Girl will race dogs in Alaska
The race, which starts in Wasilla, Alaska in late February, and is open to teenagers ages 14 to 17, is typically 150 miles. The distance can vary depending on trail conditions, said Taylor, a 10th-grader who is home schooled while racing, but normally attends the Northern Bedford School District.
The 2008 movie, "Snow Buddies," a Disney movie about a dogsled race in Alaska, got her interested in the sport, she said. Later, Taylor would meet one of the dogs from the movie.
Taylor's mom, Julie Steele, said she thought it might be a phase her daughter would grow out of, but she has given it her heart and soul.
She told her mom when she turns 18, she will lose her to Alaska, Julie Steele said.
Taylor's goal is to race the Junior Iditarod and then one day win the adult Iditarod. To even race, a musher must have three major races under their parka, Julie Steele said.
"She's 100 pounds of fighting fury. That girl is strong as a horse," her mom said. "There's no stopping her."
Training is the hardest part of the endeavor, says Taylor.
Taylor is mushing daily for two 40-mile runs, alternating two different teams of dogs. The 40 miles takes about four hours on average. In between runs, they rest for five hours.
Taylor says the sport is physically and mentally demanding. Besides working with the dogs, Taylor has to keep herself warm, fighting against facial windburn and frostbite on eyelids.
The winner receives a $5,500 scholarship, a new sled, computer and tickets to the adult Iditarod race awards banquet.
Although racers win prize money, clothing to protect the musher in the cold temperatures and equipment are expensive. A dog and a sled cost $5,000 each, she said. Pants cost $300, while a parka costs $1,000, said Taylor.
Critical thinking challenge: Why are clothing and equipment so expensive? Why doesn’t Taylor get her supplies at Walmart?
Define these words: musher, phase
- Posted on January 9, 2013
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