AN UNLIKELY dogsledder from Jamaica is set to travel to Whitehorse, Canada this winter to train for the 2009 Yukon Quest.
Danny Melville, founder of the Ocho Rios-based Jamaica Dogsled Team arrived in Whitehorse last week to meet with Yukon musher Hans Gatt, and said he founded the Jamaica Dogsled Team with a collection of stray mixed-breed dogs found on the streets or through the Jamaican SPCA. The idea started as a fun way to promote humane dog care in his island homeland, he said.
What started as a fun way to promote humane dog care on his island homeland started to take off: lead musher Devon Anderson and the Jamaican sled dogs were featured in Palm Pictures' 2006 documentary Sun Dogs, which chronicled their trip to the 2006 U.K. championships in Aviemore, Scotland where the team gained an unexpectedly high placing, against all the odds.
Now, Anderson wants to tackle the 1,600-kilometre (1,000-mile) Yukon Quest, considered to be one of the most gruelling dogsled races in the world. Getting into the race, for starters, requires teams to complete qualifying races 322 kilometres (200 miles) and 483 kilometres (300 miles) long.
‘I'm pretty excited about it, because I never knew what it was,’ said Anderson, who had visited the territory earlier this year to observe part of the quest.