Iditarod rookie's dog mushing interest is due to his son's unique birth defect

Brett Bruggeman, an Iditarod rookie, says that he got into racing because of his son who has a unique birth defect.
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Brett Bruggeman, racing under bib number 37, is an Iditarod rookie from Montana. He told KTUU that, to him, the race isn't just a sport, but a way to connect with his son.

His son Spencer started them both on the mushing journey partly due to a unique birth defect, which precluded him from other activities.

"He has a birth defect where one leg doesn't develop a lot of muscle on it, so he can't do a lot of the traditional sports," Bruggeman said. "He asked one day if he could race sled dogs as a sport, and two weeks later we had 10 dogs, and now we have 44."

"So me and him have been doing it from the start, since he was about 10 years old. He's a better musher than I am, so it's easy to have him along."

Bruggeman said it was an awesome opportunity to bond with and spend time together with his son in the great outdoors.

While Bruggeman admitted he was nervous for his first Iditarod, he was also excited. "We'll take it one run at a time," he said.

Bruggeman's son Spencer, who is working as a handler for his father this year but hopes to run the race himself in time, said that for two of them, the Iditarod is basically the "end goal."

"It's awesome to see our kennel get there, this is where I'll be in two years," Spencer said. "We're just hoping to finish with our dogs happy and our dogs healthy."

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You can read more about the other mushers participating in the Iditarod on our main musher page here.