In Search Of…The Perfect Team
Holmen woman headed to Dog Sled World Championships
HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) — There is a certain peace and quiet that comes with living in the country. It’s a kind of quiet this Holmen neighborhood knows well, until the dogs are let out!
Amy Cooper has always been a dog lover but 19 years ago that love blossomed. “Many years ago I started skijoring, which is with one dog and ski’s. And we just did it for fun on the golf courses.”
But it wasn’t long before that fun turned into a full fledged infatuation. “I was just completely blown away by the whole experience. And that’s how it all started. I went and bought a couple dogs and a couple more. And here we are.”
For nearly two decades, Amy has been considered one of the top dog sled racers in the country. But unlike the ‘Iditarod,’ which is an endurance race over several days – this team is all about speed.
“So I sprint race which is anywhere from four to eight miles. We go out for 20 minutes and we’re done. The dogs are going as fast as they can for as long as they trail is.”
She typically trains on an ATV three to four times a week. The average speed: more than 20 miles per hour. “There’s nothing like it. It is the coolest feeling and the dogs absolutely love this we’re not making the dogs do this so be able to do something with them that they absolutely love as much as I do is just the best.”
She’s had many different dogs over the years, but something about this team is different. “The cohesiveness. They love each other, they love mom. It’s very special. This no doubt is my dream team. I can’t imagine ever having a team like this. They are the snuggliest dogs and the sweetest and they are so smart and I just love them.”
Amy has seen a lot of success over the years, but this year is perhaps the best of all.
Not only is she representing USA at the World Championships in Germany,she was also selected at the teams captain. ‘I’m actually competing in three different races. The first one is called a mass start. They’ll have all the 4 dog teams lined up and they just say go and it is total chaos. It’s very exciting. Whoever gets to the finish line wins. The second race is a relay. This is a new event. The last event is a three day time trial and they will add your times together and the fastest team wins.”
The competition will be tough but she is aiming high. “I would love to medal.”
But this trip is special for another reason, one that’s hard to talk about. “Well here is the thing, this is our last season. With the whole team. We are going to moving and I won’t be able to have a kennel. The timing is right and I just can’t imagine having another team like this so I would rather go out with a bang then another way. The timing is right. It will be difficult but this is the last hurrah.”
“Will it be emotional? I’m sure it will be. In fact, I am getting emotional now. But like I said, it feels right.”
After 19 years and countless races, Amy Cooper and her dream team of dogs will give it all they’ve got for one last run.
If you would like more information about the World Championships, check out www.sleddogsport.net/world-championships.