Welcome to Wings & Paws
Our Cozy Home
Home to Rick and Linda Horstmann and our kids. A pack of eclectic,
energetic, four footed athletes, some call them "sleddogs".
It's about the adventure, it's about following your dreams, it's
about what my role model and friend Col. Norman Vaughan says:"Dream
Big and Dare to Fail"But mostly it's all about the dogs and
the unique passport to the Alaskan winter wilderness they provide.
Wings & Paws is located at Montana Creek Alaska, in a beautiful
Boreal Forest. The "Great One", Denali reigns supreme
over the area and enhances the spectacular Alaskan country side
in which we live and train our team of sleddogs. The Iditarod was
a goal and a grand adventure, but its really about traveling and
camping with the dogs.
The following was my bio from the 2002 Iditarod:
I am 54 years old, I was born in New York City but consider New
Cumberland, Pennsylvania my childhood home. While in high school,
I attended a presentation on the Naval Academy that included a movie
called “Ring of Valor”. It showed Naval officers traveling
the world, driving ships and flying planes. “I was hooked."
I enlisted in the Naval Reserves and was later selected for the
Naval Academy. During my Naval career I was able to, travel the
world, drive the ships and fly both helos and fixed wing aircraft.The
Navy overeducated me. I have a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical
Engineering, a Master of Education and a Master of Administration.
After my retirement (graduation as I call it) from the Navy, my
wife, Linda, and I , settled in Ventura, California and ran a motorcycle
training program. But a TV show about flying in Alaska awakened
a lifelong dream of flying in Alaska.
Being believers in living your dreams, we sold the business, packed
a few belongings and moved to Alaska, site unseen. Doors quickly
opened and I was hired first as a flight instructor and then as
manager of the Elmendorf Aero Club. This job proved to be so close
but yet so far from my dream of flying Bush Alaska. So, when the
opportunity arose I jumped on a chance to fly for K-2 in Talkeetna,
Alaska. I not only fly around majestic Denali, but I get to share
my awe and joy for Alaska with travelers from all over the world.
On a plane trip to Shageluk during the 1997 Iditarod “I became
fascinated by the idea of driving a dog team across Alaska.”
In 2001, with a borrowed team of freight dogs and 4 months of mushing
experience, I started the Serum Run. But, because of 5 mph dogs
and a lack of experience, I turned the team around.
Don Bowers helped me, like so many
others, get started in mushing. I kept my dogs at his place while
preparing for the ‘99 Serum run and helped with his Iditarod
team. When Don died, Linda and I became the caretakers for his place
caring for his dogs until good homes were found for them. In 1999
I took some of his dogs to Nome on the Serum Run including Maybelline,
who many know from Don's book. In 2002 I competed in the "Last
Great Race" the Iditarod.