Monday, October 03, 2011

Swingley leads team to endurance victory

By the Missoulian | Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011

A four-time champion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has a new kind of feather in his hat.

Doug Swingley of Lincoln led the Mountain A team to the gold medal at the 2011 North American Endurance Team Challenge in the Cascade Mountains near Greenville, Calif., on Sept. 25.

Swingley rode his horse Pal of Mine in the 100-mile U.S. Equestrian Federation event. He placed fourth overall in a time of 8 hours, 56 minutes after leading for 30 miles during the middle part of the race. Veteran rider Suzanne Hayes of Ovando and Suzanne Hedgecock of Park City, Utah, helped the Mountain team clinch the win. Teammate Christoph Scholk of Moab, Utah, was eliminated at the fourth gate.

Swingley became the first non-Alaskan to win the Iditarod in 1995, and followed with consecutive wins in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He announced his retirement from long-distance sled racing in 2008.

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