get to know
mandy nauman
Mandy was born and raised in northern Wisconsin.  She moved to northern Minnesota after high school and worked at Gunflint Lodge for a few seasons where she was first introduced to sled dogs.  "I took my first dog sled ride and wanted to be a dirty dog musher ever since", she says.  In 2003 she spent the summer working at a resort outside of Denali National Park in Alaska.  The National Park Service has a kennel of sled dogs that do patrols in the winter and in summer they do demonstrations.  Reflecting back, Mandy says "I remember thinking, I want to be that person behind that sled".  After her summer in Alaska she decided to go to college at Vermilion Community College in Ely, Minnesota.  A place known for its lakes, fishing, canoeing, and dog mushing so she knew she would like it there.  One of her classes was a dog mushing class which forever changed the course of her life. She explains further; "That class changed my life forever.  I knew I had to get back to Alaska.  It was all I could think or talk about.  My vision was to live in a simple cabin with a team of sled dogs.  I knew in the back of my mind that college had to be put aside to chase my dream."
She moved to Alaska in the fall of 2005 and started working for a sprint racing kennel in Salcha, a small community outside Fairbanks.  She spent 5 months there and every minute of every day was spent with those dogs.  This is where she learned about the important bonds formed between dogs and mushers.  She explains her difficulty in leaving after the first season; "Leaving that place was one of the hardest things I have had to do. I spent everyday for 5 months with those dogs and loved every one of them." 
After her season in Salcha she got a job at Chena Hot Springs Resort,  a popular destination 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks where she found her way into the dog kennel giving sled rides to guests.  The kennel manager there at the time was veteran musher Brent Sass, owner and musher of Wild and Free Mushing.  It was through this relationship that she became fully immersed in the world of distance dog mushing and has not looked back since.  Mandy took over the kennel manager position after Brent left and remained until the fall of 2008.  Since leaving Chena, Mandy has worked closely with Brent and Wild and Free Mushing.  In 2013 and 2014 Mandy trained, qualified for, and finished the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest.  Later in 2014 she aquired many of the dogs she ran during the previous three years and took the year off from serious training to help build her homestead with Matt.

"If I can inspire one little girl to follow her dreams,
then I've done my job as a female musher."
                                                                   ~Mandy Nauman

"Mandy explains the origins of the name: "Douglas Fir Mushing is named after my dad...Dougy.  When I told him I wanted to move to Alaska to run dogs, he never said "no" or "why in the hell would you do that".  Instead he bought me a one-way plane ticket to Fairbanks.  When I told him I got a job scooping dog poop for $100 a month he asked, "Is that enough money for beer"?  The last time I talked to my Dad was the night before he passed away.  I had called to tell him that I had applied for a dog handler position in Switzerland.  He laughed and said "Well I guess I better go get a passport".  My Dad passed away on April 20, 2007.  On my last goodbye, I told him that I would finish a 1,000 mile sled dog race for him.  My Dad was and always will be my biggest supporter.  I know he will be with me in spirit every step of the way.  I named it Douglas Fir Mushing not only to include my Dad's name but also name it after a tree that represents the essence of strength and life."