BULLIES come in all ages

BULLIES come in all ages
(click to see movie trailer)

Surround yourself with positive people,
energy, and situations;
always avoid negativity.


Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So, love the people who treat you right.

Forgive, and then forget about the ones who don't.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's Musher

Jeff King is recognized as the "Winningest Musher in the World." His victories include not only the 1,049 mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 1993, 1996, 1998, and 2006, but also over two dozen first place finishes in races all across Alaska. During the past 20 years, Jeff has logged more than 100,000 miles on a dog sled.

Jeff moved to Alaska from California in 1975 in search of adventure. He quickly became interested in dog sledding and Alaskan huskies, devoting all his spare time and money to building his own team, while developing a construction business. He began racing in 1980. His competitive nature had found a new outlet, and Jeff set his sights ever higher, entering his first Iditarod just one year later. In 1992 he decided to devote his full time and energy to training and racing, setting aside his construction business. He won his first Iditarod the following season. While on a training run in Denali National Park in 1980, Jeff's team became entangled with that of a new volunteer ranger, and thus he met his future wife. Donna Gates came to Denali after finishing her master's degree in Medical Illustration.

Donna and Jeff married in 1983 and began developing their homestead on Goose Lake just south of the park entrance. The King family also includes three daughters Cali, Tessa, and Ellen. Their Husky Homestead is home to approximately 75 sled dogs. In the summer months the King family welcomes visitors from around the world to tour their kennel and learn about Alaskan Huskies, the sport of dog mushing and the life and spirit of Alaska, the last frontier.

Jeff likes to invent. Several years ago, he added a comfortable seat to his sled. After falling asleep and falling off the sled, King added a seat belt. As stated in the Anchorage Daily News: "Musher Jeff King has developed a new, sit-down sled that some have labeled the Iditarod Barcalounger. King said it helps him get more rest, although he almost lost his team this year when he got to resting so well he went to sleep and fell off. He's since added a seat belt."

Like most mushers, King has a special relationship and respect for his dogs.

His daughter, Tessa, said, “In all my years of racing and running dogs, the way the dogs respond to my father is entirely different than any of us. We train his dogs sometimes, but they won’t respond to us the same. We’ll have to say a command two or three times, where if he does it, it’s just once. When he walks into the dog yard, all the dogs know. They turn around and look. They know he has something that the rest of us don’t.” (Husky Homestead.com)

My Arctic Camster friend, Dorothy from Australia visited Jeff's kennels at Goose Lake. Dorothy shared her impressions:

"I imagined a big strapping man, but he is slim, wiry, and smallish in stature, he impressed me as a person who would not suffer fools gladly. He is obviously very passionate about his dogs and the responsibilities that come with them. His voice and mannerisms give the impression of strength and calm confidence. He welcomed questions and gave in depth answers during and after the demonstration, then made himself available for photographs/autographs and had time to converse, which was a great thrill for me. Goose Lake is a very beautiful place, and he really made everybody feel that they were genuinely welcome to his home and kennels, I will always have very fond memories of that day --from holding the puppies--to walking amongst and making friends with some of the dogs used in the Iditarod --what a thrill it all was, on that very special day in June 2004."

I look forward to reading Jeff's new book, Cold Hands Warm Heart.
"These autobiographical short stories offer a glimpse into the heart of a champion, the rugged Alaskan lifestyle and the charismatic world of dogs. King opens his heart and mind to reveal an intimate view of himself and his unique life as he shares over thirty years of experiences. He sculpts an image of the true Alaska depicting the spirit of adventure and self-sufficiency. From a wall tent on the trap-line to the Iditarod trail in the heat of competition to the tragedy at his homestead near Denali National Park, he will carry you along in his sled and give you the ride of a lifetime". (Husky Homestead.com)

Please visit Angie at KEEP BELIEVING. She and her family need prayers, support, and positive energy to help get them through this most difficult time in their lives-Thank you.


Mason Dixie said...

thanks for sharing your Monday Musher. What great stories must lie in that book. =)

Deb said...

The Alaskan huskies are just so gorgeous! I am passing on a blog award to you today :-)

Julie said...

What a great post! I went to Alaska one time and would love to go back one day.

Anonymous said...

I also was very happy to have visited Mr King's homestead this past summer. I have followed the Iditarod for years, and it was a highlite of my trip to get to meet him.

Palaboy said...

Someday i would love to visit that dog kennels and see Alaskan huskies live. My sister already has a Siberian Husky and i wonder if the two breeds have similarities.