4 December 2013

Meet the Musher: Dallas

Meet Dallas.  Dallas is a 48 year old self employed Minnesota native.  He is  married to Amy Johnson, together they have two kids Austin and Avalon.  Dallas skijors with  Comet.   You can see Comet's interview here

What dog powered sports have you been involved with?

Skijor is it. Our background is skiing, and we wanted a family dog that could share the sport with us.

How did you first get started in the sport?

I was pushing 240lbs and desperately needed to get back into calorie burning sports, and the kids wanted a family dog. We'd seen the Skijor Loppet and that seemed like a fun. With the assistance of John Thompson at Skijor Now we found Ivana Nolke of Howling Dog Alaska and reserved the “smallest and least energetic” puppy in her dog's litter. Comet's been proving her wrong ever since, but otherwise Ivana has been a huge help with tips and advice to ensure Comet's success. Comet motivates me to exercise and I'm now 160lbs.

For many of us, running dogs is a lifestyle. When did you know you were hooked on the sport?

After the first 200 feet of our first mass start race. Comet lives for the hole shot (leading at the first corner).

Tell us what the local scene is like for you. What is mushing like in your neck of the woods?

The Twin Cities are fortunate to have both Skijor USA (mass start events) and Midwest Skior (timed events) along with very cooperative local park systems. But we don't have an active mushing scene in the cities. Most people have recreational class dogs and are just having fun.

What other kinds of training have you done with your dogs?

There's always the morning canicross run. We get some speed work in on a pubic bike trail next to our home were we regularly bike and rollerblade. Sadly we don't have anyplace for significant off-leash running time.

Tell us about your current dog.

Comet is our one and only dog. She's a family dog by day. She's from the Nolke line of Alaskan Huskies out of Alaska, and she's more on the Eurohound end of spectrum than husky. At 42lbs, she's a bit on the small side for Skijor, but she's fast.

What is your favorite piece of gear?

I've made some of my own gear I love tinkering with gear, but I'm a fan of the Howling Dog Alaska gear. I love their belt because it's simple and light, and priced right.
What is the best advice you have ever been given for mushing?

Jim Benson of Midwest Skijor says “It's never the dog's fault”. So Comet and I always tell ourselves it's Jim's fault.

What resources have you used to further your training?

The local clinics by Midwest Skijor, Skijor Now, Midwest Mountaineering, and Three Rivers Parks are all great resources, as are the common skijor books on the market. But really, it's just gee, haw, and whoa, with a belt, a bungee, and a harness. We've just gone with the flow and tried to have fun.

Why do you run your dogs?
I can assure you of one thing, Comet has NEVER asked herself why she runs or races. But every morning she does ask “why aren't we running yet?”