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I come from a mushing family. On my Mother's side my great-grandfather, Frank Ryan, an Inupiat Eskimo, delivered U.S. mail from Unalakleet to other villages by dog team. On my father's side my grandfather Joe Redington Sr. started the Iditarod in 1973. He has raced in the Iditarod 19 times. 1997 was his last Iditarod and he finished 36th place out of 54 mushers at 80 years old. My father, Raymie, has ran in 11 Iditarods and my uncle, Joee, ran in two Iditarods. My brother Ray and his wife, Julia, have both competed in the Jr. Iditarod before. Now they have 30 dogs of their own and race in mid-distance races. Both my uncles, Joee and Tim, compete in sprint racing. I plan to continue our family tradition in racing in the Iditarod once I turn 18 years old.
How long have you been involved
with sled dogs?
What sparked your initial
interest in sled dogs?
Who have been your mentors?
What size kennel do you operate?
What are the most important
considerations in housing sled dogs?
Give us an overview of your
Summarize your basic kennel
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?
What criteria do you use for
selecting breeding stock?
What method do you use for
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?
How do you choose which races to
What are your strengths as a
What do you consider your
Do you having a mushing career
What does it take to win?
What is your vision of the future
of sled dog sports?
Tell us about one or two of your
most memorable sled dog experiences.
This year I started out number 10 in the record field of 22 mushers in the Jr. Iditarod. I started out at a slow pace for the first 15 miles. The main reason for that is because I wanted to let my team know that I wanted them to save their energy and I didn't think that the race was going to be won in the first 15 to 20 miles anyway. This year it was 170 miles long.
About 35 miles into the race we started to pick up the pace. By then we had already passed a couple teams and were gaining on others. I caught up to Ben Gray of Palmer about then and ran with him for about 20 miles. His team looked good and was moving real well. We snacked our teams together about 40 miles out. There was a lot of heat so we snacked them with flavored ice. The snacking only took about 2 minutes and we were off again.
I left Ben and my team wanted to pick up the pace more and by then my whole team was in a lope. By the time we got to Eagle Song Lodge, a sign-through checkpoint, I was happy. I caught up to Danny and Tryell Seavey there and ran with them the next 18 miles to Yentna, the half way checkpoint.
I pulled into Yentna the same minute that the Seavey boys did and then started to do my mandatory 10 hour layover. I snacked and watered my dogs as soon as I could. I was snacking my dogs when Wendy Warren pulled into Yentna. She had a very fast time there and was leading the race. She was 6 minute faster than me to Yentna. They sorted out the time deferential and she left 6 minutes before me.
I was in second place and I was very happy with my dogs. They looked very well and I was happy. The Seavey boys were 3rd and 4th. They were about 15 minutes behind me when we left Yentna. I watered my team five times at Yentna before we left to return for the finish line.
When we reached Eagle Song Lodge I saw where Wendy had picked up two minutes on us. I whistled my leaders up for speed and it took about 10 miles and Wendy was in sight. Wendy's team looked very good. I followed her for 20 miles before I passed her. She followed me for about another 15 miles.
We both switched from our boots to shoes so we could help out our teams better and pick up the pace more. My team was very strong on the way back and we kept our lead to finish in 1st place. It was a great victory for my team and me. I can't wait for next year's Jr. Yukon Quest and the Jr. Iditarod. I look forward to those races and I have already been training them for the last 8 weeks. I train my dogs every day now.
Advice to Beginners
What advice would you give a
If you do not do well racing at first, try to figure out what your problem was. Ask many other racers what they think and then just try your best and see what they do in training. Don't worry, maybe you can fix it for other races later on. When training just try to have fun and don't worry if you lose your team or anything. I think we have all done that so do not worry. Best wishes to all of you beginners.
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