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 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. More serious mushers rely on ATVs or golf carts to train large teams when there's no snow available.
What kind of dogs do you have?
I have four 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've used trails all over New Jersey, upstate New York, and Connecticut. The best trails in the tri-state 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?
Not really. I would love to visit Alaska and see the race start and end, but I don't see myself maintaining a large scale kennel any time soon. I would like to grow my team to do mid-distance level runs, but we'll see!
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. If the team gets much bigger, I'll likely start looking for a proper dog truck—which is a pickup with dog boxes on the bed.