Meet the 2019 YQ300 Mushers

1. Krystyna March

63 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Judy Beaumont, Denise Hansen

Nationality: Canadian

From: Canyon Creek, Yukon

Occupation(s): Semi-retired

Kennel name: BFF Siberians        

Kennel name origin: On 2016 I lost my marriage, my retirement and that winter two of my dogs died. On Jan 25, the day my second dog (7 yo boy) died, I came home feeling devastated and alone. Six pups and my older dogs surrounded me and I realized if it weren’t for those six month old pups, I would have felt like my team was dwindling along with my dreams. The bond with all my dogs never felt stronger than that day and I knew BFF Siberians had to be our name. They truly are my best friends and will be forever.

Kennel bloodlines: LouFranc, Miakoda, Sibersong, Vanaca, Tsuga, Wolvereen

Breeds: Siberian Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 18

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 8 years

How did you get started running dogs? Started skijoring/bikejoring in 2002 with one dog, Dexter, and that led to more dogs and eventually to using a sled with the dogs as the team grew.

What do you love most about running dogs? The unique and beautiful bond that develops as a result of working and living together and being out alone with the dogs in the wilderness.

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To challenge myself and the dogs. My goal is for us to do our best, enjoy the trail and finish the race.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Alternative rock at times but I mostly listen to the silence.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? There were many changes in my life in the summer of 2016, so when I ended up with a litter of six that July, my son and his wife suggested a “New Beginnings” theme so I named them Freedom, Adventure (Addy), Independence (Indy), Solitude (Sol), Perseverance (Percy), and Tranquility (Quil). Most of my other dogs were randomly named.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: Sepia and River are the parents of Freedom, Addy, Indy, Percy, Quil and Sol who are two years old now and I am hoping that all eight will be running in the 2019 YQ300.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017: Granger Grind Red, Red Lantern; Knik 100, 3rd; 2016: Percy Jr. Red Lantern; 2015: Percy Jr. Red Lantern

 

2. Marcelle Fressineau

64 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Alayuk Adventures

Nationality: Canadian

From: Whitehorse, Yukon

Occupation(s): Adventure Outfitter

Kennel name: Alayuk     

Kennel name origin: Alaska-Yukon, like the Yukon Quest

Kennel bloodlines: Mine, Dean Osmar, Mackey

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 60

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 31 years

How did you get started running dogs? I received a Malamute

What do you love most about running dogs? Training

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Mush with Pride, DPSAY, Iditarod Finisher

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To train my young dogs. My goal is to finish.

What music do you listen to on the trail? The wind

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Each litter has a name beginning with the same letter. My young litter will be Hazel, Hobbit, Hercule, Hug, Huslia.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: I will have some young dogs. The grandfather is Mr. X, my best leader who is 12 years old, still running but not racing anymore.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2017: YQ300, 10th; 2015: Iditarod; 2014: Iditarod, 49th; 2012 Yukon Quest, 18th

 

3. Louve Tweddell

18 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: My parents, Jerry Aquiar & Merce Sastre, Lumel Studios, Sprague's Ready Mix, Chris & Alicia Lopez, Scott & Serena Lansberg, Ron & Ilene Seaver, Greg Vandenberg, Kluane Drilling, Family & Friends

Nationality: Canadian

From: Mendenhall, Yukon

Occupation(s): Student/farmer/Musher

Kennel name: Echoes Kennel        

Kennel name origin: Inspired by the Pink Floyd song Echoes and the name of my father’s first dog

Kennel bloodlines: Ledwidge, Britten and the old bloodlines from Quebec

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 45

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 14 years driving (but I have been riding since I was born!)

How did you get started running dogs? I am the daughter of a musher. I was born into the mushing world.

What do you love most about running dogs? Everything (dogs, peacefulness, freedom, the connection with the dogs and nature).

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? DPSAY (Dog Powered Sport Association of Yukon)

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I entered to have fun with my team and to get qualified for future races. My goals are the finish with a happy and healthy team.

What music do you listen to on the trail? 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s music (Rock, grunge…) and silence.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Intense brainstorm

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: Most of my dogs are born at our house. I’ve seen them grow from small puppies to majestic, strong and intelligent dogs. We evolve together, we develop together. Our dogs are my friends, my family.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2018: Silver Sled (50 Mile), 5th; 2017 Silver Sled (100 Mile), 2nd (Junior Category)

 

4. Lori Tweddell

18 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: My parents, Jerry Aquiar & Merce Sastre, Lumel Studio, Sprague's Ready Mix, Chris & Alicia Lopez, Scott & Serena Lansberg, Ron & Ilene Seaver, Greg Vandenberg, Kluane Drilling, Family & Friends

Nationality: Canadian

From: Mendenhall, Yukon

Occupation(s): Student/farmer/Musher

Kennel name: Echoes Kennel        

Kennel name origin: Echoes was the name of my father’s first dog. She got her name from a Pink Floyd song.

Kennel bloodlines: Ledwidge, Britten and the old bloodlines from Quebec

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 45

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? Since birth

How did you get started running dogs? My family had dogs years before I was born. Since my first trail ride, I fell in love with the dogs and the sport.

What do you love most about running dogs? Everything! What’s not to love?!

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? DPSAY (Dog Powered Sport Association of Yukon)

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? Finish with a happy and healthy team and qualify for the 2020 Yukon Quest.

What music do you listen to on the trail? Nothing

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Family brainstorming.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: Most of my dogs are born in our kennel. We give them names that fit their personality and attitude. We grew up together. I believe that as a team we can have a lot of fun on this adventure.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2018: Silver Sled (50 Mile), 6th; 2017 Silver Sled (100 Mile), 1st (Junior Category); 2016: Silver Sled (50 Mile), 2nd

 

5. Melissa Schenke

31 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: A very supportive bunch of family and friends

Nationality: Canadian

From: Whitehorse, Yukon

Occupation(s): Nurse

Kennel name: Change of Pace        

Kennel name origin: Both myself and my original group of dogs came from a very different lifestyle when the kennel started.

Kennel bloodlines: Willomitzer, Kleedehn/Studer

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 32

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 11 years.

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

What do you love most about running dogs? Working together as a team and the spectacular places we get to travel to.

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To finish with a bunch of happy dogs and warm fingers!

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Each litter has a theme, and that theme is determined by the personality of the pups. Game of Thornes (Tormund, Samwell, Arya…), Trees (spruce, Birch, Aspen).

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: This year the team will be a family affair. Ullr and Rhaegal will get the chance to lead their group of rowdy yearlings down the trail with help from a few aunts, uncles and grandparents.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2018: Percy DeWolfe, 8th; 2017: Gin Gin, 8th; 2015:Percy DeWolfe, 13th

 

6. Jonathan Lucas

55 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Skywolf K9 Adventures, Grizzly Pigs Farm, Sandi Biggar of Sew There!

Nationality: Canadian/English

From: Grizzly Valley, Yukon

Occupation(s): Agriculture Land Management

Racing name: Snowpigs        

Racing name origin: It grew alongside a pig farm in the snow.

Dog bloodlines: Puck, Gatt, Zaidan, Palfrey – own breeding

Breeds: Alaskan Husky + one Podenco

Number of dogs: 40

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 16 years

How did you get started running dogs? Cross country skiing was such hard work until a friend suggested ski-joring with our first Rottweiler, a dog by the name of Puppy. I never looked back.

What do you love most about running dogs? Being out with friends with nothing to think about but them.

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To finish, preferably slightly better than in 2011 and 2013.

What music do you listen to on the trail? The silence.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Pick a theme and watch the pups for a while and see who fits what names associated with the themes.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2018: Can-Am 30, 13th; 2015: Carbon Hill 30, 2nd; 2015: Percy DeWolfe 100, 2nd; 2015, Silver Sled 100, 5th

 

7. J Jay Levy

48 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Myself

Nationality: American

From: Fairbanks, Alaska

Occupation(s): Registered Nurse

Kennel name: Parrot Sleds        

Kennel name origin: Jimmy Buffet Song

Kennel bloodlines: Rescued – mix of all kennels

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 37

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 9 years

How did you get started running dogs? Receiving huskies from a shelter I volunteered at.

What do you love most about running dogs? Watching them develop and trust again.

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? In preparation for the 1,000 mile race.

What music do you listen to on the trail? None

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? They usually come with names. Any litters that I did have, the kids choose a theme and names.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: Each year the team is essentially new. Watching the dogs trust and open up is amazing!

 

8. Aliy Zirkle

49 year old YQ300 Veteran

My sponsors: Matson Shipping, Pleasant Valley Store/Trailside Mall, SPK Dog Sponosrs and Team Members

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers, Alaska

Occupation(s): Dog Musher

Kennel name:  SP Kennel

Kennel name origin: "S.P." stands for "Skunk's Place". Skunk was my first Alaskan husky sled dog. He taught me a lot!

Kennel bloodlines:

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 51

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 25 years

How did you get started running dogs? I adopted Skunk, sewed him a harness and built a sled.

What do you love most about running dogs? The canine enthusiams and inner drive...I wish humans were as sincere.

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To win

What music do you listen to on the trail? None. WIlderness sounds.

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? Some letter have themes: Perky, Decaf, Creamer. Some pups have unique names: Lydia or Bruno.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: Many of the dogs at SP Kennel are siblings, half siblings or first cousins. Our family tree doesn't have a lot of branches!

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2015-2017: YQ300, 2nd...often!

 

9. Fabian Schmitz

41 year old YQ300 Veteran

Nationality: German

From: Fox Lake, Yukon

Occupation(s): Wilderness Guide

Kennel name: Fox Creek Kennel        

Kennel name origin: We live near Fox Creek

Kennel bloodlines: Gatt, Kleedehn

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 29

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 10 years

How did you get started running dogs? Guiding

What do you love most about running dogs? The dogs

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To finish and enjoy the trail and race with some new dogs.

What music do you listen to on the trail? None

 

10. Nick Helfinger

20 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Gwen and Jacob

Nationality: German

From: Germany

Occupation(s): Student

Kennel name: Grizzly Valley Kennel        

Kennel name origin: Location and bears in the area

Kennel bloodlines: Seppala (Bragg), Tsuga, North Wapiti, Pika

Breeds: Seppala, Siberian Husky, Chukchi, & Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 33

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 1 year

How did you get started running dogs? Progressed from kennel help to handler to racing.

What do you love most about running dogs? To form one pack.

Are you a member of any other organizations involved in sled dog sports? Dog Powered Sports Association of Yukon

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To finish and learn.

What music do you listen to on the trail? None

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? I will be running dogs from Grizzly Valley kennel. Litters are sometimes names with a theme, and sometimes just random names that seem to fit a particular pup. 

 

11. Paul Hamlyn

52 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Sky High Wilderness Ranch, with a special thanks to Jocelyn Leblanc. 

Nationality: Canadian

Occupation(s): Park Enforcement Officer/Sled Dog Tour Guide

Kennel name: Last Chance Kennel        

Kennel bloodlines: Ed Hopkins/Michelle Phillips

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 8

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 10 years

How did you get started running dogs? I bought two dogs to run in a friend’s team

What do you love most about running dogs? Being in the bush alone with dogs

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? I always wanted to do this race just to finish it.

What music do you listen to on the trail? None

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? The litter was a Yukon-born litter so I gave them Yukon names.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: I had a dog named Kodiak running lead who caught and ate ptarmigan more than once.  

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2018, 2016: Silver Sled, Red Lantern

 

12. Madeline Rubida

25 year old YQ300 Rookie

Nationality: American

From: Hungry Horse, MT

Occupation(s): Forestry Technician

Kennel name: The J-Team (Jessie Royer)       

Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 70

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 3

How did you get started running dogs? Handling for Jodi Bailey/Dew Claw Kennel.

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To see some beautiful new country by dog team while helping Jessie prep for Iditarod.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2018: Race to the Sky 100; 2018: McCall Ultra Sled Dog Challenge

 

13. Heather Hamblin

43 year old YQ300 Rookie

My sponsors: Jewel Bennet, Family and Friends

Nationality: American

From: Two Rivers, Alaska

Occupation(s): Nurse

Kennel name: Still waiting on a name      

Kennel bloodlines: Haltman, Currier, Kaiser, King

 Breeds: Alaskan Husky

Number of dogs in kennel: 18

Musher Question and Answer

How many years have you been running dogs? 15 years

How did you get started running dogs? Thought it would be an adventure as I jumped in.

 What do you love most about running dogs? Watching the dogs figure things out.

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

Why did you enter the 2019 YQ300 and what are your goals for the race? To do the best we can and see some beautiful country

What music do you listen to on the trail? None, I lose things so I don’t allow myself those little devices

How did your dogs get their names/ How do you choose names? They come to me already named and I don’t change them.

Please share with us some stories about your dogs: I buy and receive most of my dogs as adults so they already come with their names. This year I acquired a sweet girl named Darth Vader from some one’s Star Wars themed litter, Poor girl.

List recent sled dog races and/or best performances: 2016: Two Rivers 100, Red Lantern; 2016: KGB 150, Red Lantern