From Riding Bulls to Mushing Dogs

Gerry Walker and his 12-dog team on the 309-mile trail

Congratulations to Gerry Walker on winning Canada’s most prestigious musher matchup, the Canadian Sled Dog Challenge in late February. The race for the Cameco Cup is a 12-dog, continuous mid-distance race held in Saskatchewan and follows a route similar to that of the old sled dog trail used for years by trappers, the North West Mounted Police and the First Nations community to travel between Prince Albert and La Ronge. The total distance of the race is approximately 600 kilometers.

Walker, who has been mushing dogs for over 15 years, is no stranger to the winner’s circle for this Yukon Quest and Iditarod-qualifier race. An annual competitor in the 12-dog event, Walker has won the prestigious contest three times. This year, Walker and his dogs crossed the finish line in 67.35 hours.

For rodeo fans, Walker’s name will be ringing some bells, as he earned a back number for the Canadian Finals Rodeo three times in bull riding. These days, Walker and his wife, Brenda (they also have four grown daughters), run their Smokeyhill Kennel from their home at Pierceland, Sask.

The Canadian Challenge is sponsored by the Gateway North Sled Dog Race Assoc., a non-profit organization formed in 1994 to promote traditional sled dog racing in Saskatchewan.