WorlDog > The Young Brazilian Musher
The Sled Dog Competition – The Race of the End of the World, happened between the days of 25th and 29th of June, 2012 in Argentina. Twenty teams coming from different parts of the world competed on this thrilling sled dog in which the route included all of the winter centers of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. Among them, he is the first Brazilian to compete in this kind of sport. Julinho Casares of only 17 years old could not represent his country in a better way than the way he did, among a lot of snow, with his Alaskan Malamutes. His dogs, since they were born, have been trained to compete on beauty and structure competition, but as Julinho says, being at the breed’s natural habitat makes the dogs feel like they are home, and it makes the breed’s characteristics and qualities appear even more. Said and done. In only two months, the malamutes adapted themselves to the circumstances, to the snow, to the cold weather and to the centenary modality.
Some degrees below zero, high speed, the dogs doing what their breed is used to do, and a very determined Brazilian changed the history of this sport. Julinho was the winner of the special category of pure breeds, showing the best time in all the days of the race, which really surprised the natives and all of the Brazilian rooters that followed all of his steps during the competition, there in Ushuaia and in Brazil through the social networks.
According to Julinho, the support messages were essential for the achievement of this result, which at first seemed impossible to achieve.
You might be wondering: “How did this boy end up at the end of the world?”. It all started last summer, when Casares family went to Ushuaia to spend their vacation.
As they were touring around, they went to see Llanos del Castor, a Winter Center whose owner is Alberto Cichero, to have lunch.
They found out about the practice of sledging, and thank to Alberto’s friendship and disponibility, Julinho was invited and trained to the competition, also organized by Alberto.
Julinho made a lot of people sweat even though it was -24 degrees.
First of all, how old are you?
I am 17 years old.
How and when did you start practicing mushing?
I started practicing in the end of 2011, when i was searching more information about the Alaskan Malamutes and i bought a tricycle that “substitutes” the sled.
What were your first dogs that started practicing mushing? What breed were they?
Thor, Megan, Imiq,Tyler,Milley,Coral , all Alaskan Malamutes.
How did you decide to go to Ushuaia, Argentina to compete in the Sled Dog Competition – The Race of the End of the World?
I’ve Always liked all kinds of animals, specially dogs. The first thing i do when i am on vacation somewhere, is visit the city’s dog’s breeders, specially if it is a nordic dogs breeder, because the nordic dogs are my passion. When i went to Argentina, Patagonia, I met Alberto Cichero, owner of the winter center Llanos Del Castor, and he told me he intended to organize a competition for the next year (this year), i thought this would be a great opportunity to be with my dogs in an appropriate environment, which is the snow, where they are originally from, and there they could feel like their natural habitat and slide with me on the snow.
How many dogs were in your team and what breeds were they?
There were six dogs in my team, two Siberian Huskys and four Alaskan Malamutes.
Is there any special food for dogs that compete?
Yes, besides the dog’s food, i give them a little bit more of protein.
Apart of you and the dogs, who more were in the team? Who were your supporters?
Just me and my dogs, who supported me through the training, from the start, is Alberto Cichero, whom i owe a lot. He has been like a father to me, from the moment i got there.
What dog was the most important for you? Why?
All of my dogs are really important to me, there is not a dog who is more important then the others. Because what helps us through the whole competition is the love that we feel about each other. The owner and his dogs they need to have a connection, they can get each others’ thoughts by the look on their eyes, and of course by the commands I give them. They know they have something to achieve, which is the final line, and they get happier as they know everything is going ok with me and with them and they run as they were just playing. There is is the pack leader, which can be any of my dogs, because they bond, and are very sweet.
How do you identify a lead dog? What characteristics do you look for?
The leader is usually the dog who bonds the most with his munsher and answers to his commands easily.
You stopped in the middle of the race to help a competitor musher, what was going through your mind?
When i accepted the invite to participate of this competition, i knew there would be a lot of other competitors, with a much greater experience and that would be a privilege for me to run with them, it didn’t even cross my mind the idea of me winning this competition. When i saw the dogs coming in my direction without their musher, i figured this musher needed my help, i stopped immediately, held the dogs and i went to look for the competitor who had fallen but was already being taken care of. That moment all i could think about, was that i needed to help her, nothing else mattered.
You are a young musher from a country that there is no snow, you fulfilled the dream of competing in Ushuaia and you won, your story is inspiring the world, what could you say for those who are starting with mushing now or have a similar dream?
I say fight for your dreams. That was a revealing experience, in which i learned that through love, nature and the animals we can make the humans be more and more united , and if there is anybody out there who wants to join me, i will always be willing to take more opportunities.