Richard MacAuleyHometown: West Branch, MI
Richard MacAuley, 61, was born and raised in Michigan. Richard says, "In January of 2001, he was complaining about the cold and snow. Stopped myself. Instructed self to find a reason to enjoy, not just tolerate, the winter. Thought buying a snowmobile might work-but not being mechanically inclined, would most likely become a pedestrian a long way from home. Then I remembered Jack London's Call of the Wild and that at age 16, I had wanted to have a sled dog team. My father objected and the idea was shelved for 39 years." Thinking that mushing might be the thing to eliminate the winter complaints, he immediately went to the computer to find out about mushing in his area. He couldn't find anything, so about noon he headed to his favorite restaurant, and lo and behold, the restaurant was closed for the day (Karma was at work here). He proceeded to a second restaurant, pulled into the parking lot, looked to his left, and what do you think pulled into the enjoining parking space? Two people in a truck full of dogs and a sled on top. Before they could even shut down their engine, "I was knocking on their window, introducing myself and inviting them to lunch. This, as it turned out, was the beginning of a multi-year down hill slide. This downhill slide persists to this day. These wonderful people introduced me to mushing. I attended and helped at sled dog races the following two weekends. I was able to assist my new musher friends, their friends and even helped hold teams at the race start. In two short weeks, I was hooked. I might have been better in some ways to have run out and gotten hooked on heroin or so I've been told. The saying goes that heroin is better than mushing in three very distinct ways: 1) It is cheaper; 2) it is easier on your body; and 3) Heroin is less addicting. "Since that fateful day at the restaurant, MacAuley now owns 40 acres and a house (without commercial electricity) nestled within the Huron National Forest so that he can run his 46 dogs in peace and quiet. One thing lead to another and now his Iditarod debut is a short time away. MacAuley is a physician. He graduated from med school at the University of South Carolina in 1976. He is the father of two adult daughters and says he enjoys sailing, hiking, bicycling, traveling and reading.