How did you get into mushing?
I've always wanted a Siberian Husky and when I was researching breeders, I came across the mushers of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. I ran Dexter with a few borrowed dogs and I was instantly hooked.
How do you mush when there isn't snow?
New Jersey (and the surrounding area) isn't known for consistent snow coverage, so mushers rely on dryland equipment called "rigs", "gigs", or "carts" to run their dogs. The rigs have wheels and look like a mix between a chariot and a shopping cart. My main rig was made by Henning Bartel of Arctis Carts. I also have a more than 30-year-old aluminum Chambers rig that I use for races.
What kind of dogs do you have?
I have three purebred Siberian Huskies bred by racing kennels. They're leggier and less "fluffy" than traditional show dogs. My other two dogs are mixed breeds from rescue organizations.
Where do you mush?
I use trails all over New Jersey and upstate New York. The best trails in the area are in Brendan T. Byrne state forest in southern New Jersey, where mushers from all over the northeast meet for training and for races. I also use rail trails, mountain bike trails, and even less-trafficked dirt roads.
Do you compete in races?
Sometimes! I am a member of the Jersey Sands Sled Dog Racing Association and the Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club, and both hold races in the Pine Barrens. I usually compete to help support the clubs and meet other mushers from all around the country. That being said, we run for fun and don't really care about winning.
Do you want to run the Iditarod one day?
Nope! I would love to visit Alaska and see the race start and end, but I don't see myself maintaining a large scale kennel. My rule is that my sled dogs are also my pets, and as soon as they can't all fit in my bedroom, I know I've gone too far. I have nothing against those who maintain big, competitive teams. I just prefer my pampered sled pets.
How do you travel with so many dogs?
I started with a Mercury Mariner, which is a mid-sized SUV. It can fit four to five dogs, but it's a squeeze. In 2016 I added an '89 Ford Econoline which I converted into a dog-haulin' camper van. Unfortunately, the old van wasn't reliable enough to safely haul my precious cargo. In 2017, I upgraded to a Ford Transit Connect, which is smaller but safer and more fuel efficient.