18 -Rafael Nelson from Wayland, Michigan.
Rafael Nelson began working seasonally in outdoor recreation in 2012. He spends his summers running rivers and a few years ago he worked with a guy who worked for a tour kennel in Colorado during the winter. Rafael says he’s always been a little bitter about never having had a dog growing up — his parents claimed they “traveled too much.” So he was very intrigued by the idea of living and working with 100 dogs for Jerry and Rachael Scdoris and is excited to start his racing career “at one of the biggest races in the country in a spectacular setting.” Please welcome this rookie to the big league.
17 — Ben Barrett from Middlebury, Vermont.
Straight out of high school in 2016 Ben learned to dogsled at a tour kennel in the Canadian Arctic where he fell in love with the sport. In 2017, he trained and raced dogs with Doug Butler. The pair mostly work out on 4-wheelers and carts, and travel into the Green Mountains or Adirondack Mountains for snow. Last year, Ben helped found Cobble Hill Kennel, a dogsled tour company in Middlebury Vermont. Ben has extensive experience working with teams of 16 dogs but has limited race experience because most races in New England were cancelled the past few winters because of poor weather. Ben is excited to step up his game, and experience mushing at the highest level at the 2020 Pedigree Stage Stop Race
16 — Bruce Magnusson from Newberry, Michigan
This will be Bruce’s 15th consecutive stage stop — more consecutive races than any other competitor in the 25-year history of our event — and his 17th year of mushing. Although Bruce grew up playing sports, he says that for him no other sport compares to the thrill of sled dog racing. On his race application, he states “this is my favorite race because of the format, the competitive field, and the camaraderie of the whole Stage Stop family. It gives me a perfect excuse to spend 8 days on the trail with my best friends.”
15 — Doug Butler from Middlebury, Vermont.
Doug is one of the most notorious dog mushers on the northeast circuit, known for his lovable group of dogs, and his uncanny ability to celebrate on the racecourse. A dairy farmer, he has just begun to bring his infectious love for the sport to the world stage — competing last year in the Open North American Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska. Doug says he’s “over the moon” to be continuing his adventures beyond the farm at this year’s Pedigree Stage Stop Race. “It doesn’t matter if we’re first, last, or thrown out — as long as we’re all havin’ a good time, let’s do it!”
14 — Elliot Rivest from St-Zénon, Québec, Canada.
Elliot is a student living in a family of a mushers, literally. He began mushing when he was four years old. He’s raced in many junior races on his family’s numerous trips around Canada and North America. “I did my first adult race at the 2018 Eagle Lake Sled Dog Races in Maine” writes Rivest, who was joined by his father, brother and mother, all of whom also raced in the 30-mile event. “I take care of the dogs, handle and train them with my family.” Elliot took 2ndt place last year in the 2019 Eukanuba 8-Dog Classic. This will be his first year competing in the Pedigree Stage Stage Stop.
13 — Maria Torgerson from Red Lodge, Montana.
A second generation musher from Red Lodge, Montana, Maria Torgerson was raised from a baby in the sled to a teen on the runners. Her love for the dogs’ passion has driven her to find a way back to mushing after her dad, David Torgerson, retired from the sport. Maria took first place at the 2019 Eukanuba 8-Dog Classic. 2020 will be her first year competing in the Pedigree Stage Stop Race where she will showcase the innovative dog sled she built and hopes it will change the sport. “I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received, specifically from the Streeper Kennel. I hope to make the best of this incredible opportunity.”
12 — JR Anderson from Buyck, Minnesota.
A native Minnesotan, JR Anderson has dedicated over 20 years to the sport of endurance canines. Through research, extensive training, and competitive racing, he’s developed a keen knowledge of the canine’s ability to perform at accelerated levels. He and wife, Anna ‘Chapman’ Anderson, own River Rock Kennel in Buyck, Minnesota. When not racing dogs, JR can be found playing with his daughter Sara and son Eli.
11 — Rachel Courtney from Caliento, Manitoba, Canada.
In 2011, Rachel moved to Canada from her native Germany to handle for a musher — she says “that’s when I knew that this was the lifestyle I wanted. Soon after that I met my husband, Serge.” In 2013, they started their own kennel and have been racing all across Canada ever since. Rachel placed sixth overall in the 2019 Pedigree Stage Stop Race. “Last year was my first time racing the Stage Stop and I absolutely loved it! — the people, the communities, the organization, the sponsors, and the vets — just everything about this event. And the best part is that I learned so much in that short week of racing.”
10 — Linda Pierce from Okanogen, Washington.
Linda Pierce, retired law enforcement, began running dogs in 2011 starting with two dogs to skijor. Her kennel has grown to a total of 22 dogs comprised of hounds, Alaskan huskies and a recent litter of five hound/Alaskan husky crosses. Linda spends her winters training in Seeley Lake, Montana. She has greatly enjoyed the camaraderie and family atmosphere of the Wyoming Stage Race. “From the community involvement to the Junior mushers to the day to day organization and professionalism, this is a fantastic event that calls me back each year.”
9 — Allan Berge from GLENROCK, WYOMING.
Allan and his wife, Tabby, began mushing in 1998 with rescue Siberian Huskies mentored by their beloved and late, Pam Dunn. In time, their whole family began racing Alaskan Huskies and race line Siberian Huskies (specifically the Seppala lines) from local sprints to long distance races like the Seeley 200. Now, as “empty nesters,” Allan and Tabby are focused on raising and racing purebred Siberian Huskies in open-class, long-distance events. Allan says he “looks forward to building his team, and competing with top-notch mushers in events that put the dogs’ care and well-being first.”
8— Alix Crittenden Bondurant, Wyoming.
Alix and husband Sam own and operate Sleeping Indian Outfitters in Bondurant, Wyoming where they guide horseback, fishing, and hunting trips. Alix runs the team for Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dogs and thanks her sponsor Frank Teasley and the entire JHI crew as well as all the race officials and volunteers of the Stage Stop for their commitment and tireless efforts to make this the best race ever. Alix gives a special thanks to her dogs “for always being the best they can be. This race is our big goal for the year and we look forward to traveling and competing with our Stage Stop family every year!”
7— Fernando Ramirez from Peoa, Utah.
Fernando and his wife Dana co-own and operate Rancho Luna Lobos, a rescue, touring and racing kennel in Peoa, Utah. Fernando has raced since his days in elementary school, starting with six Siberian huskies. He and Dana are racing for their non-profit called Sledding For Hope. The main focus of their non-profit is to provide shoes, clothing, food and educational supplies for the children of Jalpa, Zacatecas, Mexico, the village of Fernando’s family. All their winnings will go toward Sledding for Hope. “I’m really looking forward to coming back and having an amazing time with the Pedigree Family!!”
6 — Anny Malo from Quebec, Canada.
Last year was a winning year for Anny Malo taking first place at the 2019 Pedigree Stage Stop Race, the 2019 The Pas World Championship Dog Race in Manitoba, and the 2019 Cross Lake Trappers Festival Race in Manitoba. When she’s not competing, Anny is a biologist, Executive Director and owner of Bio-Forest Management Rivest with her husband, Marco. She holds the honor of being the first female to win the Copper Dog 150, taking first place in 2017 and second place in 2018. Anny is also the first female to win the 2018 Cross Lake Trappers Festival Race in Manitoba.
5 — Jeff Conn from Ester, Alaska.
Dr. Jeff Conn, formerly a research agronomist with USDA, is now a full-time dog musher. After retiring in 2012, he decided to run the Wyoming Stage Stop and says “that was a great learning experience and was a foundation for better performances in subsequent races.” Last year, Jeff finished fourth overall in his sixth running of the Stage Stop. He keeps coming back to the race “because of the magnificent scenery, camaraderie between mushers, the quality of veterinarian care and advice, and the excellent organization of the race.” Jeff and his wife, Sarah, have a kennel of 40 sled dogs in Ester, Alaska.
4— Tim Thiessen from Leadville, Colorado.
Tim’s passion for dog sledding began in 2003 when he was hired to work for a Breckenridge, Colorado dog sled tour company. He then put together his own team of Alaskan Huskies and competed in local races. He caught the “Stage Race bug” at the 2018 Eukanuba 8-Dog Classic, which lead him to run last year’s Stage Stop. Tim and fiancé Natalie share their high altitude homestead in the Mosquito Range of Central Colorado with twenty-three dogs, two cats, a flock of chickens and some ducks. “I look forward to the challenges of training for this race and I’m excited to take part in this esteemed event.”
3 — Chris Adkins from Sand Coulee, Montana.
Chris is a lumberyard worker who operates a 40-dog kennel. He’s been running dogs since he was a four-year-old working with his dad’s team. As a boy he competed in dog races in Alaska. Since then, he’s entered the Iditarod which he describes as his “great accomplishment so far.” This will be Chris’ sixth time running the Pedigree Stage Stop Race. Supported by Kaye Ward, AZ; BJ Schuler, AL; Johnson Madison Lumber, MT; and Thiemans Meats, ID. “The beautiful trails of Wyoming and the people associated with the race keep bringing us back!”
2 — Austin Forney from Leadville, Colorado.
Austin was born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska. He currently lives and trains at elevation 10,152 ft. in Leadville, Colorado. He traded horses for dogs in 2006 and has been chasing his dog mushing dreams ever since, and he thanks all of his friends and family for their continued love and support. Austin says that he and his two handlers, Rich and Ben, are “excited to spend another year in Wyoming with all of the amazing people of the Pedigree Stage Stop Race.” This marks Austin’s fifth consecutive year at the Stage Stop Race. “See you in Jackson!”
1 — Lina Streeper from Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.
Lina grew up in a small community in northern Sweden and became fascinated with sled dogs at a young age. After moving to Canada in 2007, she focused on professional sled dog racing and has become a part of “the famous mushing dynasty” known as Streeper Kennels. She and husband, Buddy Streeper, own and operate Streeper Kennels in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. They have two wonderful daughters, 9-year-old Alva and 7-year-old Clara. In her online race application, Lina states “I love dogs and I love Wyoming. I’m excited to come back for the 25th anniversary race!”
8-DOG CLASSIC LINEUP #10 — Joshua Miltier from Boulder, Colorado.
Josh is currently a student at Colorado University in Boulder CO and serving in the US Army. He carries on the tradition of dogsledding from his father, Jesse Miltier, who has been racing for decades. Josh started out at a young age training and running pure-bread Siberian Huskies, then transitioned to mixed breeds for sprint racing. His first sprint race (or any official race) was in 2013, with an 8-dog team — he hadn’t touched a sled since before his 10th birthday. Josh recalls, “my times were good, but I barely managed to hang on to the sled!” He says he’s a lover of “anything outdoors” and enjoys being a “dirt bag” when possible.
8-DOG CLASSIC LINEUP #9 — Elliot Rivest from St-Zénon, Québec, Canada.
Elliot is a student living in a family of a mushers, literally. He began mushing when he was four years old. He’s raced in many junior races on his family’s numerous trips around Canada and North America. “I did my first adult race last year at the 2018 Eagle Lake Sled Dog Races in Maine” writes Rivest, who was joined by his father, brother and mother, all of whom also raced in the 30-mile event. “I take care of the dogs, handle and train them with my family. The last time I was at the Stage Stop Race, I was 8 years old. I thought Wyoming was the most beautiful place in the world. I’m very happy to be able to return this year.”