Remember when the world was enthralled by the true tales of the Jamaican bobsled team? It was a simpler time then. You couldn’t even get a sympathy People’s Choice award for that storyline now. So Jamaica is stepping it up to the next level in an attempt to recapture our attention: the first Jamaican dogsled team.
Newton Marshall is 25 and had never seen snow until last winter. He got his training by having shelter dogs pull shopping carts through the streets of Montego Bay. And now he’s somewhere in the interior of the Yukon, competing in the 1000-mile Yukon Quest race.
In 2005 he was working for an adventures tour company as a horseback riding instructor when was recruited to take care of some shelter dogs the company had adopted. Before long he was using them to give cart rides, and the next natural step was to create a dogsledding team.
Maybe that’s a leap in logic, but it was good enough for Jimmy Buffett, the team’s sponsor.
So now Marshall’s holed up at a stop along the race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, complaining about the slush in his shoes, but currently in a very respectable 19th place.
Many Jamaicans have taken notice of Marshall’s pursuits, but no one seems to be envious of the cold-weather camping, long hours of hard work and visits to remote places virtually devoid of civilization.
“My friends think I’m a madman,” Marshall said, a huge smile emerging on his face. “They said I’m sick.”