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Rachael Scdoris, Blind Sled Dog Racer

Updated on October 30, 2012

Rachael Scdoris is one of those people who stands out as an inspiration to others of all generations. She would be impressive even without her disability because she's an outstanding dog musher who has been competing in these types of sled races since the age of twelve. However, this is even more impressive because of the fact that Rachael Scdoris is legally blind. She hasn't let this disability hinder her from achieving any of her goals and has even competed in the pretigious Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.

The Iditarod (as it is commonly known) is a sled dog race that takes place each year to challenge the best of the world's dog mushers. The race covers over 1000 miles of land and lasts between 1-2 weeks. To compete at this level shows extreme skill in the sport as well as an ability to withstand the pressure of competition even in extreme weather conditions such as those in Alaska. Dog sled racers dream of being able to compete at this level.

Dog sled racing is a sport which is enjoyed by people from colder regions. Teams of dogs are trained to race for long distances in snowy weather (including blizzards). These teams are led by the dog racer or musher. A musher must have a unique combination of skills to be able to gain the trust and yet control the actions of an entire team of dogs that are racing in this type of weather. This combination of traits includes strength, patience, drive, athletic prowess, and respect for both animals and nature.

Rachael Scdoris has all of these traits. Additionally, she stands out as a musher who has persevered through a disability that most others in her position would assume prevents them from competing in a sport at this level. Ignoring the precedent set before her, Rachael Scdoris competed in the Iditarod in 2005. She was the first legally blind person ever to compete in this race. This points to the fact that she is the kind of person who has been able to identify her dream in life and to go after it wholeheartedly despite the obstacles that may stand in her way.

Rachael Scdoris did have some assistance during the Iditarod. She was allowed to compete under special regulations in congruence with the American Disabilities Act. The accommodations made for her situation included such things as the assistance of a visual interpreter who warned her of the terrain and conditions via two-way radio. These accommodations were minimal and were designed specifically to give her the same abilities in the race as everyone else had. The fact that she persisted in gaining these rights is another testament to her ability and willingness to chase her dreams.

The story of Rachael Scdoris's life and work as a musher is detailed in a book called No End In Sight which was authored by Rick Steber. It's an encouraging book for anyone to read. It is particularly great for people who are dealing with disabilities and struggling with the feelings of frustration and broken dreams that can come along with the ups and downs of having a disability. It is also a great book for athletes who always have to surmount certain odds in order to excel in their sports. Rachael is an inspiration not only to athletes, not only to the blind population but to all people who can empathize with the desire to chase dreams that aren't always easy to obtain.

Comments

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  • profile image

    Jim 

    5 years ago

    Wow just wow

  • profile image

    Mel 

    6 years ago

    Just watched the programme on tv in South Africa, you are an inspiration to people all over the world.

    G-d Bless you and your team, so proud of you!!

    Cape Town

  • profile image

    Sloan 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for the sled ride. It was really fun and I liked your dogs. Good luke in your upcoming race. I will follow youon the internet.

  • profile image

    Jeri Buckmann 

    8 years ago

    Every year the Sisters Chamber of Commerce hosts an event called "Sisters in Sisters". Was hoping to have Rachel be a speaker on Sunday Sept. 26th at FivePine Conference in Sisters. Please let me know if interested and/or available. Please contact me at jeri@sisterscountry.com or 541-549-0251. Thanks you.

    Jeri Buckmann

    Events Director

    Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    8 years ago from Washington

    I was wondering if I could use the picture that you used for your hub as I was doing a related article on Rachael who is a local favorite. Or if you would possibly direct me to where you downloaded the photo? Many thanks. Audrey

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 

    10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    I remember watching a documentary about this race a while back. It' a wonder anyone can finish let alone someone who is legally blind. Rachel Scdoris is a courageous young lady. I wonder at the amount of training that must go into getting a team of dogs ready that she can so totally rely on.

    Great HUB about an amazing young lady

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish MS 

    10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    Thanks for answering this request. I remember that she scratched out of her first Idatrod race, but completed her second Idiatrod and she was not last. She's an example to people to overcome what seem to be obstacles, but really are not.

  • profile image

    Your Buddy 

    10 years ago

    a remarkable lady, there is a lot to learn from her

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