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.) 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

 

5.) 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

 

6.) 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

 

7.) 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

 

8.) 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

 

9.) 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

 

10.) 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

 

11.) 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

 

12.) 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 exhilarating 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 like to 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

 

13.) Sven Haltmann

40 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Friends and Family, Royal Canine

Nationality: American

From: Fairbanks, AK

Occupation(s): Self-employed tour operator

Kennel name: Arctic Winter Adventures

Kennel name origin: I started my dog sledding company in Bettles, AK, 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Kennel bloodlines: Finally my own, Buser, Mackey, Iten

Breeds:  Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 60

Website: http://www.arcticwinteradventures.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 15

How did you get started running dogs?  Started as a dog handler for an older couple in Carcross in 1999.

What do you love most about running dogs? It’s meditating to me. Traveling by dog team feels like a true way of living in a world full of technology.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? No

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I love that race and it starts in Fairbanks in 2018. My home town.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Comedy

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? My handlers, kids name my dogs.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2010 YQ300- 1st; 2011 Iditarod- 14th

 

14.) Thom Walker

38 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Thom's Field Services, Wild and Free Mushing, Horst Expediting

Nationality: American

From: Fairbanks, AK 

Occupation(s): Remote Camp Management and Logistics, Tour Guide

Kennel name: Friendly Arctic Adventures

Kennel name origin: From Vilhjalmur Stefansson's "The Friendly Arctic" book published in 1921. A journal of his struggles and triumphs in exploring the Arctic. 

Kennel bloodlines: Brent Sass, Wild and Free Kennel

Breeds:  Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 6

Website: http://www.friendlyarcticadventures.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 12

Tell us a little about your dogs: My main lead dog Manley is a Quest veteran and will hopefully guide me down the trail without incident. I'm excited about training up some younger dogs and seeing what they are capable of.

How did you get started running dogs?  Helping Brent Sass run his dogs and colelcting a few from him.

What do you love most about running dogs? Gliding along quietly on the trail with my furry friends.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? No

Why did you enter the 2018 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I've helped with the Quest as Logistics team member, checkpoint manager, and handler. Probably time to run the race. 

What music do you listen to on the trail? Have yet to ever do that. 

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? All of my dogs have come to me pre-named. My one dog that I named Wednesday, I call Humpy.

15.) Ellen King

26 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Husky Homestead

From: Denali

Occupation(s): Tour Operations Manager

Kennel name: Husky Homestead

Kennel bloodlines: King

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 30

Website: http://www.huskyhomestead.com

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 6

Tell us a little about your dogs: My favorite moment on a sled was on the 2017 Kobuk 440 coming back into Ambler as the sun went down. There was a STUNNING sunset and as the sun hit the horizon, the Aurora came across the clear sky to kiss the sunset. All I could hear was the dogs panting and the runners on the snow. It was epic.

How did you get started running dogs? Born into a mushing family. 

What do you love most about running dogs? Watcing them grow from puppies into elite athletes, then snuggling them into retirement.

What music do you listen to on the trail?  A variety!

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? We name our dogs in themes.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017 Kobuk 440- 7th; 2009 Percy DeWolfe- 8th; 2007 Jr. Iditarod- 5th; 2006 Jr. Iditarod- 3rd