Iditarod Veteran Will Start Sled Dog Racing Season

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The dogs barking is the first sound you hear. And then you see Chad Schouweiler and his sled.

Schouweiler, of Irma, is an iditarod veteran and will race in his first sled dog race of the season on Saturday in Upper Peninsula, Michigan. He has been training his dogs since early September and considers the 63 mile race to be a warm-up for the rest of his season. His Alaskan Huskies started their training in the fall by pulling a 4-Wheeler, which is heavier than a sled.

“Once there’s a little bit of snow on the ground, usually around December, I switch to the sled and keep building miles and keep building speed,” said Schouweiler.

He has a team of 15 dogs that he races, although most races only use 12. Schouweiler says one mistake some people make when they first get into the sport is buying too many dogs too fast.

“Some people get too many dogs too quick and they’re overwhelmed,” he explained. “There’s dog sled sports that you can do with less dogs. You can have a dog or two pull you on cross country skis — you can have three or four dogs for a fun team. “

Schouweiler hopes to race in another iditarod soon. The 1,000 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness is a big change from a 63 mile warm-up race in Michigan. It’s no big deal for Schouweiler and his Huskies though — they’ve done it all before.


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