Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meet the Mushers - Justin (a.k.a AJ)

Growing up in southeastern Idaho, Justin spent his free time climbing, mountaineering, and kayaking. He continued enjoying the outdoors as he obtained his degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Utah. He recently started new career with The Great Alaska Council, Boy Scouts of America as the Director of Camp Administration.

Some of you may know Justin as AJ, short for Angry Jesus---even after cutting his hair and trimming his beard, the nickname stuck. There is always a reason for a long lasting nickname, and AJ suits him just fine. Along with his nickname and claiming to be the voice of reason in all things dog related, AJ is also known for being mentally and physically tough, very protective of Rebecca, and a no-nonsense kind of a man. AJ enjoys being self reliant and self sufficient, and the solitude of being on the trail.

AJ’s race history includes the Goose Bay 120, the Knik 200 and the Don Bowers 300. AJ raced to a third place finish in the Don Bowers 300 in 2008.

Based on their similar personalities and attitudes, Rebecca says Bridger is the canine incarnate of AJ. They broke the mold with both.

Rebecca on AJ: “When we found each other he said he didn’t have much to give, but promised to give me everything his hands and heart could make and provide. He has lived up to his promise. I am very lucky have a man that can keep such a promise, and that supports my wild ideas and goals, plus he’s about as handsome as they come. Eat your heart out…”

AJ’s Iditarod Profile:

What will AJ be listening to on the trail?
Race Playlist:

The Feeling Begins performed by Peter Gabriel
Wind it up performed by Barenaked Ladies
Blister in the Sun performed by the Violent Femmes
Hungry like the Wolf performed by Duran Duran
Rock Lobster performed by the B-52’s
Prairie Doggin’ performed by The Waybacks
Guacamole performed by Texas Tornados
Diablo Rojo performed by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Banshee performed by The Young Dubliners
‘O Mare E Tu performed by Andrea Bocelli
Welcome to the Jungle performed by Guns n’ Roses
Conquest performed by The White Stripes
Eyes on the Prize performed by Bruce Springsteen
Run like Hell performed by Pink Floyd

On the Trail Playlist:
Ramble on performed by Led Zeppelin
King of the Road performed by Roger Miller
Truckin’ performed by the Grateful Dead
Roadhouse Blues performed by The Doors
Time to Move On performed by Tom Petty
440 Horses performed by the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
Friend of the Devil performed by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
Lefty and Poncho performed by Willy and Waylan
The Man who Sold the World performed by David Bowie
American Land performed by Bruce Springsteen

Wake-up! Playlist:
Broken Hearted Savior performed by Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Intergalactic performed by the Beastie Boys
American Idiot performed by Green Day
You Could be Mine performed by Guns n’ Roses
Sabotage performed by the Beastie Boys
Dead Man’s Party performed by Oingo Boingo

About Us...

In 2004, we packed all our worldly belongings on a trailer and moved from living on a mountain in Park City, Utah to Alaska. (For a short time, and in true Clampett-style we had a rocking chair strapped to the top of our truck). We told family and friends we were moving because Justin was offered a job in Alaska; the real reason for the move was because Rebecca wanted to run dogs. Shortly after moving to Willow, we ended up on the doorstep of a stranger who was a musher, Lance Best. Quickly, he became Rebecca’s mushing mentor. After running her first team, Rebecca was addicted---it took some convincing for Justin to agree that this was a good idea. Rebecca started out with 1.5 sled dogs. The 1 being Tenzing who was born to pull, and the .5 being Luna the reluctant sled dog (she’s the mascot and matriarch of our kennel). Originally, Justin said someday our kennel might consist of a total of 4 dogs---Rebecca, of course, felt otherwise. Now, we have a 40+ dog kennel in Willow, and we are forward to the the 2010 Iditarod!