Martha’s Vineyard musher makes sled-dog history

Martha’s Vineyard musher makes sled-dog history

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After more than 2,000 miles and 24 days behind a dog team, Jodi Bailey, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 1987, set a new mushing record. She is the first musher to successfully run both long distance sled dog races, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, in the same year, as a rookie. (See related story, March 12, “A dog sledding achievement for a Vineyarder“).

She overcame many challenges but maintained her smile and sense of humor.

“It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you smile and get back up,” she commented to a reporter, after crashing on the final of three Happy River Steps.” Jodi finished 31st out of the 62 that started, and only 47 that finished.

“She was the third rookie under the burled arch, all finished within four places of each other,” said friend Tim Looney in an email to The Times.

Only 18 other women have run both races, and only one, Kelley Griffin, has done them both in the same year, according to a press release. No musher in history has run them both successfully in the same year on a first try.

For Jodi and her husband and kennel partner, Dan Kaduce, dog mushing is much more than a race — it is a labor of love. “I love my dogs dearly,” she said, “and to be able to go out and travel long distances with them, through some of the most beautiful country on earth, is an honor.”

Jodi and Dan maintain Dew Claw Kennel outside Chatanika, Alaska, with their several huskies. Contact them at dewclawkennel.com.