Photo by Jeff Schultz-www.iditarodphoto.com
OPHIR, Alaska - He grew up a Minnesota city kid, but Jake Berkowitz obviously yearned for the great wide open.
How else can you explain the fact he sits near the top of the leader board of the 2013 Iditarod dog sled race?
Berkowitz is in front after crossing the finish line in Ophir, Alaska at 1:14 a.m. Wednesday. There is a long way to go until reaching the Iditarod finish line, and there are reports of bad weather on the way, but just leading this legendary race at this juncture is heady stuff.
According to his biography on the Iditarod web page, The 26-year-old Berkowitz grew up in the Twin Cities and attended the Talmud Torah school in St. Paul before moving to Colorado to study to become an EMT. His travels led him to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he worked at Nature's Kennel and raced Ed Stielstra's B team in the 2008 Iditarod.
Jake told folks at Iditarod.com that he learned about the race at a young age but "It was one of those childhood dreams, like being a fireman or a cowboy; I just never thought it would happen."
After racing in the 2008 Iditarod Berkowitz moved to Alaska to pursue his passion of dog sled racing. Career highlights include winning the Copper Basin Sled Dog Race in 2011, and placing fourth in the 2012 Yukon Quest, which helped him earn "Rookie of the Year" honors.
He had to scratch from the 2012 Iditarod after severely injuring his hand during the race.
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