Don't ask dog sled musher Amanda to slow down. It's not in her nature.
She, herself, is a force of nature. Brimming with energy, drive and passion, she's the epitome of spirit, gusto and grit. She'll talk to you about hard work, about challenging herself and her sled dogs — and how it's all the makings of any ol' day on the trails or at the kennel.
Follow her for that day, though, and her understatement's revealed.
Amanda lives in Ray, "Minnesnowta" — near the Canadian border. She started racing sled dogs 10 years ago, after adopting her first-ever dogs, a large malamute and a german shepherd. When she asked how to de-engerize them because they were starting to shred her house, her breeder recommended hooking the dogs to a children's snow sled as a form of exercise.
That's what she did, and their joy rides quickly led to Amanda's thirst for more.
She set her sights on organized dog sled races. She entered and placed in qualifying runs with her team of dogs, and she started Snomad Racing, the moniker she races under today. The meaning of Snomad?
"Like nomads, we travel all over — finding that which sustains us: new races, new trails, new beauty, new challenges and new snow. That's Snomad Racing."
Amanda says that every race, every run and every experience are milestones in her mushing career. She accomplishes something in everything, even in failure. And that's one reason she's been successful in the sport. She's not afraid to fail.
Something else she's not afraid of? Hard work.
"I love animals and the outdoors, and I love activities that challenge me physically, emotionally and mentally. Sled dog kennel life is hard work! But it can be very enjoyable, too."
Reward for Amanda is in accomplishment and companionship. She loves seeing pups transform into "superdogs," because of the hard work they've done together. And she loves when veteran dogs look after the younger dogs and when they look after her, because she's taken care of them. They trust each other.
The team also succeeds together.
Snomad's most recent accomplishment? Finishing a 400-mile race with a 14-dog team, their longest race to date. It was their first try, they took fourth place, and Amanda finished as the highest-ranking female competitor. To top it all off, she and her team were recognized as Rookies of the Year.
The next race for Snomad is their last. Their last race needed to qualify for the Iditarod, "The Last Great Race®." And once they qualify? Watch out. It might not be easy, but Amanda's going to get there. It's in her nature.