Explaining success can also be futile. The explanations and reasons for success aren’t automatically obvious to either losers or winners.
Doc Lombard feeds his dogs Kasko. So dozens or hundreds of Alaskan mushers switched from fish and oats or rice to feeding Kasko and other commercial kibble dog food. (But what was in that brown bag with no labels that Doc also used?)
Ten years later Dick Wilmarth won the Iditarod feeding his team trapline food: beaver and fish. So a new fad began.
Doug Swingley uses dayglow pink dog booties made from lycra. More about that fiasco another time.
Buddy waxes his sled runners every day and uses P-Tex!
Lloyd feeds his dogs glycerin so they don’t scoop snow.
In the 1980’s Harris Dunlap advertised dozens of dogs for sale in ads that bragged about his breeding program and the criteria on which it was based, including the dogs’ wheel rear ends and lemon yellow foot pads. Another musher commented, lemon yellow is not genetic, that’s just urine burn, and a wheel rear end is what you see with a dog that has a sore gut and diarrhea.
More examples are welcome.
Sandy Saunderson was more perceptive. In the 1990s when Roxie was winning all the Alaskan sprint races he said, if we want to win our program needs to be better than hers.
George Attla’s sarcastic view of the herd mentality went something like, “If I put a cigarette in my lead dog’s mouth after crossing the finish line, the next weekend you would see all the other mushers putting cigarettes in their lead dogs’ mouths.”
A scientist would caution: don’t confuse coincidence with causality.
Pablo Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”