Edmond Man Preparing For Race In Iditarod

Tuesday, July 9th 2013, 6:28 pm

An Edmond man will be one of the few Oklahomans to ever race in the Iditarod.

Patrick Beall says it all started at Cross Timbers Elementary when he was a young boy and they learned about the Iditarod every March.

Beall realizes an 1,100 mile race through the bitter cold of the Alaskan wilderness is a far cry from Oklahoma.

"I get some weird looks and they're like, 'You're from Oklahoma?'" he laughed.

This week Patrick Beall will make the 3,800-mile trek back to Alaska.

"I've always loved dogs," explained Beall. "It was just kind of a thing that collided, and it's this synergistic thing of nature and dogs, and it's just as pure as it gets."

Beall started revisiting the idea of competing in the Iditarod about a year and a half ago when he found himself working as a guide in a small village in northern Alaska. So he got a job in Oregon as a guide running sled dog tours for families.

"Just in the middle of the woods with the snow and nothing but the dogs' footprints in the ground. It's pretty surreal," Beall said.

When Beall returns to Alaska, he will be working as a musher and handler for Iditarod royalty: last year's winner Dallas Seavey, and his father Mitch, this year's winner.

He will be living in a tee-pee like structure called a yurt and temperatures could reach 40 to 80 degrees below zero. But he says it's all part of achieving a goal he's had since he was a little boy.

"I just feel really proud to get to say I'm from Oklahoma and doing something like this in Alaska for Oklahoma and as an Oklahoman," Beall said.

Beall will still have to qualify for the Iditarod by finishing three shorter qualifying races.