- Ramy Brooks
Ramy "Ray" Brooks (born
December 24, 1968"1996 Iditarod Mushers: B", para. 11.] in Fairbanks, Alaska) is an Alaska Native kennelowner and operator, motivational speaker, and dog musher who specializes in long-distance races. He is a two-time runner up in the 1,049+ mi (1,600+ km) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Raceacross the U.S. state of Alaska, and a former winner of the 1,000 mi (1,600 km) Yukon Questdog sled race across both Canadaand the U.S.
Brooks is descended from the
Yupik Eskimos ( Inuit) and AthabascanIndians, two of the indigenous groups who were the first to mush dogs in Alaska."Meet Ramy Brooks", para. 3.] His grandfather, Gareth Wright, was a competitive musher who won both major Alaskan sled dog races of the 1940s, the American Championship(twice), and the Fur Rendezvous World Championship(three times). Wright was also a dog breederand kennel owner who became known for breeding the Wright's Aurora Huskyfrom the Irish Setter, the St. Lawrence Siberian Husky, and village dogs."History of Sled Dog Racing in Alaska", para. 1, 5.]
Brooks's mother is
Roxy Wright(or Wright-Champaine), another kennel owner and competitive musher. She became the first woman to win both the Fur Rendezvous World Championship in Anchorage, Alaskaand the Open North American Championshipin Fairbanks.Fact|date=June 2008 She won the open class of each event three times, and the women's classes eight times apiece. In 1990, she also won Europe's largest dog sled race, the Alpirod, across Italy, Austria, and France. She is also was honored with the Mush with PRIDE Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996, and once competed in the Iditarod. "Wright Champaine Earns 1996 Lifetime Award", para. 1, 2, 6.]
Brooks's maternal aunt is Shannon Erhart, who competes in sprint races. She placed third in the Women's Fur Rondezvous race in 2000, and has also raced in the Open Fur Rondezvous. Her husband Curtis Erhart has raced in the
Kuskokwim 300."Meet Ramy Brooks", para. 4, 5.]
Brooks was raised in a
Yukon River fish campin the Fairbanks and Rampart areas. During the summer he operated a fishwheel, and during the winter he mushed the family dogs. After high school he joined the U.S. Navythen went to the University of Washingtonbefore returning to Alaska and married his wife, Cathy. He wife was raised in a dairy farmin Pennsylvaniaand attended Penn State, but moved to Alaska where she is employed by the University of Alaska Fairbanksand works as the 4-Hyouth development specialist for the Alaska. Originally they lived in Fairbanks, but moved briefly to Delta Junction, Alaskathen Eureka, Alaskain 1997, before settling in Healy, Alaskaby 1999."Ramy Brooks Interview", para. 1, 3, 4.] They have two young daughters, Abby and Molly. The cabin they lived in at Eureka was owned by former Iditarod champion, Susan Butcher.
The family owns and operates Kami Kennels, primarily composed of Alaskan Huskies."Ramy Brooks Interview", dogs section.] "
Kami" is a respectful Japanese term for sacred spirits "Kami", para. 2.] , and Brooks chose the name to symbolize the importance of his family. Brooks has visited schools as a motivational speaker since 1993, participates in Mush for Kidssince 1997, and from 2003 has been a trusteeof the Alaskan Children's Trust.
He attempted to commit
suicideat age 16, and suffered from depression in his 20s. As a result, he began working with the Alaska Mental Health Trustin 2005, in an attempt to reduce the extraordinarily high rate of suicide among Native Alaskans. Dillon 1, 2, 6–8. ]
Brooks won his first race, the single-dog
Junior North American Championship, when he was four years old, with his dog Sam. He went on to become the first person to win the race three times in a row, and by 14 years of age he had won every class in the race."History of Sled Dog Racing in Alaska", para. 7.] He started competing in long distance races in 1992 and 1993. "WINNER! Ramy Brooks won the 1999 Yukon Quest!!", para. 3, table.]
Brooks placed 17th in his first Iditarod, in 1994, and won the Rookie of the Year Award. He consistently improved his ranking for the next three years, breaking into the top 10 in 1997 with an 8th place finish. "Ramy Brooks (Bib 16)", table at bottom of page.] After two family deaths less than 10 days before the 1998 race and recurrent dog problemsO'Harra, para. 1, 9, 10.] , he completed his worst finish in 1998. In 2000, he returned and has consistently placed in the top 10, with his best a back-to-back pair of 2nd place finishes in 2002 and 2003. In 1998, he won the drawing for the
Joe Redington, Sr.Award, and in 2000 he won both the Sportsmanship and Most Improved Musher Awards. "Ramy Brooks (Bib 16)", table at bottom of page.]
Brooks is one of the few Alaskan Natives competing in the modern Iditarod. Few indigenous Alaskans compete in the modern Iditarod, which is a considerable change from the early days of the Iditarod. In 1976, more than one quarter the entrants, like the record-breaking
Emmitt Peters, were of native descent. The most common reason given for this paucity is the expense of the training and equipping a competitive team. Rural Alaskans find it difficult to acquire the necessary sponsors.Hutchison, para. 6–13. ]
In 1993, he placed 15th in 1,000 mi (1,600 km) Yukon Quest dog sled race."1993 Race Results", table.] In 1999, he won the race from Fairbanks, Alaska to
Whitehorse, Yukonwith a time of 11 days, 7 hours, and 31 minutes."1999 Race Results", table.] His 1999 win was accompanied by the Dawson Award for being the first musher into Dawson City, Yukon, winning 4 oz of gold, the Kiwanis Award for being the first to cross the United States-Canadian border, and the Major's Award for winning. His lead dog, Pretty Boy, won the Golden Harness."Hall of Fame", lists 1999 Yukon Quest awards.]
Brooks has also raced in the
Kuskokwim 300, Copper Basin 300, Tour de Minto, Fire Plug, Sheep Creek Classic, and Henry Hahn 200. "WINNER! Ramy Brooks won the 1999 Yukon Quest!!", para. 3, table.] He won the Henry Han 200 in 1996, and placed 4th in the Kuskokwim 300 in the same year (also winning the Eddie Hoffman Humanitarian Award) "WINNER! Ramy Brooks won the 1999 Yukon Quest!!", bullets at bottom of page.] , but his primary goal is to win the Iditarod. According to Brooks, "living my dream and the love of working with my dogs", is the reason he races. "Ramy Brooks (Bib 16)", quoted in para. 9. ]
Iditarod disqualification and suspension
2007 Iditarod, witnesses said they saw Brooks punch and kick some of his dogs and hit them with a ski pole when they refused to leave a checkpoint during a March 15, 2007stage in Golovin, Alaska, less than 100 miles from the finish in Nome, Alaska. Brooks denies the more serious allegations, [ [http://www.komotv.com/news/local/7193806.html KOMOTV.com: Iditarod awaits dog abuse report] ] but acknowledged "spanking" the dogs in his team with a trail marking lathe. One of Brooks‘ dogs died the day after the incident, but a necropsycould not determine why the dog died and race officials said there was no evidence that Brooks was to blame. [ [http://www.heraldnewsdaily.com/stories/index.php?action=fullnews&id=103332 Herald News Daily: Iditarod organizers hear abuse testimony] ] On March 17, 2007, the judges voted unanimously to disqualify Brooks from the 2007 Iditarod. [ [http://iditarod.com/press/release/pressrelease_370.html Iditarod XXXV Media Advisory] ]
May 18, 2007, the Iditarod Trail Committee Board of Directors announced that they had suspended Brooks for the 2008 and 2009 race, and following that Brooks would be on probation for 3 years. [ [http://www.ktva.com/topstory/ci_5930449 KTVA: Ramy Brooks Decision] ] Interviews of three adult and two child witnesses by an independent investigation team factored into the decision.Fact|date=June 2008
* "1993 Race Results". (n.d.). [http://www.yukonquest.com/servlet/content/426.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Yukon Quest, Information on Past Races site] .
* "1996 Iditarod Mushers: B, The". (1996). [http://www.alaskanet.com/Tourism/Activities/iditarod/mushers/b.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from See Alaska Online, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race] .
* "1999 Race Results". (n.d.). [http://www.yukonquest.com/servlet/content/420.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Yukon Quest, Information on Past Races site] .
* Dillon, R. A. (October 19, 2005). "Musher speaks out about fight against depression, suicide." Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved March 7, 2006 from State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, Alaska Alliance for Direct Service Careers site [http://www.partners.hss.state.ak.us/aadsc/img/brooks.pdf (pdf)] .
* "Hall of Fame". (2006). [http://www.yukonquest.com/servlet/content/436.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Yukon Quest, Information on Past Races site] .
* "History of Sled Dog Racing in Alaska." (1998). [http://www.ramybrooks.com/Archive/history.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Ramy Brooks' site] .
* Hutchison, Kristan. (n.d.). "Fewer Native mushers in the race." The Juneau Empire. [http://www.icepeople.net/stanpage/stannative.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from icepeople.net site] .
* "Kami". (March 3, 2006). In "Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia." [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kami&oldid=42080004 Retrieved March 9, 2006 from Wikipedia] .
* "Meet Ramy Brooks". (n.d.). [http://www.ramybrooks.com/meetramy.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Ramy Brooks' site] .
* O'Harra, Doug (Sunday March 15, 1998). "Heavy Load". Anchorage Daily News. [http://www.ramybrooks.com/Archive/hevylod.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Ramy Brooks' site] .
* "Ramy Brooks". (2006). [http://iditaweb-1.gci.net/gdc/musherbio.php?eid=259 Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Official Site of the Iditarod, 2006 Iditarod Musher Profiles] .
* "Ramy Brooks (Bib 16)." (2006). [http://www.cabelasiditarod.com/mushers/brooksr.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Cabela's, Iditarod 2006 Race Coverage] .
* "Ramy Brooks Interview". (n.d.). [http://www.sleddogcentral.com/interviews/brooks.htm Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Sled Dog Central] .
* Runyan, Joe. (2003). "Rating Ramy Brooks: The Summer Season." [http://www.cabelasiditarod.com/coverage_2003/prerace_article-0301.html Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Cabela's, Iditarod 2003 Off-Season Updates site] .
* "WINNER! Ramy Brooks won the 1999 Yukon Quest!!". (n.d.). [http://www.ramybrooks.com/experience.htm Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Ramy Brooks' site] .
* "Wright Champaine Earns 1996 Lifetime Award". (2000). [http://www.mushwithpride.org/RoxyWrightChampaine.htm Retrieved March 7, 2006 from Mush with Pride: Providing Responsible Information on a Dog's Environment site] .
* "Media Advisory... Ramy Brooks" (2007).http://iditarod.com/press/release/pressrelease_370.html Retrieved March 18, 2007 from www.iditarod.com] .
* "Brooks disqualified from Iditarod" (2007). [http://www.adn.com/iditarod/race_2007/features/story/8719515p-8621560c.html Retrieved March 18, 2007 from Anchorage Daily News] .
* "Ramy Brooks Decision" (2007). [http://www.ktva.com/topstory/ci_5930449 Retrieved May 19, 2007 from KTVA.com] .
* [http://iditaweb-1.gci.net/gdc/racemusher.php?id=228 Current statistics in the 2006 Iditarod from the official website]
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