Congratulations to Katie Winrich, the winning junior musher from our Harness Giveaway! This 12-year-old aspiring junior musher from Reedsville, Wisconsin was our number one choice and she received a full set of harnesses (harnesses we accumulated through our Trade In/Trade up sale). Katie currently owns three Alaska Huskies and a German shepherd mix. This will be Katie’s 1st racing season and her goal is to run in the 4-dog sprint class. Katie is a very nice, smart and mature young lady, and she won our hearts with her very nice bio write-up. We wish Katie the best luck pursuing her mushing dreams!
Hi, I am Katie Winrich and I am a 12-year-old junior musher from Reedsville, Wisconsin. I have been mushing for 1 year now. The interest I have for mushing first started when I was 8 years old, when my cousin spent the whole summer at my house with her sled dog. That is what changed my whole way of thinking about life. I fell in love with the power of the dog as my cousin ran her sled dog and I knew that I wanted to see that every day. So then, the long time of studying to convince my dad that I was ready for a new responsibility of owning my own sled dog kennel was on! I studied for almost a whole year reading any book I could find, asking Carlleen, my cousin, questions and surfing the web for any information. There was so much I needed to know. Finally, on December 1st I knew that I was ready but then things took a turn for the worse. That morning my mother died, and that threw my entire life off track. It was like being torn in two. Then that winter a new fire was lit in my dream of being a musher when Carlleen took me to her uncles and let me run a two-dog team. I knew then that that would be my life passion.
That summer my family looked for another dog because the two that we had passed away during the winter. Therefore, we went to the pound and came home with this German shepherd mix named Cinnamon. Now even if my family did not know it yet, I was thinking ahead when I first saw her. I knew she would be a good lead dog. Then as soon as she was fixed, I started her training. Cinnamon loved to run, she was coming along very nicely but if I wanted to sled race I would need at least two if not a three dog team.
So, I started looking on sled dog central for free or inexpensive sprint dogs. One day I came across this one ad were a man was selling out his entire kennel. I convinced my dad to give him a call and he said that most of the dogs were gone but he had six dogs left. Never the less we drove to Michigan and some how I talked my dad into getting 3 of the dogs. We came home with Racer and Rocket who are brothers, and then there was Pilot the old leader. Now that I had the dogs, it was time to get them into shape. This went well enough after I figured out that I should put Pilot in lead with Rocket with Racer and Cinnamon in wheel.
Training went well that year and over the summer, I worked on furthering my bond with my four sled dogs. My sister and I did agility and obedience training over the summer. Then come August, it was fair for 4-H so Cinnamon and Rocket went to compete in agility and obedience. They had lots of fun, but then school started and that meant less time with the dogs. I still manage at least 2 hours with them after school even though my schedule is busy. We have started training for this year and they dogs are doing great!
I hope to race this year but if not I still have the time of my life with them whatever we are doing. However, there are always things to improve on and then there is always the fun in the misadventures, like the time my team altogether stopped and then turned and headed for home trying to leave me behind. I did manage to catch them but by the time I got to them, they were all tangled up so that was a 30 minutes stop we had to make and then finally head for home.
You know how sometimes you have to make the mistake 2 or 3 times before you get it right? Well this was the time, I only needed to make the mistake once and I do not think I will do it again. I was going to run the dogs. I did not have a rig but I wanted to see if the 3 dogs would work together so I hooked them all up to a bike (do not do this ever) and we started on our way. Along the way, I slipped and went flying and the dogs took off with my bike dragging it along the trail. It took a long time and a lot of running before I finally caught up and the funny thing was they were all just sitting there as if they were saying: “What took you that long to get here? Come on let’s go!”
Yes, I have good memories with them, but we are still improving. To keep myself organized, it helps to have goals. Here are the ones I would like to accomplish: To run in a 3-dog sprint race, to continue training in agility, to get a job and completely support my team, to have a kennel of six dogs, have a litter of puppies, and to continue my dream wherever it takes me.