RESIDENCE: Eureka, Alaska
PLACE OF BIRTH: Excelsior, Minnesota
FAMILY MEMBERS: ~60 sled dogs
OCCUPATION: competitive dog musher, wilderness guide
HOBBIES: hunting, fishing, camping
Brent Sass moved to Fairbanks in 1998 to attend UAF and ski on their Nordic ski team. He didn’t get started running dogs until seeing a neighbor mush by and telling himself he was going to do that some day. That neighbor, Kurt Wold, turned into a good friend and got him started with a dog team of his own. Brent spent the first couple of years going on long camping trips with the dogs and having all kinds of adventures. Later he got an opportunity to train with Susan Butcher and David Monson and learned how a large successful kennel operates— giving him a great start in the world of mushing. For Brent, mushing is a way of life and it is the life he’s eager to lead. It gives him a chance to get out and explore Alaska, go places he’s never been and places he’d probably never be able to go without dogs. Most importantly it is all about the dogs and the relationship he has with each and every one of them. Getting to know each dog’s behaviors and personality is what makes it such an adventure. Everyday is exciting, whether it is traveling on a new trail or just learning something new about the dogs, there is never a dull moment. This is what makes it easy for Brent to keep moving farther and faster down the trail.
Living The Dream
Brent is a dreamer who makes his dreams come true. Tons of people dream, but not very many people actually go out and make their dreams happen. Not a day goes by that he does not move forward toward accomplishing one of his many goals. He brings this same mentality to mushing. Brent feels like he wants it more than anybody else and will do what it takes to be the best. Brent brings a lot to the sport of dog mushing— both on and off the trail. Brent’s goals are endless, there seems to be a new one on his list each morning. This is what keeps the whole team driving forward. Goals are important to have in the first place and it’s even more important to carry them out. Brent’s main goals for Wild and Free Mushing have been to win both the Yukon Quest (check! — 2015 Champion) and the Iditarod, but there have been many goals surrounding each. Setting and accomplishing goals is what drives Brent every day, along with all of his fan support.
Brent couldn’t accomplish all of his goals and live his dream without the support of his fans, so visit the site from time-to-time to see his answers to many Wild And Free fan questions!
Get to know Brent Sass:
What is your most marked characteristic?
My fans would say my positive attitude.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
My grandpa told me as a young kid to “never give up.”
What do you consider your biggest accomplishments to date?
I would say three things:
· The entire 2015 Yukon Quest race.
· Having and breeding a competitive dog team from my own bloodlines.
· Living the dream of a wilderness lifestyle in Alaska.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My life, right now – living my dreams every day and continuing to set more goals and achieving them!
Describe the most beautiful view you’ve ever seen?
The one out my front door looking at my dogs and the wilderness surrounding me.
What is your motto?
“Attitude Is Everything!”
What would you be if you were not a professional dog musher?
It’s hard to even imagine, mushing is my life so I feel like I am doing exactly what I was meant to do.
What is your favorite music?
I listen to all music, but Country and Reggae are my favorites.
Tell us about the first dog you ever owned.
Willow was a husky/wolf hybrid dog who taught me more than I could have ever imagined!
What is your greatest fear?
A boring life…
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are key to your success?
Reacting to the dogs and what they are ready for in training, instead of trying to follow a set plan. Giving my dogs lots of freedom.
What is your favorite food?
Home-cooked food at the Redington’s.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My dogs, my friends, my family and my competitors.
What is your favorite race checkpoint and why?
Eagle! Good people, good food and a great place to sleep!
If you had to jump on a plane to leave AK tomorrow, where would you go?
I’d fly around the world and come back to Alaska!
Shortly after moving onto my new property in the Goldstream Valley in Fairbanks, I saw a neighbor mush by. I had seen dog mushing before, but this was different. As those dogs ran by me, just feet away, I looked into each one of their eyes and saw a drive and determination unlike any other. From that day on I knew that I wanted to be a dog musher. At the time I had just one dog, not really a sled dog but she did pull me around on skis. As my neighbor Kurt and I became good friends, I learned more and more about dogs, dog mushing and what kind of commitment it takes. The best thing about Kurt is his style, he doesn’t follow the pass, he goes over the mountain, blazing his own trail and this can definitely be seen in his dogs. Learning his methods and philosophy helped prepare me for the journey I was about to embark on. One day Kurt told me he had a litter of pups on the way and asked if I wanted one of them. I jumped at the chance and took one of the pups and named him Silver (after the Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox, Alaska). Silver turned out to be an amazing dog and when the next litter of puppies came along, I took two more and before I knew it, Wild and Free Mushing was born.
Dog mushing is all about the dogs and their constant enthusiasm and unbelievable drive to run. I have been very lucky to have found the dogs of Wild and Free Mushing. My dogs are special, really special. Each and every one of them is very important to the success of our Kennel. So what sets us apart, what makes my dogs different than everyone else’s you ask? It is their origin. In a time when bloodlines are so important in dog racing, we go against all the rules. There is very little known about the background to one half of our dogs genetics. Eighty percent of my Kennel comes from blood that has little known racing history. They come from a small Kennel in the Goldstream Valley in Fairbanks, Alaska. Kurt Wold has been there for years raising, training and loving his dogs. So when I bought property next to him four years ago, I was introduced to Kurt and his amazing dogs. In fact it is Kurt who got me hooked on dog mushing.
Over the years, I have mixed in genetics from champions like Lance Mackey, Joee Reddington, R. Smyth and Jeff King. But in the end, we have achieved success because they trust me and I trust them. I have a great relationship with every one of them. The bond I have with my dogs is something that Kurt made very clear from the beginning as one of the most important aspects of mushing. Because of this my dogs and I were able to prove that we are for real and a team to be watched. In our first racing experience in the Quest 300 in 2006, not only did we conquer Eagle Summit in one of the worst storms ever recorded but we went on to win the race in convincing fashion. In 2007, we had another great season placing 4th in the Copper Basin 300, earning Rookie of the Year honors and finishing 15th in the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest. Since those first races, the Wild and Free team has raced in twelve 1,000 mile races, winning Rookie of the Year in the 2012 Iditarod and six Top Ten finishes in the Yukon Quest, including the Win in 2015.
Wild and Free Logo
In 2004 while visiting his parents in Minnesota, Brent and his dad, Mark Sass, both decided it was time that he put a logo together for the Kennel. Brent had already decided on the name, but now they needed an image. Mark had an office next to a local graphic designer, so he made a phone call and in 30 minutes Brent was sitting at Jenny Janson’s desk. He told her he wanted something that incorporated mountains, dogs and the name Wild and Free. Brent watched as she searched her computer, moved stuff around on her screen, and in no time the Wild and Free logo was born! Brent is happy to be using the original logo that has been the trademark of Wild and Free for over 10 years! A special thanks to Jenny Janson.
Brent is a passionate and engaging speaker. Whether it’s storytelling or motivational speaking you are looking for, he would love to share his life, his challenges and his achievements with you. Brent demonstrates the true character of a sportsman and lives his “Attitude Is Everything” motto in everything he puts his mind to. He has overcome many challenges himself, and with his team, that have led to some great success stories. Brent’s comeback from the 2014 race season, followed by a win in the 2015 Yukon Quest, shows his perseverance and unending determination to reach his goals. Next up, Iditarod Champions!
Brent moved to Alaska from Minnesota and once he determined his dream was to own his own kennel and be a champion dog musher, he’s worked incredibly hard to realize that dream. He is a now the proud owner of the Wild and Free Mushing Kennel and has a championship dog team. Brent’s stories will leave you inspired and help you to “start” whatever it is you are seeking to achieve.
Do you believe? Book him for your next event.
CONTACT BRENT ABOUT YOUR NEXT EVENT:
- Attitude Is Everything
- Leadership And Character
- Following Your Dreams
- The Legend of Silver
- How To Get Started: Mushing Basics
- Living At Joe Bush Creek
2017 Yukon Quest