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Wisconsin dairy farmers turned dog-sled racers

(WKOW) — Richard Baum’s farm used to be filled with a small herd of 25 registered dairy cows. But now he’s opened his farm to dry-land sled dog competitions.

“It’s a family thing. You know, you’ll see people here, I mean everybody in the family is doing part of the race,” Braum said.

The Baum family got involved with sled dog racing because of their daughter’s interest in animals. When the neighbor’s Husky had puppies, they adopted one. From that point on, their passion grew.

“That’s one thing nice with the farming, it really fit in because we have the area to work with them,” Braum said.

“You can make trails, and you can do training all year-round.”

He said there are many parallels with dairy farming and dog sled racing.

“The feeding, the cleaning up, and the daily care of them. You know it’s the same as the cows.”

Jan Bootz-Dittmar, who operates a dairy farm with her husband, has been racing for years and said it’s become a real passion for her.

“All I ever wanted was four dogs, that’s all I ever wanted, and now I have 24,” Bootz-Dittmar said.

She also sees several parallels with dog racing and dairy farming.

“It’s not a hobby anymore, now it’s just a way of life, Bootz-Dittmar said.

“You have to be out there taking care of the dogs morning, noon, and night.”

Jan also said it’s not only the love of animals and the adrenaline rush, but something else which keeps her racing.

“We are very competitive people, but if there’s ever any problems, we can count on each other to help.”

While farming may still be part of Jan’s life, the Baum’s are happy that their farm is still a place for animals and people to work together.

Jessica Porter

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