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One Woman, 17 Sled Dogs, And A Dream Of Victory

Becki Tucker and her team of sled dogs, collectively known as Outlaw Ridge, are training for the Can-Am 250, a grueling 250 mile race that you can help them win.

Outlaw Ridge competing. Photo provided by Tammy Wrobel
Outlaw Ridge competing. Photo provided by Tammy Wrobel
By Tammy Wrobel

Becki Tucker is one woman with 17 dogs who share a passion for sledding. Tucker has been racing her mid-distance sled dog team, Outlaw Ridge, for 16 years. Based in Voluntown, Connecticut, the team has competed in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Canada in races ranging from 30 to 100 miles. And this season, Outlaw Ridge is headed for its biggest race ever.   

Tucker lives her life by her own philosophy and beliefs. She and her team live their lives very much like a wolf pack. They share the same loyalty, love, trust and respect. While racing and training are a major part of their lives, there is much more in this for Tucker. This is her family, each sled dog brings something special to the team, and each is loved and appreciated for their own individual strengths and weaknesses.

Tucker starts every day before dawn. She runs 17 dogs, and uses an ATV, in gear, as part of her training. Her team consists of 15 Siberians. Danger, Gage, Haywire, Ikon, Posi, Thrasher and Turmoil are the seven boys on her team. Then there are the girls: Fuel, Gemma, Rogue, Shimmer, Super Star, Token, Venom and Wicked. She recently added two new members to her team, Stitch and Zig Zag, her first two Alaskans. All of the dogs are intense, have their own personalities and are ready to roll at Becki’s command.  Before the start of each race, Tucker has a talk with her lead dogs, letting them know what she expects of them. (For more stories and pictures of the dogs go to http://www.outlawridgesleddogs.com/ORourdogs.html)   

During her off season, Tucker does educational programs at many local schools and libraries. She packs the team and equipment into her specially designed dog truck and talks about her life, pack, training and racing experiences. All of the dogs are unloaded and tied to the truck, just as they would be when they go to their different events. Then she puts out her sled and lays out all the lines so that the children can see just how the dogs are lined up for a race. After talking of her adventures and races, she has a Q&A discussion and then all of the kids are invited to meet the dogs. Most schools invite her to come back every year.

In October 2008, Tucker suffered from a major head trauma after a freak ATV accident that to this day she does not remember. Laying in a pool of blood on the road, completely non-responsive, she was rushed to the hospital. She was on a ventilator for 4 days. When they tried unhooking her, she crashed and was immediately put back on "life support".  

The doctors prognosis was not good, they said the damage was severe and there was a 50/50 chance for Tucker, a 50 percent chance that she would NOT survive and the other 50 percent chance that her memory would be gone and she would be a vegetable in need of permanent care for the rest of her life! There was bleeding in her skull, a large laceration on the outside, her brain had been pushed forward, and a fracture to her right clavicle bone. It was the brain that was in the most jeopardy.  

But Tucker is one tough chick, there would be no stopping or holding her down. She beat all odds and is truly a walking miracle. Doctors still don’t know how she did it. She came back with more determination and last year she ran Eagle Lake 100, her first 100 mile race. And within the first hour of the race, she had a freak accident with a snow hook. A snow hook is a large, sharp hook that is put in the snow to help control the speed and to stop the dogs. The snow hook hit something hard along the trail, flew back up into the air and came around and stabbed her in the rear end. 

Medics tried to get her to scratch the race, she had a hole at least an inch deep on her left cheek. But those are foreign words to Tucker, there was no way she was being pulled from this race or quitting … those words are NOT in her vocabulary. She finished the race, coming in at an impressive 7th place, considering her injury.Later in the season, she went on to do another 100 mile race, the L'Odyssee 100 in Canada. 

This year’s race plans are the Irving Woodlands 100 in Eagle Lake, Maine on 1/18/14, Plum Creek Wilderness in Greenville, Maine on 2/1/14 and then the BIGGIE, the Can-Am 250 in Fort Kent, Maine on 3/1/14. The Can-Am 250 is the race that has their complete attention, focus and dedication. It is a grueling 250 mile race that requires intense training.

Outlaw Ridge is in need of sponsors. You can sponsor a dog for $45 or sponsor the whole team for $150. They would love to have corporate sponsors also. If you are interested in sponsoring, please go to this link: http://www.outlawridgesleddogs.com/ORBeASponsor.html   
Sponsor money is used strictly for racing and training expenses. Consider sponsoring this hard core team, hop on the sled and join them in their journey and watch their progress. Follow and track their races in this upcoming season!  

Check out and like her Facebook page, Outlaw Ridge https://www.facebook.com/pages/Outlaw-Ridge/102796796555976 It’s not too late to join in the fun!

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