A 24 year old young man originally from Minnesota, an EMT, and a young man pursuing a dream - and doing it well.
Competing against the best in the business, today Jake Berkowitz of Chugiak won the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race, apparently establishing a new record in the process. Working as a handler in other's kennels, Berkowitz has finished the Iditarod twice, neither time high enough in the standings to attract much attention even though last year he finished without dropping a single dog, a feat that has been accomplished by only three other mushers in the history of the race. Having proven he can handle and care for a dog team in the I'rod, today he's also proven that he can do 20 while while beating out the best in the business.
There is a pretty good article about Jake in the Anchorage Daily News website, and considerably more information about his background appears in a 2009 article from The Jewish Daily Forward website. Berkowitz is not signed up to run the 2011 Iditarod, preferring to focus on middle distance races this winter.
This is an exciting time in the dog mushing game, with quite a few young, intelligent mushers proving their abilities. One just can't help but be enthused.
Lance Mackey took second place in the CB-300, arriving only 72 minutes (yep, and hour and 12 minutes) behind the younger man. Gerry Willowmitzer finished third. You can view the complete leader-board on the Copper Basin 300 web site.
Today I put a lock washer and a jam nut on the damned bolt for the newly repaired drag mat, and took a team of four dogs out to test it. The repair gave me no problems, and the dogs gave me very few, so I'd call it a pretty good training run. Tonight I'm packing up to return to my workplace for a week. My counterpart at work has already warned me to expect a busy week.