Mushing is a sport filled with ingenuity. There is no book, "Mushing for Dummies" or a how-to video on Youtube to demonstrate fixing a gangline or repairing a harness. And oftentimes, even if it is a standard problem like a flat tire or dead battery, it's combined with -40F temps and a pullout 100 miles from the closest town making your standard how-to guide worthless. Which brings me to my main point, mushing is filled with ingenuity. Unlike other sports with extensive rules and restrictions, there are few regulations in regards to sled size, design, or structure. While there are some rules (your sled can't have a sail on it), there is still ample room for innovation and experimentation. Many mushers design and build their own sleds, ganglines, truck dog boxes, tie outs, and other mushing equipment, making for a sport that encourages thinking outside the box.
Innovation is not just for establishing an edge over your competitors, but it's also required just to live day to day in a dog kennel. As the saying goes at SP Kennel, "it's never easy." Luckily Derek is exceptional at solving almost any strange problem that comes our way. For example, the record setting rain this last summer raised the water level to the point where it was spurting up the dog posts. Before freeze up, this was not really a problem, but as the temps got colder, it froze the swivel in place. Derek's solution? Build a portable airplane engine heater with an extension to send hot air down the dog post. An hour later, we were back in business.