Meet the 2018 YQ300 Mushers

1.) Allen Dunn

58 year old YQ300 Rookie

Nationality: American

From: Kittanning, PA

Occupation(s): Dog Musher

Kennel name: Second Wind       

Kennel name origin: Getting my second chance at life with the dogs.

Kennel bloodlines: Mackey and Seavey

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 30

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 10

Tell us a little about your dogs: Frost is the foundation of my kennel. Lou and Noah Pereira gave me Frost a few years back. I had taken Frost to the vet for a fight with one of his siblings. While he was at the vet he escaped and got hit by a car and it took three days to find him. He has a 10 inch plate and 10 screws in his leg and his mushing days are over. His job now is supplying me with lots of puppies.

How did you get started running dogs? Went to a sled dog race and fell in love with the sport.

What do you love most about running dogs? Seeing the trail and having a personal relationship with the dogs.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? Seeing the trail and finishing with healthy dogs.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? People I know from back home.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Two Rivers 200- 12th; 2016 Jim Lobdell Memorial Race 32- 5th; 2015 Seney 300; 2014 Can-Am 60

 

2.) Jacob Heigers

52 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: My own flat wallet

Nationality: Canadian and South African

From: Grizzly Valley, Yukon

Occupation(s): Construction

Kennel name: isiBindi/River Ice

Kennel ame origin: Converging two kennels

Breeds: Siberian Husky (Ramstead, Ellis); Seppala (Bragg); Alaskan Husky (Studer); Chukchi

Number of dogs in kennel: 30

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Eight

Tell us a little about your dogs: Very proud to run some totally unique dogs.

How did you get started running dogs? Friend introduced me

What do you love most about running dogs? Running dogs

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? DPSAY

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I am running for my daughter.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Same old playlist, mixed bag of old and new tunes.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? We try and use a logical sequence or theme but mostly end up with random names.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 YQ300- 7th; 2016 HBQ- 7th and Vet’s Award; 2014 and 2013- Percy DeWolfe- Red Lantern

 

3.) Olivia Shank Neff

30 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Golden Bear Hotel, Tok Lodge

Nationality: Russian

From: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Occupation(s): Sailor, Knife Ninja

Kennel name: Laughing Eyes Kennel

Kennel name origin: Robert Service poem

Kennel bloodlines: Erhart, Baker, Gatt, Attla

Number of dogs in kennel: 70

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Two

Tell us a little about your dogs: Cha-Cha, Bonnie, Coralie, and Bodega are my crazy girls. I named Coralie after my hyper niece and she owned up to it more than expected. 

How did you get started running dogs? My Grandpa was a musher. He started the Yukon Quest. He is my best friend. He doesn’t like cell phones either.

What do you love most about running dogs? I don’t have to hear other people’s opinions, politics, and you don’t need a phone.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? George Attla's A-CHILL Program

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To learn the trail, finish, and make my Gpaw happy, learn from it, improve and win one day so I can help the North Star Council on Aging.

What music do you listen to on the trail? None, the dogs and nature are more than enough.  

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Old Reggae musicians and my favorite food sauces and seasonings- Wasabi, Cilantro, Basil, Sizzla Kalonji, Lee Perry.

 

4.) Gerry Willomitzer

48 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Skookum Asphalt Ltd., Nuway Crushing Ltd., Eldorado Logbuilders Inc.

Nationality: Canadian and German

From: Canada

Occupation(s): Log building contractor

Kennel name:Blackjack Racing

Kennel name origin: Mushing is a gamble and black leader named Jack.  

Kennel bloodlines: Willomitzer

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 40

Website: http://www.GerryWillomitzer.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 21

Tell us a little about your dogs: Running a group of dogs born in 2014 and 2015, all our adult dogs are age 2-4 now, so it’s a pretty tight group.  

How did you get started running dogs? As a handler for William Kleedehn

What do you love most about running dogs? Being out with the dogs

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? Gearing up for some bigger races

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2004-2007 Yukon Quest- best= 3rd in 2007; 2007-2013 Iditarod- best= 13th in 2010; 2003-2017 YQ300- best= 1st in 2011; 2004-2014 Copper Basin 300- best= 2nd; 2002-2017 Percy DeWolf- best= 1st in 2008 and 2012.

 

5.) JJay Levy

47 year old YQ300 Rookie

Nationality: American

From: Chatanika, AK

Occupation(s): RN

Kennel name: Parrotsleds

Kennel name origin: I am a Parrothead (Jimmy Buffet follower). The lifestyle actually translates easily to a dog musher’s- isolation, self reliance, moving from port (or checkpoint) to port. Pirates search for bounty, as do mushers, but a musher’s is more spiritual in nature. Not good unless you’re first to Dawson, but just as valuable. Most don’t understand why we want to live this way, but for those who do, it sparks an instant kindred. The boat is our sled, the sea is the tundra, our cabin the island, and our crew of ragtag misfits- the dogs. My “particular harbor” may not be traditional in sense but I have found it, my salty (snowy) piece of land. I just have a gang line instead of a shore line.

Kennel bloodlines: Osmar, King, Mackey, village dogs

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 30-60

Website: http://www.Facebook.com/ParrotSleds/

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Eight

Tell us a little about your dogs: My favorite story isn’t so much about a dog but a run with my daughter. We were at a race in Virginia. I took a team out for a run between the race days. I packed my daughter, who was four at the time, into my sleeping bag inside the sled. A few miles down the trail I peeked over to check on her. She was so quiet I was worried she wasn’t having fun. I asked “how ya doin’?” A tiny little voice stated “now I know why you do this.” I still bubble up inside when thinking of it. She is right- the quiet out on the trail brings peace to us and the dogs.

How did you get started running dogs? Working for a local animal shelter, I saw huskies needing to have more outdoor time. Watching even the most behaviorally challenged or aggressive dog blossom into a cooperative, confident dog solidified my passion.  

What do you love most about running dogs? Watching them shape into a team.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Pennsylvania Sleddog Club

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? The Quest is my favorite race- it was the first race I ran in distance (we were sprint teams until 2012). Goal is as everyone’s- to finish with a happy team.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Most come with names, they are rescues. The few litters I have had my kids pick a theme and name them.  

 

6.) Chase Tingle

33 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: The Eddy’s, Bill and Rita Tingle, Don Mantey

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers

Occupation(s): Dog Musher

Kennel name: Tukaway Sled Dog Kennel        

Kennel name origin: From my first dog Tuk who led me down every wrong path he could have ever gone down, but we ended up right where we want to be!

Kennel bloodlines: Currier, Mackey, Jessica Hendricks

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 25

Website: http://www.TukawaySledDogKennel.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 12

How did you get started running dogs? Guiding sled dog trips in New Hampshire

What do you love most about running dogs? Being out in the wilderness with a beautiful dog team.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To give some of my young dogs a great experience on the Quest Trail, and to beat Mandy and Laura!

What music do you listen to on the trail? Dog paws on the trail

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Jeep litter, Maine mountain litter, Wild Boys litter

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Two Rivers 200- 7th; 2016 YQ300- 16th; 2014 YQ300- 2nd

 

7.) Laura Allaway

36 year old YQ300 Veteran

Nationality: American

From: Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI; lives in Fairbanks, AK.

Occupation(s): Tour Guide

Breeds: 15 Alaskan Huskies, a Great Pyrenees/Boxer Mix, and a Jack Russell.

Number of dogs in kennel: 17

Website: http://www.Facebook.com/Allaway.Laura/

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 10

Tell us a little about your dogs: I ran a dog, Soapy, in my 2014 YQ300 team. He was 10 at the time, and it ended up being his last race, which is always a little sad. However, several of his “kids” will be on my team and this will be their first 300 mile race.

How did you get started running dogs? Started out as a tour guide, wanted to learn to do more.  

What do you love most about running dogs? Being able to join the dogs on their adventures! And being able to provide them with this fun lifestyle.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To give my young up and comers the experience. And to beat Chase Tingle and Mandy Nauman Austin.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Some come already named, others are named with a theme.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2015 Iditarod; 2015 Copper Basin; 2014 YQ300; 2014 Copper Basin

 

8.) Richie Beattie

44 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Nomads Direction, Backcountry.com, more to come

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers, AK

Occupation(s): Dog Musher

Kennel name: Wild Thingz Dog Mushing         

Kennel name origin: The name is just a good fit for our vibe of dogs.  

Kennel bloodlines: King, Mackey

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 22

Website: http://www.wildthingzdogmushing.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 17

Tell us a little about your dogs: Well, the WildThingz wouldn’t exist without Wicked. Queen of the team. She’s the mother or grandmother of most of our team. Although still the main leader of the pack, probably not racing anymore at 10 years old. She’s got a lot of youngsters ready to go!

How did you get started running dogs? Chasing a dream.

What do you love most about running dogs? The bond and connection with the dogs.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To show a bunch of young rookie dogs a taste of the Quest. To have fun.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Dub Step, Drum and Bass, Hip Hop, AC/DC!

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? We come up with a theme we like and go from there.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Two Rivers 200- 4th; 2017 Minto Dash- 5th; 2007 Yukon Quest- 16th; 2006 Yukon Quest- 9th, Rookie of the Year

 

9.) Joanna Jagow

24 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Nancy and Mike Cox- Nurse Practitioner at TVC Pediatrics, Big Dan’s Trucking

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers, AK

Occupation(s): Pediatric Nurse

Kennel name: Motley Crew Kennel       

Kennel name origin: My kennel started with an assortment of dogs, literally a motley crew. When I first started my smallest dog was 30 lb and my largest was 70 lb. My mom was the one who suggested the name, and it has stuck ever since.

Kennel bloodlines: Kleedehn, Mackey, Forsberg

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 30

Website: http://motleycrewsleddogkennel.weebly.com/

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 14

Tell us a little about your dogs: One of my first puppies Noel is now 5 years old and she had 8 puppies of her own in 2015- the Airplane litter. These little stinkers will be two in August and are the up and coming core of our new team. Each one has a distinct personality. Little Cessna is quite the little flirt and loves to jump into people’s arms, yes jump into their arms. Boeing, her brother, is quite opposite; he is my big dorky dog that trots happily along in the wheel position.

How did you get started running dogs? I started running dogs on my Dad’s trapline. 

What do you love most about running dogs? I love the connection with dogs, watching them grow and mature, and the adventure of traveling with my best buds!

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To finish with a happy, healthy team.

What music do you listen to on the trail? All sorts- rock, rap, country

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? I like to choose themes for my puppies. I have one litter names after airplanes and another named after Aleutian islands.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2016 YQ300- 3rd; 2014 Percy DeWolfe 200- 7th; 2013 Two Rivers 100- 1st

 

10.) Cody Strathe

40 year old Yukon Quest Veteran; YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Fairbanks Chevrolet, Manmat, CZ, Clear Alaskan Glacial, Woodland Wellness Center, Hard Eats, Ursa Major Distilling, Dogpaddle Designs

Nationality: American

From: Ester, AK

Occupation(s): Sled builder, biologist, guide

Kennel name: Squid Acres Kennel        

Kennel bloodlines: A mix of Mackey, Seavey, King, Little, and Smyth lines makes up a Squid.

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 50

Website: http://www.squidacres.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 11

How did you get started running dogs? Built a sled and hooked up some dogs.

What do you love most about running dogs? Exploring the vast wilderness of Alaska while bonding with my dogs.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To enjoy the ride and to take the dogs Paige didn’t choose for the 1000 to prepare them for my Iditarod team.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Upbeat and fun… genre doesn’t matter.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Usually we have a theme.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Iditarod- 30th; 2017 Copper Basin 300- 5th; 2016 Iditarod- 41st; 2016 Yukon Quest- 15th      

 

11.) Jacob Vallée

31 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Battle Dawgs Racing, Marsh Metal Works, Plaid Agency, Dave Fish Alaska, L.A. River

Nationality: American

From: Willow, AK

Occupation(s): Fly Fishing Guide

Kennel name: Arctic Knights Adventure Kennel

Kennel name origin: Reading too much medieval fiction while living North of the Arctic Circle.

Breeds: Inuit Dog/Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 20-30

Website: http://www.ArcticKnightsAK.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Eight

How did you get started running dogs? Working as a guide for Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely, MN.  

What do you love most about running dogs? This is what it’s like to ask someone what they love most about music…

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Willow Dog Mushers Club

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I hope to run the Iditarod in 2019 as well as the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile in 2018. I hope to run the YQ300 as a solid qualifier if funds don’t allow for a 1,000 Mile race by January. 

What music do you listen to on the trail? I let the iPod decide.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? I go with themes that hit the same cord of nostalgia... Ninja Turtles, X-Men, etc…

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Tustamena 200- 19th

 

12.) Melissa Schenke

30 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: My wonderful family

Nationality: Canadian

From: Whitehorse, Yukon

Occupation(s): Nurse

Kennel name: Change of Pace  

Kennel name origin: I was a city gal, my dogs came from a tourism lodge.  

Kennel bloodlines: Willomitzer, Studer/Kleedehn

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 31

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Eight

Tell us a little about your dogs: This is the first year that none of my original six dogs that started my kennel will be on my race team. Dracarys- from my first litter in my kennel- that girl can scale a 10ft fence from a stand-still. Let’s hope she leads the way up Eagle Summit with the same “pizzazz” for life.

How did you get started running dogs? As a handler and guide for Uncommon Journeys.

What do you love most about running dogs? The relationships you get to build with the dogs, and the places we get to travel as a team.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? DPSAY

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To see some different trail, and have fun in the process.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Each litter has a theme: Game of Thrones (Ghost, Nymeria, etc.), Greek Gods and Goddesses (Kratos, Bia, etc.)

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Gin Gin- 8th; 2015 Percy DeWolfe- 13th

 

13.) Mandy Nauman Austin

36 year old YQ300 Rookie, 1,000 Mile Veteran

My sponsors: Friends and family, Gary and Sue Reichling

Nationality: American

From: Fairbanks, AK

Kennel name: Douglas Fir Mushing

Kennel name origin: After my father

Kennel bloodlines: Sass

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 25

Website: http://www.DouglasFirMushing.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 13

How did you get started running dogs? Took a dog mushing class in college.  

What do you love most about running dogs? Spending time with my best friends.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To beat Laura Allaway and Chase Tingle.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Anything that will keep me awake.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2014 Yukon Quest- 9th; 2014 Copper Basin- 26th

 

14.) Ben Good

38 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: My Wife

Nationality: American

From: North Pole, AK

Occupation(s): Petroleum Chemist

Kennel name: Good Alaska Mushing Co.         

Kennel name origin: It’s who I am, where I live and what I do.  

Kennel bloodlines: Burmeister, Currier

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 20

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Nine

Tell us a little about your dogs: Apollo is the man. Everything about him is BIG. His feet, his chest, his appetite, his attitude, his energy. 3 year old Poppy stepped up to fill her mom’s shoes as main leader for 700 miles of the Yukon Quest 2017. She’s a blond beauty with dark eyes and she’ll melt your heart. Yukon is a floppy eared goofball with ice blue eyes. He stands out as the class clown in my team of serious Huskies. At 2 years old he’s fast and he’s got something to prove!

How did you get started running dogs? My Labrador retriever got tired of skijoring so I found two sled dogs for hire.  

What do you love most about running dogs? Bringing out the best in each individual dog. The Alaska night sky. Silence.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association (TRDMA).

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? Because I don’t have enough time or money to run the 1,000 mile version this year.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Family picks a theme. Sometimes the names change or evolve as the dog gets older pr personality comes through.  

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Yukon Quest - 13th, 2017 Gin Gin 200 - 4th, 2016 YQ300 - 8th

 

15.) John Dixon

44 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: I am open to suggestions if anyone reading this is interested in giving me money to run my dog team.

Nationality: American

From: Fairbanks, AK

Occupation(s): Operations Team Lead, BP Alaska

Kennel name: Belowzero Kennel

Kennel name origin: It’s cold where we live.

Kennel bloodlines: Erhart, Burmeister, Redington

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 37

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 20

Tell us a little about your dogs: I am hoping for a young female named Salcha to really excel this year. She will be two years old for this race and is out of Avatar and Rap, two dogs who finished the YQ300 with me in 2016. I expect to see some of her brothers in the team as well. Rohn, Minto, Healy, Elim, Kodiak, and Salcha are all littermates that I have high hopes for.  

How did you get started running dogs? I wanted to enjoy the relationship and bond with the sled dogs.  

What do you love most about running dogs? Getting to know the dogs in a very personal way. When you experience trials and hardships, victories and successes together you really bond in a way that most people don’t get to experience.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Yukon Quest Board of Directors

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? It is a fun and challenging race that I look forward to racing again. I also have several young dogs that I hope will have a great experience racing this year.

What music do you listen to on the trail? I really don’t… I like to hear what is going on around me.  

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? My kids get to name the puppies when we have a litter.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2016 Two Rivers 200- 14th; 2016 YQ300- 12th; 2000 Iditarod- 48th   

 

16.) Matthew Failor

35 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Alaska Icefield Expeditions, Gold Rush Sled Dog Tours, TEMSCO Helicopters, WoolX, 17th- Dog Boosters, K2 Woodworking

Nationality: American

From: Willow, AK

Occupation(s): Manager for “Alaska Icefield Expeditions”

Kennel name: 17th- Dog/ Team Matthew Failor

Kennel name origin: I understand the importance of a TEAM. It takes fans, friends, and family as well as the dogs, boosters, sponsors (etc., etc.) ”17th- dog” is a tribute and a “thank you” to the people mentioned above. They are the 17th- dog. 

Kennel bloodlines: Buser, Kaiser

Breeds:  Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 53 (includes 8 puppies/ 8 yearlings/ 5 retirees)

Website: http://www.17th-dog.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Nine

Tell us a little about your dogs: I believe in my dogs, love them and trust them. They are my life and my every decision revolves around their happiness. TEAM TEAM TEAM.  

How did you get started running dogs? Working tourism in Juneau with Gold Rush Sled Dog Tours and Alaska Icefield Expeditions.

What do you love most about running dogs? Being part of a TEAM, spending quality time with my animals.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I have always wanted to come back to the Quest since I ran the 1000 mile in 2013.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Most of the time I do not. I just get in tune with the dogs and listen to them.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? We usually let the personality of the litter and/or dog(s) help dictate the names we give them. For some reason the names gravitate towards music!

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Iditarod- 57th, 2014 Iditarod- 15th, 2013 Yukon Quest- 19th, 2011 Kusko 300- 9th

 

17.) Lia Amundsen

29 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: My Mum, Jerry and Lucy Knoll

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers, AK

Occupation(s): Archaeologist, fish counter, dog enthusiast

Kennel name: Skaha Kennels    

Kennel name origin: Skaha means dog lake in the Okanogen dialect. The Okanogan is a valley located in British Columbia, Canada.

Kennel bloodlines: Amundsen

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 28

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 29

Tell us a little about your dogs: I love all my dogs, but I especially adore my main man Pete.

How did you get started running dogs? I was born into it.

What do you love most about running dogs? The high.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I entered this race for the thrill of it. I hope to finish this race with a happy and healthy team. Hakuna Matata.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? We normally wait to see what name fits each personality, but usually our dogs are begifted the names of family members, friends, and ex-boyfriends.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Two Rivers 200; 2016 Two Rivers 100; 2016 Solstice 50

 

 

18.) Heidi Sutter

42 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Frontier Excursions, Ms. Pacheco’s 6th grade reading class, White Rock Elementary School

Nationality: American

From: Chistochina, AK

Occupation(s): Not adulting

Kennel name: KMA Kennel         

Number of dogs in kennel: 18

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? A bunch

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? Have the most fun possible and finish with healthy and happy dogs!

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2015 Iditarod- 48th; 2014 Copper Basin 300- 12th; 2014 YQ300- 3rd; 2014 Kobuk 440- 10th

 

19.) Abe Rose

43 year old YQ300 Rookie

Nationality: American

From: McGrath, AK

Occupation(s): Carpenter

More info to come!

 

20.) Meredith Mapes

24 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Mom and Dad, Seavey’s Ididaride, Dr. Brent Taylor, Planet Earth Adventures, Alaska Backcountry Access, Gail Somerville

Nationality: Palmer, AK

Occupation(s): Tour Guide, Musher

Kennel name: Fun on the Run Kennel 

Kennel name origin: I enjoy having fun running dogs!

Kennel bloodlines: Seavey, Mackey, Stewart

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 25

Website: http://www.funontherunkennel.com/

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 18

How did you get started running dogs? Girl Scouts

What do you love most about running dogs? Being alone with my best friends.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Aurora Dog Mushers Club, Chugiak Dog Mushers Association

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? Because I scratched in 2016 and I intend to conquer Rosebud Summit and Eagle!

What music do you listen to on the trail? Audiobooks (Game of Thrones)

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Themes from favorite TV shows, movies, books, etc.  

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Northern Lights 300- 11th; 2017 Knik 200- 26th; 2016 Northern Lights 300- 30th; 2008-2011 Junior Iditarod- 14th, 8th, 6th, 9th

 

21.) Aliy Zirkle

48 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Matson Shipping (Alaska), Verizon Wireless, Bob Huston

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers, AK

Occupation(s): Dog Musher

Kennel name: SP Kennel

Kennel name origin: My first Alaskan Husky was named Skunk.

Kennel bloodlines: SP Kennel mixtures of the best (hopefully)

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 51

Website: http://www.spkdoglog.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 25

Tell us a little about your dogs: I hope to have a mixture of young dogs- whose mother is the YQ Golden Harness winner twice “Quito”—as well I hope to have some mature YQ veterans in the race.

How did you get started running dogs? I adopted six dogs 20 years ago in order to explore the Arctic.

What do you love most about running dogs? The dogs, the challenge of the completion, and visiting people on the trail.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Iditarod Trail Club, Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To win

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Some dogs have a theme litter: Bean, Decaf, Perky, Sanka, Creamer, Barista (Coffee litter). Other dogs have unique names in litter: QT, Bruno, McCaw, Dancer, Chevie, Jeff

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 YQ300- 2nd; 2017 Iditarod- 8th; 2017 Copper Basin 300- 5th

 

22.) Tim Muto

28 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Wild and Free Mushing

Nationality: American

From: Eureka, Alaska

Occupation(s): Dog Musher, Guide

Kennel name: Free Born Dog Mushing      

Kennel name origin: My dogs and my training all come from Wild and Free Mushing.

Kennel bloodlines: Sass

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 6

Website: http://www.freeborndogmushing.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Four

Tell us a little about your dogs: I acquired my dogs from Wild and Free, and this will be our first race under the banner of Free Born Dog Mushing. The team is an exciting mix of veterans and rookies!

How did you get started running dogs? I handled for Karin Hendrickson.

What do you love most about running dogs? It is extremely introspective and confidence building and it teaches so much about life.

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I ran the race in 2016 and loved it! We're back for more.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Copper Basin, 2016 YQ300, 2016 Two Rivers 200, 2016 Copper Basin

 

23.) Deke Naaktgeboren

33 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: In't Veld's Meat Market, Loraine and Nolan Naaktgeboren, Randy Naaktgeboren, Josh and Lacey Trygstad

Nationality: American

From: Fairbanks, AK

Occupation(s): Outdoor Recreation Planner and guide

Kennel name: Nautique Sky

Kennel name origin: My Siberian Husky named Nautique... My 1st dog.

Kennel bloodlines: Gephardt, Seavey, and some Scandinavian Lines

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 25

Website: http://www.nautique-sky.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 5

Tell us a little about your dogs: Our two wheel dogs, Tok and Gimli will be in our race team again this year. They are both from Scandinavian lines. Tok is Gimli's uncle and they are both very unique looking red dogs. Gimli is our "Rudy", if you've seen that movie, and encapsulates the spirit of what we believe every sled dog should strive for. With short stubby legs, but with the biggest heart you have ever seen. She's become our most reliable dog.

How did you get started running dogs? I spent a winter handling and guiding in Lappland and knew the next time it would be with my own dogs.

What do you love most about running dogs? 10 minutes after leaving the yard... after the edge is off a bit... being in the wilderness alone with our dogs, and not coming home till tomorrow or the next day.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Two Rivers Dog Mushing Association

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? The Quest 300 will be our "big" race of the season, and after trying once 4 years ago, I really believe we can finish strong, gaining a bunch of experience for the musher and the dogs.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Church, Aldean, mixed with some of the legends.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Our most recent litter was born just 3 months after our (2-legged) son. With 4 girls and 1 boy, we naturally thought of our 4 favorite Disney Princesses: Jasmine, Ariel, Pocahontas, Belle, and of course their brother is Simba.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Two Rivers 200 - 10th

 

24.) Lisbet Norris

 

29 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Underdog Feeds. Wind River Bear Institute. Friends & Family.

Nationality: American

From: Fox, Alaska

Occupation(s): Wilderness guide at Arctic Dog Adventure Co.

Kennel name: Arctic Dog Adventure Co.

Kennel name origin: We are a wilderness adventure company using “Arctic Dogs” - Siberian Huskies for racing, tours, and expeditions and Karelian Bear Dogs for wildlife conservation work.

Kennel bloodlines: Anadyr Siberians (Norris)

Breeds: Siberian Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 30

Website: http://www.arcticdogco.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 7

Tell us a little about your dogs: My team is a mix of older Iditarod veterans and inexperienced youngsters. I have a 9 year old female named Ruby who is an incredible lead dog. Ruby has taken me to Nome twice. I knew she was amazing, but it wasn’t until 800 miles into the 2016 Iditarod that I realized how truly central to my team she way. Ruby wasn’t with me that year. I learned what “leader problems” are, and had to try many combinations of “lead dogs” and newly-appointed “lead dogs” to get us down the final stretch to Nome. How privileged I have been to have Ruby as a starter dog and how challenging it was to realize that! After the 2016 Iditarod, I realized I never want to do another long distance race without another “Ruby”. She’s semi-retired now, but might make a comeback for this race… I’m still looking for her successor!

How did you get started running dogs? I grew up in a mushing family surrounded by strong female role models, like my mother and grandmothers, who led me to believe I was capable of anything I set my mind to, including distance mushing.

What do you love most about running dogs? The dogs, for sure. They have my heart.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Old Murphy Dome Road Dog Mushers, Willow Dog Mushers Association, Aurora Dog Mushers Association, Iditarod Trail Committee

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? This is my 30th Birthday present to myself. I want to climb mountains with my dog team and get a feel for the Yukon Quest trail. My goal is to finish with a strong, happy team.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2016 Iditarod – 65th, 2016 Copper Basin 300 – 37th, 2015 Iditarod – 49th, 2014 Iditarod – 48th

 

25.) Chris Ciancibelli

 

38 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Phoebe Gilbert

Nationality: American

From: Cantwell, Alaska

Occupation(s): Archeologist

Kennel name: Trail & Error Dogyard   

Kennel name origin: The inexperienced humans in the kennel had to learn how to be mushers from the experienced dogs who have taught a lot valuable lessons on the trail.

Kennel bloodlines: Mostly former Squids with a little Wild & Free in there

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 14 including retirees

Website: https://www.facebook.com/trailerror 

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 5

How did you get started running dogs? I got a few dogs from Squid Acres and Wild & Free with no plans and not knowing what I was getting in to. It sounded like a good idea at the time. And then I kept getting more until I realized I had enough to run a race.

What do you love most about running dogs? Learning from the dogs and getting deep into the wilderness, and off the beaten path, where both the dogs and I can be challenged and rewarded with demanding and exhilariting experiences. 

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? My dog dealer told me to do it. I had no Idea it was sign up time until he pointed it out. I would most of all finish the race and let the dogs have fun. If I have fun that’s an added bonus.

What music do you listen to on the trail? I try to keep it to stuff that doesn’t put me to sleep.

How did your dogs get their names/How do you choose names? I’ve only helped name two dogs and they’re both puppies. I generally leave it up to their previous humans to come up with names.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2016 Copper Basin - middle of the pack, 2014 Two Rivers 200 - towards the back

 

Waitlist:

1. Kaycee Christensen

2. Michelle Phillips

3. Sven Haltmann

4. Thom Walker

5. Tyler Rode