Shirley Gavin, dog sled champion
The top lady dog musher in the whole world is still Chugiak’s own Shiley Gavin. She came in first place both days in the women’s World Championship Dog Sled Race. On Saturday she made the ten mile trail in 37:40. On Sunday her time was 37:53.
Shirley, who ran 10 dogs the first day and dropped to eight on the second day, said that the trail was in terrible condition from the lack of snow.
“It’s the worst I have ever seen it,” she said.
Her lead dog is a pure bred registered Irish Setter named Blaze. She has been offered $600 for the dog, but “I wouldn’t take a thousand,” she said.
Shirley, who has been training and racing her own dogs for the past nine years, was this last year elected to the Board of Directors of the Alaska Sled Dog Racing Association.
She has 24 dogs in her stable. Shirley does not make her dogs stay outside in all kinds of weather as is the custom with most Alaskan mushers. She has a large, comfortable dog barn behind her home, with a stove to heat it in cold weather. Blaze, as befits a leaders, is a house pet.
This year Shirley was sponsored by radio station KYAK. Her total prize money for the race was $375.
There was one other Chugiak lady musher in this year’s race — Sue Holesclaw of Birchwood.