Colleen
Robertia

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Colleen is a musher in the 2012 Iditarod
She did not race in 2011.
Colleen was a Rookie in 2010.

Bio
Results
Related Issue: Iditarod Racers, Women Racers Directory, Women in Racing, Women Racers, More Women in Racing, Race Schedules, Notable Women
Contact:
www.rogueskennel.com

Bio

Kasilof, AK

Colleen Robertia, 35, was born and in Pennsylvania and raised in Massachusetts. She received her B.S. degree in 1998 in New York, with a major in Environmental Biology and a minor in African Studies. She then worked as a zookeeper caring for threatened and endangered species of large hoof stock (elephants, rhinos, giraffe, antelope) and big cats (lions, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs) in Georgia for the Wildlife Conservation Society and then for the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. She says, “We quit our jobs at the zoo to thru-hike the 2,168 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It was a period of deep introspection. We figured out what was important to us in life and moved to Alaska in 2002. She says “I’ve always enjoyed wildlife, wild places, and wild people. Alaska offered all three so I moved here!”

 

For the last nine years, she has worked as a counselor for emotionally disturbed youth. “Since I started mushing, I’ve made it my goal to prove that year-round excellent treatment, diet and veterinary care are the hallmarks of success for anyone working with not just sled dogs, but all dogs. I’m a veteran of the two toughest and – at 1,000 miles each – longest sled dog races in the world: the Iditarod and Yukon Quest. I’ve also competed in dozens of 200-300—mid-distance races around the state of Alaska, earning first place finishes in several of them, including most recently the 2010 Gin Gin 200. In addition I was presented with the Humanitarian Award by the race veterinarians and judges for my excellent dog care. I am a four-time recipient of this award from various races, and over the years have also received awards for “Sportsmanship” and “Spirit” of tough self-reliance. I take pride in my accomplishments since not only do I train my dogs while maintaining a year-round full-time job, but I also run dogs taken in from animal shelters or given to me by other mushers after not working out in their kennels for various reasons. In the summer, I free run my dogs on the beach, hike with them in the mountains and swim with them in nearby ponds. In winter I develop and adhere to a rigorous conditioning and training regime to transform seemingly ordinary dogs into canine athletes of the highest caliber. All the dogs in my kennel have a home for their whole life, and I work hard to better the understanding of sled dog care, including most recently taking part in a comprehensive study of Alaskan huskies with congenital laryngeal paralysis (a.k.a. wheezer disease). Working closely with veterinarians I provided information to pedigree analyses, DNA samples from my dogs for genetic investigations, and allowed two of my dogs to receive corrective throat surgery, one of which will be in training for this Iditarod as a result of the procedure. Annually I strive to prove that it is hard work, perseverance and canine compassion that are a winning combination. I’m hoping to continue spreading my humanitarian message by further improving my success with my dogs during the 2011-2017 racing season, and I welcome any financial or in-kind support.”

A member of both that Iditarod Official Finishers Club and the Yukon Quest Official Finishers Club, Colleen is married to Joseph Robertia. She enjoys long-distance backpacking, camping, cooking, gardening, and writing angry letters to the government.

Colleen Robertia, 33, was born and in Pennsylvania and raised in Massachusetts. She received her B.S. degree in 1998 in New York, with a major in Environmental Biology and a minor in African Studies. She then worked as a zookeeper caring for threatened and endangered species of large hoof stock (elephants, rhinos, giraffe, antelope) and big cats (lions, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs) in Georgia for the Wildlife conservation Society and then for the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. She says, "We quite our jobs at the zoo to thru-hike the 2,168 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It was a period of deep introspection. We figured out what was important to us in life and moved to Alaska looking for a life closer to nature, with potential for adventured and with more genuine people." Since coming to Alaska, she has worked as a youth counselor. She began mushing in the fall of 2003 and says, "Having worked several years for a former Iditarod champion, Iditarod has always been the ‘BIG FINISH' of the season. As a handler I would train dogs all season only to see them get leased to others for the Race. Now with my own kennel, running thousands of miles with my own dogs, Iditarod is OUR end goal." A Yukon Quest finisher, she has won some mid-distance races in Alaska and has received the Humanitarian Award several times for her devotion to her dogs. Colleen says, "My dogs are my family and best friends. For me the appeal of the Iditarod is to travel with them as one unit, working together, to travel across Alaska as competitively and humanely as possible. As with all races I compete in, my team will be made up of several rogues, to include many runt, rescues and rejects from animal shelters and other mushers. I have worked hard to overcome many of the physiological/behavioral issues of the dogs in my kennel, and I take pride in all the work my husband and I have put into them - without the aid of handlers or helpers and while both are maintaining full time jobs. I don't define my success by how well I do against other mushers. Rather I define it by how well I do with my own dogs and how well my message reaches race supporters and spectators. My message is simply yet comes from the fiber of my being which is: you can have a competitive team and live by a humane philosophy. Perhaps I'm not considered to have the best of the best in terms of canine athletes, but I try to do my best with the dogs I have, and they do their best with me." When asked about hobbies and interests other than dogs and mushing, she says, "Pulling pranks on my husband and neighbors, spending money on my dogs that I don't have (or ever will), and getting my niece and nephew to believe outrageous stories (like I caught a leprechaun in my house so he gave me his pot of gold, when really it was gold I won in a race) and then having them repeat the stories to their parents who call me mad. I also enjoy backpacking, camping, hiking and playing sports. She is married to Joseph.

Results

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