“The dogs are doing great,” Big Lake, Alaska’s Jake Berkowitz says, “and we’re in good spirits.”
As of late Saturday night, the 26-year-old Berkowitz has ample reason to feel excited about his 2013 Iditarod run: he’s in 5th position and mushing with the largest team (15 dogs) of Iditarod’s top 20 competitors.
But in his Kaltag interview with KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen, his focus wasn’t just on being competitive but, also, on being a good custodian of his teammates. “Our goal right now is to continue getting these dogs in fine form, together… We’ve just got to keep maintaining them, and not get too ahead of ourselves,” Berkowitz says.
With Laureli, the Minnesota native talks about his outlook for 2013 overall – “it’s been a really, really good year” – as well as the importance of the “incredible mentors and friends” who have made his mushing career so special.
In particular, Berkowitz speaks highly of John Baker and Pete Kaiser: “We don’t look at each other as competition. I would be just as happy if those two were sitting here in my position as I am for myself right now.”
As of Sunday midday, Jake Berkowitz is in 5th position; he departed the Kaltag checkpoint at 8:35pm (Alaska Standard Time) with 15 dogs.