, 10/8/09

Art was one of the few dog men I've met that had a gift for training dogs to perform at a level beyond most peoples expectations. We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have Art and Judy Allen as our friends, mentors and part of our lives and our children's lives through out the years.

Art and Judy sold us our first sled dog and then took us out and taught us everything about dogs from a to z and his knowledge was endless.

We trained together for years and traveled to races together sharing rooms, experiences and they introduced us to the many wonderful friends we had on the trails. Wherever we went people would come to Art with training and race strategy questions and Art would always introduce us to his many friends. Many times I was told "if I could only train with one person it would be Art Allen, a sled dog champion, legend and friend to all.

Submitted by Max Hinkle, 9/14/09

Art is a very good friend of mine....I lived about six miles from him in Iowa. He was a great source of info when I got started.

After a number of years training with him at Greencastle wilderness area, one day when we were both done training, had all our dogs loaded and ready to go home....he asked me how it was going....and I started bitching about the rain, mud just about everything crappy.....Art turned to me and said "Max, just remember if your pissed about all this....can you imagine how your team of eighteen is feeling about now?"

In other words your team has feelings also....I'll remember his words for the rest of my life. Take care my good friend, my thoughts are with you.

Max Hinkle, Swisher, Iowa now in Grand Marais, Minnesota

Submitted by Judy Bergemann, 9/14/09

I'll start with my "first" Art Allen story:

I bought my first “professional” sled dog from Art and Judy in 1972. We went to Swisher, Iowa to look at various dogs and on the first run of the day, with Art riding in the basket of my sled, I dumped him out on the first corner!! I don’t remember what he said, but I can imagine what he was thinking! Smile

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