Grohman Still Going Strong
Walter Grohman is by far one of the most seasoned participants at the Kearney Dog Sled Races at the age of 80 years young! The only change that people would notice about Walter over the years is that he now wears a helmet when sledding his dogs. This is in keeping with his way of always acting as an excellent role model for the sport.
Walter lives in Sprucedale, On. His kennel is known to many as “The Boot Camp”. Walter started dog sledding over 30 years ago and has mentored many a sprint racing musher. He is always willing to take the time to give a tip or two to a new recruit. Anyone who has been on the trail behind him knows that no one can maneuver a wooden sled like Walter. His foot work is done with precision and agility.
Walter, a Czech, immigrated to Canada in 1952 and raised 3 children. Walter’s passion for the sport started when his son’s friend gave him a red purebred Siberian Husky named Kortar’s Karamel “Kommander” bred by Carol Broadhurst. Initially, Walter was interested in Conformation shows and Obedience trials. He won many a ribbon! Not long after, Walter saw an ad in the paper for a dog sled race in Cold Creek. He went with his dog Commander and like many of us, he got hooked! Walter then bought a female from Kortar Kennels and raised a litter of six pups later to be well known as “The Copper Bullets”.
Oak Ridges was the town where this legendary musher started his journey of dog sledding. His youngest child, Janate, joined her dad at the races. In 1990, one of Walter’s dogs won the weight pull at 700lbs! His winnings all in food! When Janate left for University, Walter took his sledding to a new level. 1995 was the first year that Walter ran the 6 dog class and won his first big trophy at Tiffin Conservation. One of his most proud moments was winning the 2008 Sportsmanship trophy at the Kearney race. In recent years, Walter started skijoring and as expected, he loves the new challenge.
The Copper Bullets chilling in the sun Walter is also known as a long time participant of the Sequin Sled Dog Mailrun. Feb 14th, 2015, will be his 27th year participating in that event. Janate Cooper, his daughter, often accompanies him. to postmaster Faye Smith Walter leaving the Community Centre in Humphrey for I would think there are many people would acknowledge knowing Walter Grohman quite well but here are a few facts that many of you may not know about him:
- Walter is famous for cooking an all meat dinner. A typical meal for his guests would include: BBQ Steak, venison sausages with a veggie side of moose chilli. And afterwards, he still would have enough room to finish 2 or 3 bowls of ice cream.
- Walter is known to make the best maple syrup around.
- Walter is known to have one of the toughest dog sledding trails. If invited, he’ll make you sign a waiver. If you survive, he’ll present you with a trophy shirt.
- Walter is known to stoke his fireplace so much before going to bed that his guests have to sleep outside of their sleeping bags half naked.
- Walter is known to heckle other mushers for not helping their dogs on the trail.
- Walter is known to race shirtless when the weather is just right.
- Walter is known to out shave anyone to make an old pair of runners look like new. But beware if you hold the sled for him while he does it. Expect to be verbally abused but always with a bit of love in his voice.
Walter is an incredibly talented man.
Anyone who has had the privilege of knowing him is honoured to call him a friend. So, if you are one of the only people in the sport who don’t know him, take the time to introduce yourself! He’ll be racing today!