Fort Yukon musher Josh Cadzow a Yukon Quest rising star

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Josh Cadzow is continually under a spotlight as one of the Yukon Quest’s rising stars. And he’s trying not to mind it.

“This is what the sport needs, a lot of media to get it bigger again,” he said a week before the 1,000-mile sled dog race.

Cadzow has received lots of attention in the news since his Quest debut in 2009. He also was prominent in the nonfiction book “Eagle Blue” about the Fort Yukon high school boys basketball team.

Though he might be one of the most well-known people north of Fairbanks, Cadzow hasn’t become comfy in front of a camera.

“I just can’t get the bug out,” he said. “I’ll get it pretty soon — with the microphone and the cameras. I’ll get used to it, I guess.”

And when recording equipment is nowhere in sight, he’s an eloquent speaker full of jovial banter.

“As soon as (a camera is) out of my face, I’m back to normal,” he said after being interviewed by a Japanese film crew. “Whenever it’s on, I’m like ‘aaah!’ and tense up.”

But in some places he’s already a star, so why avoid it?

In Circle, his arrival sent several of the population-70 town’s girls swooning over the 22-year-old who hasn’t lost his basketball player’s build.

And he, too, was happy to see something in Circle: the Yukon River, the waters that nestle his hometown of Fort Yukon. Behind him was the mountainous terrain that included Rosebud and Eagle summits.

Cadzow has logged most of his 2,000 training miles in Fort Yukon. He said mushers off the road system can compete with some of the best if they had the funds to do so.

“Being a Native musher, I think for the Native people to get involved after this, it would be great,” he said. “The money doesn’t flow into the villages too well.”

But first things first. Cadzow would like to prove the power of the villages with a strong showing.

Though he dropped five dogs because of low snow cover on the Yukon River reaggravating injuries, Cadzow thinks he has a strong enough team to finish well.

“They’re not sick anymore, and they’re eating better,” he said.

But if his dogs take him to glory, if he races himself into the spotlight, how will he react?

Shortly before he left Eagle in 10th place Tuesday morning, Cadzow clammed up a little with a microphone inches from his face as a reporter tried to pry into information about his dogs.

The fact that Cadzow had recently awoken probably didn’t help.

But true to form, he was his witty self again when all recording equipment was safely stowed.

As Cadzow filled tin cans with water, a reporter joked that he would sell his soul for a candy bar.

“Of course you would!” He teased. “You’re a reporter!”

Source: Fairbanks Daily News Miner

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