One of the most notably recognized names associated with the Iditarod is Redington. Joe Redington, Sr., “The Father of the Iditarod,” was a man who worked hard, dreamed big, and achieved success. His desire to preserve the history of Alaskan huskies, sled dogs, and the sled dog culture, and to also preserve the history of the old mail trails and freight trails which ran from Seward to Nome, led him toward the development and creation of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
This year will be the 47th running of The Last Great Race®. Although Joe is no longer around, his legacy continues, especially through his family and their involvement with the race and mushing. One of Joe’s grandsons, Ryan Redington, is a distinguished musher who’ll be racing in this year’s Iditarod.
Ryan has been running dogs since his childhood years when he could barely reach the handlebars. Ryan, his wife, Erin, and his children, Eve and TJ, operate their kennel, Callin’ Trail Kennel. Aside from participating in various races throughout the country, Ryan also enjoys sharing his passion for sled dogs and teaching kids about the dogs and this sport.
Most recently, Ryan finished in 6th place in the John Beargrease Marathon. Over the next couple of days, Ryan will be racing in the UP200. I have been fortunate to meet Ryan on several occasions. I even got to be a dog handler for his team during last year’s Iditarod Ceremonial start (that’s also when I realized that I was not in as good of shape as I thought). This year, Ryan will strive toward becoming a 6-time Iditarod finisher. He will not be the only Redington racing this year; his younger brother, Robert Redington, will also be racing.
In order to get to know Ryan better, I reached out to him with some questions. Check out his responses:
Who has been your most influential teacher, mentor or coach? Why did you admire this person?
My dad, Raymie Redington, is my most influential teacher and mentor. When I was growing up, I helped him train many miles for his Iditarod racing. He still has a lot of dogs and his dogs will race with Michi Konno again in the Iditarod.
What is one of your favorite memories from being on the trail?
It’s hard to answer this question as I have had so many great memories out on the trail. One time I was traveling with Rick Swenson up and over Rainy Pass in 2007; and that year, it was super windy. We stopped in the wind and helped each other. It was extremely tough. We made it together and I heard Rick Swenson talk about how tough that was. Rick is the only 5-time-winner of the Iditarod. He told me in Rohn a couple different times, even years after, that he thought my Grandpa was watching out for the both of us that year.
When did you begin mushing? Who or what influenced you?
I started mushing as soon as I could. I was born to be a musher. It’s on both sides of my family. My mom raced the Junior Iditarod as well.
Although you certainly love all of your dogs, do you have a favorite dog?
My favorite dog is a dog named Crackle. She was an amazing lead dog, with super smooth trot.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in getting into mushing?
The best advice is to go mushing with someone who has been mushing for a long time. Learn the ways they do their ways and then find a way that works for you. Have fun and get lots of miles on the dogs.
What is your favorite book?
I don’t really have a favorite book, but my favorite magazine is called MUSHING.
Who is your favorite musical artist and what is your favorite song?
Portugal. The man and their song, “Feel It Still.” Their lead singer is John Gourley. His mom raced Iditarod and also his dad.
Were there moments when you were bored or lonely on the trail? If so, what did you do to pass the time?
I think lots about family and friends
Cake or Pie?
Best of luck, Ryan, as you make your way to Nome during this year’s Iditarod!