EFRAT, ISRAEL - No experience, no dogs and no sled - no problem. Kansas City native Erik Claster hopes to become the first Israeli to compete in a 200-mile dog-sledding competition across Norway.
Claster grew up in Overland Park, Kansas where his family still resides. He moved to Israel eight years ago. Now he’s hoping to make history.
He doesn’t need your money or equipment. Outdoor equipment company Fjällräven supplies everything. He only needs your vote.
Claster is hoping to compete in the Fjällräven Polar – the Swedish equivalent to Alaska’s Iditarod but for ordinary people.
His friends are helping him with videos posted to Facebook urging people to support him:
To get in the 36-year-old needs 30,000 people to go online and vote for him. Entry to Fjällräven Polar is by votes and jury selection and is country-to-country based. Two people from each country/group are selected.
"It would be phenomenal to compete for Israel,” Claster told 41 Action News Thursday during a phone interview from Efrat. “Israel is an amazing and beautiful country and rarely gets any good press.”
Claster added he plans to represent both Israel and his ties to Kansas City – even promising to put Kansas City stickers and a KU flag on his sled and wear Royals gear underneath his clothing, if allowed.
As for where he came up with the idea to enter the race he said, “I’m an outdoors person. I figured what the heck, I’ve got the look so let’s give it a shot.”
Claster said he’s already training three days a week with an ex-Olympic boxing coach. He said his wife and kids are on board with his plan – however he’s worried it will lead them to eventually get a dog.
Voting ends on December 15. Fjällräven Polar 2017 starts on April 3 and ends April 8.