My family consists of my wife, Cathy, and our two daughters, Abby (5) and Molly (3). I was raised in the Fairbanks and Rampart areas. The majority of my youth was spent along the Yukon River where we operated a fishwheel in the summer and mushed dogs in the winter.
I grew up watching and helping my mom, Roxy Wright, compete in the sprint races. During the winter of 1982-83 mom also trained her dogs to run the Iditarod. I remember thinking it would be neat to be a champion dog musher maybe even an Iditarod champion some day. I had the opportunity to race the junior sprint races starting with the one-dog when I was four. By the time I was fourteen I had won every class available. As I finished high school I left the state and spent a few years in the Navy. On a Christmas break I came home and helped mom train some of her young dogs. It rekindled my love of running dogs and made me realize how much I missed Alaska and the dogs. My grandpa, Gareth Wright, had been training dogs to compete in the Iditarod and we were able to work together for a few years before I headed out on my own.
Cathy grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania and developed an interest in sled dogs while working on her degrees at Penn State. She came to Alaska to learn more about the sport of dog mushing. After handling the first winter and patching several jobs together she managed to get a position at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. As the 4-H youth development specialist for Alaska she began to have a growing desire to see mushing education programs developed for young people. Our marriage, the birth of our children, the need to relocate for training and several jobs has caused a little delay in progress but she still retains a strong interest in seeing more accomplished.
We currently live near Healy, Alaska. Healy is the bedroom community for the entrance to Denali National Park. Prior to moving to Healy two years ago we lived in the Fairbanks area. We spent one winter training in Delta Junction and another living in Eureka. The Healy area has offered an excellent school system, training trails, and a summer tourist season for economic opportunities.
What is your primary sled dog activity or area of interest?
How long have you been involved with sled dogs?
What sparked your initial interest in sled dogs?
If you remember your very first time behind a team of dogs, tell us about it.
Who have been your mentors?
What size kennel do you operate?
What type of tether/bowl system do you use?
What are the most important considerations in housing sled dogs?
Give us an overview of your feeding program.
Summarize your basic kennel management style.
What breed(s) do you work with?
What physical characteristics do you look for in your dogs?
What mental or emotional attributes do you require in your dogs?
Tell us about an all time favorite dog or two.
What criteria do you use for selecting breeding stock?
Do you use any pre-training evaluation of puppies?
What method do you use for starting pups?
What is the most important thing you look for in a young dog?
At what point do you decide a youngster is likely to make it in your team?
What is the training/racing philosophy of your kennel?
Do you have specific training goals for your team(s)?
What do you consider most important to accomplish in training?
It is important to try and replicate race conditions so that the dogs won't get depressed when you get out on the race. This may include things like going through checkpoints, eating and sleeping in harness, running in wind, etc.
What is the most indispensable training equipment you use?
How do you choose which races to enter?
What are your strengths as a racer?
What do you consider your weaknesses, if any?
Do you having a mushing career goal?
What does it take to win?
What is your vision of the future of sled dog sports?
What can individual mushers do to support and promote the sport?
What part do clubs and organizations play in sport development?
What advice would you give a beginning musher?
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