A Jamaican Dogsled Team racing in Alaska?
We all remember the 1988 Winter Olympics, when Jamaica shocked the world in sending a bobsled team to race. Once again, Jamaica is shocking the world, this time, by sending a dog-sledding team to race in the Iditarod. For those who don’t know what the Iditarod is, it’s the annual dog-sledding race that takes place in Alaska. The race begins in Anchorage and teams mush 12 to 16 dogs to Nome Alaska. Teams have to cover 1150 miles within 10 to 17 days.
The bobsled team was founded by Danny Melville, a Jamaican businessman. Danny was shopping for dune buggies for his Jamaican adventure tour business in Edmonton, Canada when he tripped over this “thing”, a metal frame with wheels, in the corner of a fabrication shop. He was told it was a dog sled with wheels so it could be used in the summer when there was no snow. The owners of the shop encouraged Danny to meet with famous dog-sledding coach Alan Stewart, who eventually became the coach for the team.
The next addition to the team is Devon Anderson. While Devon has never seen snow or a dogsled team, he did have one gift: an ability to communicate with animals. Coach Stewart was impressed by Devon. Devon was amazing, a natural. The dogs would do absolutely anything for him. Alan couldn’t believe it.
The best part of this story is how the dogs were recruited. All twelve dogs of the Jamaican team were founded in animal shelters and on the streets of Kingston Jamaica.
Since 2005, the Jamaica Dogsled Team have competed in several major events and are consistently finished as high as second place. Unbelievable!!
This year, Danny, Devon, and the dogs finished 47th at this years Iditarod.You can click here to see this year’s finish. Click here to see the rest of the results. Check the video below how the Jamaicans train.