long-distance musher Gerry Willomitzer and his racing kennel, located near
Whitehorse, Yukon. The kennel has currently 40 adult dogs
and a dozen pups, and can look back at participating in five Yukon Quests and
Fewer than 20 dog
teams worldwide ever completed the 1000-mile Yukon Quest and the 1100-mile
Iditarod back to back. Gerry & the dogs became part of this
"club" in 2007.
One of the
downsides of living isolated (in terms of the number of other mushers in
the area) is that we have to maintain our own trail system. And as much I
welcome more snow, it usually means going out, preparing trails with the
snow machine (and cutting downed trees, marking sketchy river crossings,
finding detours around open water etc). Only after a good night of that
can we take the dogs on longer training runs. So me & my handler are
out there lots, and since a few days there is enough snow to be on sleds!
Just enough. Still scratching dirt on down hills and ice going across the
vastness of Lake Laberge, but we are on sleds.
back Nuway Crushing!
I'd like to
welcome again our long-time sponsor Nuway Crushing, of Whitehorse. They
can turn one big rock into many small ones. Don't try to make gravel with
your blender, it doesn't work. Nuway Crushing are the specialists for the
job! Thank you for your continued support!
the same group as in the last two years, so there is a lot of depth and
other than some surprises no surprises. Key leaders are Stallone, Willis,
D.O.G (Dee-Oh-Gee), Ginger, Scary, Hippo, Steve and Crusader. And of course
famous only for leaving the checkpoints and blasting down the trail. As a
dog that hates crowds of 2 people or more he is usually back in the team
when approaching a checkpoint. And still there: Drum, age 9 (large picture
below). He still outperforms most of his younger team mates, and at this
point I can't see any reason for leaving him home. The other usual
suspects include Bronson, Blackdog, Charlie, Ike, Chipper, Twinny,
Boxer, Garf, Hurricane & Highlander. Not in the line-up for
"longer stuff" are Danny, Greene, Attla, Thor & Odin, due
to their young age. But they look steaming hot in training, watch for them
in the races next year.
from Norway joined us as a handler about a month ago, and comes with lots
of experience and good attitude. Darcy is always holding the fort
down and now recreating the dogs in form of little felt figurines (not as
messy in the house as the real dogs). Nadja was "hired"
into the chef position and is busy preparing food drop meals. It's not
easy changing one's chef, because good food (along with the dogs'
performance) sometimes is the only means against the hardships of the
trail. But she has all my confidence. Jason is our chief mechanic,
and tries to keep every fossil fuel burning piece of equipment running. He
knows the dog trucks, snow mobile, quads, skid steers and the lean-beangreen-mean-machine
inside, bottom & out. And just like Drum Marcus can't seem to
retire and is quizzing about when he can jump in that dog truck again. He
always follows along to places like the good ol' KGB road in Knik (with
it's many resident coffee drinkers like the Redington family or many other
friends from as early as his early handling days in the 80s ) - and places
On a sad note
my trusty but bone-headed 13 year-old leader Maggie passed away suddenly
in October. (on the "beer label" below, the dog on the right)
While her duties lately were limited to keeping the pups in line and the
couch warm she played a key role in the team during my Quest years and
during the earlier Iditarods. She finished her last Iditarod in 2010,
almost 10 years old, with a blistering run from White Mountain to Nome, missing the fastest time from Safety to Nome by mere minutes. She was also
the one turning the team for the Bering Sea instead towards Shaktoolik
when I lost them that year (one of her bone-headed moves, not too
"trusty " right then). The little things that make a difference,
good & bad...
She lives on in the many pups she had.
racing schedule for 2013-14:
Top of the World 350 (placed 2nd last year - trying everything to
Jan 11: Copper Basin 300 (ditto: placed 2nd last year - trying everything
February: Denali Doubles maybe?? or Yukon Quest?? I am still sitting on
the fence as usual.
March 1: Iditarod