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Four-wheeler donation gets injured musher’s team back on track for Iditarod

By Bonney Bowman Photojournalist: Andy Nitchman - 8:28 PM December 23, 2014

With the 2015 Iditarod only a few months away, training is the focus of sled dog teams planning to run north to Nome.

But a recent crash sidelined Willow musher Karin Hendrickson, who was hit by a car while training her team. Hendrickson broke her back and can no longer run her dogs.

She also lost a key piece of equipment, as one of her four-wheelers was totaled.

With not enough snow for sleds, Hendrickson says her dogs were falling behind on training. They had to run in shifts, with all 28 unable to hit the trail at once.

Musher Bryan Bearss is running Hendrickson’s sled dog team in the 2015 Iditarod, and to be ready in time, both knew they needed another four-wheeler.

Hendrickson went to Alaska Cycle Center, hoping to find one she could afford. The owners of the shop said they were so inspired by Hendrickson’s bravery after her crash, they wanted to help her get back on track with more than just a discount.

“They ended up donating, completely free of charge, a great big, awesome Honda Rubicon, so exactly what we needed,” said Hendrickson. “What a nice thing to do. They absolutely didn’t have to do that. They just decided that was something they could help out with.”

Now all of Hendrickson’s dogs can run together with two four-wheelers in tow.

“The dogs don’t need to take the year off just because I have to,” Hendrickson said.

“That donation just turns the season around for us,” said Bearss. “Now, we just need the snow.”

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