Local musher Aaron Peck is speaking out about this week’s scandal involving peer Dallas Seavey.
Peck doesn’t believe allegations that March’s second-place finisher in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race doped his dogs.
“He is a real competitor, but he has strong character. He has been raised in a really awesome family. This is not the cheating kind of person,” said Peck.
“He really cares a lot about the race. It’s breaking his heart that he has to go through this.”
Peck answered questions about doping, as well as those about his own experiences in the sport during a visit to the Rotary Club on Friday.
He believes foul play is afoot in regard to what happened with Seavey.
“Somebody has done this to his dogs. You have to understand, at the end of the race the dogs go into a holding area,” he said.
“It’s not the most secure. This musher hasn’t slept for days. He is away from his team for a couple hours. Someone could have … slipped a pill in the dogs’ mouths.”
Beyond speaking about that, Peck also discussed his own reasons for loving the sport.
“To be really honest … I have ambitions about winning the Iditarod,” he said. “I am a competitive person, and my goal is to be the first Canadian to win.”
He has competed four times — in 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2013. His passion for the sport first began when he was the Iditarod live on television at 13.
Peck left for Alaska to try to train at just 18 years of age.
“This has been an incredible journey. I was slow to grow up. I was a transient traveling with sled dogs,” he said.
“But in the last four years I’ve settled down with my family and gotten more involved with the community.”
Peck and his wife own a dog boarding kennel and offer sled dog tours through their company, Elevation Dogs.
But he loves few things more than being pulled by beautiful huskies. He hopes to be back racing in 2018.
“I love what the race stands for. I’m still in the pursuit of the race. I am competitive,” he said. “I look forward to going again in the future.”
He also wants people to learn more about the sport, and is happy to teach people.
“I can be a light in the community, speak to schools, and be a positive example,” he said. “Don’t spend time begrudging that voice in your head.”
“Listen, and let it lead you right to your passion, whatever it is.”
(Story and photo by Jordan Parker)