SOURCE: Chukka Caribbean Adventures

March 06, 2008 16:38 ET

Jamaica Dogsled Team Musher Newton Marshall to Race in the 210-Mile Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race

Historic Trek His First Qualifying Run for 2009 Yukon Quest 1000-Mile International Sled Dog Race

WHITEHORSE, YT--(Marketwire - March 6, 2008) - Twenty-four year old Jamaican Oswald "Newton" Marshall will mush a team of nine sled dogs in The Percy DeWolfe Memorial Mail Race, racing against a field that includes some of the best long-distance mushers in the world. This historic race takes place March 27-28, 2008 on the 210-mile Yukon River trail from Dawson City, Yukon Territory to Eagle, Alaska and back. This will be the first sanctioned sled dog race for Marshall and successful completion will be the first step by the Jamaica Dogsled Team to qualify him for the 2009 Yukon Quest.

The rough route of The Percy follows that of famed mail carrier Percy DeWolfe, who from 1910 to 1949 at times risked his life to get the mail through on occasion battling ice floes and temperatures as frigid as -75° F. In 1935, DeWolfe received a silver medal from King George for his service. To honor DeWolfe, the starting line is in front of the Old Post Office where the Dawson City postmaster and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police hand a package of mail to dog sled number two -- number one is always reserved for Percy. This mail is unique, part of the non-profit fund-raising efforts to support the race. Special envelopes purchased in Dawson City are addressed and messages inserted, then stamped, franked and carried by the racing dog sled to Eagle, Alaska, where it enters the U.S. Mail system and is delivered.

"I feel ready," says Marshall. "I have the best dogs, the best equipment and the best coach in Hans Gatt. "We have been training hard and in some rough weather doing about four 100-mile runs a week. In just a few months I've learned so much; not just about driving a sled but how to take care of myself and my dogs, especially overnight in the cold and dark."

Team godfather, singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett had these words of encouragement for Marshall: "You are one brave Jamaican mon up there in the frozen North. From all the way down here in the Caribbean, I send you all my good wishes, admiration and most of all respect for what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish."

"Everyone involved with the Jamaica Dogsled Team hopes that one day Jimmy Buffett will have reason to put pen to paper to celebrate this young man as the first black man and Jamaican to finish the Yukon Quest, and The Percy just adds to the tale," says Danny Melville, founder of the team and CEO of Chukka Caribbean Adventures. "We have been working toward this race since 2005, and Newton has been training with three-time Yukon Quest winner Hans Gatt since last November. There have been many ups and downs along the way, but Newton is ready to go the distance. I'm thrilled that our first officially sanctioned qualifier is this historic, gold nugget of a race. He'll make Jamaica -- and all of the Jamaica Dogsled Team supporters -- proud."

The Jamaica Dogsled Team is sponsored by Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Sorel, Annamaet Petfoods and Alpine Aviation, and is the newest addition to the Chukka Caribbean Adventures family. In addition to the mushers training and racing in Jamaica and North America, the team's dogs in Jamaica -- a motley crew of mixed breed dogs found on the street or through the Jamaican Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (JSPCA) -- are part of the unique Jamaica Dogsled Team Experience" and "Dogsled Encounter," offered at Chukka Cove Farm, Ocho Rios. Team membership for these dogs means a new and better life of care and meaning. They can be seen in the Palm Pictures' documentary feature "SUN DOGS" available on DVD. A portion of proceeds from the Jamaica Dogsled Tours and DVD sales on the team website benefits the JSPCA.

For more information about Newton Marshall and the Jamaica Dogsled Team visit www.jamaicadogsled.com. To learn more about Chukka Caribbean Adventures visit www.chukkacaribbean.com; The Percy visit www.thepercy.com and Hans Gatt www.gattsled.com.

About Chukka Caribbean Adventures

Founded in 1983, Chukka Caribbean Adventures is now the number one land-based nature adventure tour provider in the region, offering thirty-eight tours in Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, and Turks & Caicos Islands. Collectively, the operations will deliver over 300,000 adventure tours to cruise and hotel guests in 2007. With a commitment to deliver the highest quality tours with well trained guides and stringent safety standards, Chukka takes pride in showcasing the natural beauty of the Caribbean through unique and sensational experiences and providing opportunities for local residents and businesses and home to the Jamaica Dogsled Team. Awards include the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association "Attraction of the Year Award 2005/2006 and the 2007 World Travel Award as the "Caribbean's Leading Nature Adventure Excursion Operator."

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Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Mary Brennan/Roberta Garzaroli
    The Atrebor Group
    212-764-0340
    Chukka[at]AtreborGroup.com