Dog Identification Form
18 — Rachel Courtney from Manitoba, Canada.
When she was ten years old in Mainburg, Germany, Rachel started mushing with her pet Siberian Husky, and was “immediately hooked on mushing.” Four years later she began bikejoring, riding a bike with a dog pulling. At 18, she came to Canada to learn more about the sport, and after handling for Chris Turner in The Pas, Manitoba quickly realized that is what she wanted to do. “I own a kennel of 18 sled dogs. This will be my fourth year running the Stage Stop, and I am excited to return for this year’s race!”
17 — Liz Thompson from Saint Anthony, Idaho.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Liz started mushing in 2011 with Luna Lobos Dog Sled Tours, then became a handler with Buddy and Terry Streeper for three seasons. “Although I’ve never had my own dogs, I’ve been lucky enough to learn from the best, and drive for some amazing mushers like Terry, Bud and Lina Streeper, Thad McKracken and Alix Crittenden. I’m very excited and honored to get to run this year’s event for Jake Robinson. Thanks, Jake, for the opportunity. I can’t wait to share the trail with all my friends this year.”
16 — Cathy Rivest from St-Paul-de-Joliette, Quebec, Canada.
Cathy began sledding as a twelve-year-old helping to run the family sled dog tour business. That tourist business quickly turned to competition — competitive sled dog racing. Cathy has raced sprint class, 4-dog and 6-dogs, and dryland. She’s been an active part of Quebec’s Provincial Federation for the past ten years. When not racing, Cathy has worked the past 25 years as a prosthetist with amputees. She says that her favorite sprint race is Laconia, New Hampshire. “I’m really excited to race this year’s Stage Stop with my brother Marco Rivest’s team.”
15 — Sarah Tarlton from Mountain, Wisconsin.
Sarah grew up in Mount Pleasant, Michigan and at 19, moved to Wisconsin where she now lives. Ryan Beaber and his daughters introduced Sarah to running sled dogs six years ago. She says that she’s been “deeply involved ever since. My time with the dogs is my favorite part of this lifestyle.” Sarah has competed in the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race, CopperDog 150, Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race in Wisconsin, as well as several dry land races in Wisconsin and Michigan.
14 — Anny Malo from St-Zenon, Quebec, Canada.
Not only has Anny competed in the Stage Stop the last four years (2019 – 2022), she’s won every single time. She’s a biologist, Executive Director, and owner of Bio-Forest Management Rivest with her husband, Marco. “I began mushing in 1995 when I met Marco. He was just 18 years old, already had his own kennel, and was competing in the mid-distance circuit in Québec. We made a trip to Alaska in 1998 as handlers for Joe Redington’s kennel, and that was the ultimate launching pad for the rest of my mushing career. We’ve traveled with our two sons, Tristan and Elliot, for over 16 years to participate in the mid-distance circuit in Canada and USA. That’s the best life ever!!!”
13 — Alix Crittenden from Bondurant, Wyoming.
Alix began mushing in 2009 as a guide for Frank Teasley’s JHI Sled Dog Tours. She has since raced all over North America for several different kennels. She and her husband own and operate Sleeping Indian Outfitters in Bondurant, Wyoming which offers horseback riding and hunting trips. Alix enjoys dogs, horses, fiddling, gardening, and hunting. “I’m so excited for this year’s event, as always!” Then punctuated her enthusiasm with “Yee haw!”
12 — Donny Poulin from The Pas, Manitoba, Canada.
This is Donny’s first time at the Stage Stop. It’s not surprising that Donny began mushing when he was four years old. His dad, Brian, started running dogs in the early 70s, his mother, Jackie, grew up with sled dogs, in fact, the 6-dog race in Pas is named after her father, Jack McPhail. Donny has raced in The Pas World Championships 29 times. His best finish was third place, and he’s won the Manitoba championship 12 times. He also raced the Harold McLeod championship in Cross Lake more than 20 times, finishing second last winter. “I’ve wanted to race in Wyoming for many years, and this year I’m doing it!”
11 — Chris Adkins from Sand Coulee, Montana.
Chris grew up running dogs, and attempted his first distance race, the Race To The Sky 500, at 21. He entered the stage race in 2010 as a training run for Iditarod and fell in love with the trails of Wyoming. Chris has raced in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Michigan, and Alaska. Chris, his wife Shannon, their family and friends, operate Mo Betta Sled Dog Racing, a 54-dog kennel on the outskirts of Sand Coulee, Montana. This will be Chris’ ninth Stage Stop. “Apparently, I just can’t get enough of it!”
10— Mike Bestgen from St. Cloud, Minnesota.
After running long and mid distance races the last 23 years, Mike decided to take on the Stage Stop this year. “It has always been a goal to race this amazing race,” he wrote in his online application. Mike has worked for Miller Chevrolet in Rogers, Minnesota for 36 years. He’s married and has four grown kids, and 10 grand kids. He’s a three-time winner of the WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race in Ely, Minnesota, and two-time Midnight Run champ. He was last year’s runner up at the Klondike Sled Dog Derby.
9 — Michael Tetzner from Burg, Germany.
Michael began mushing in 1987 after watching a sled dog race in Germany. He started running Siberian Huskies and has been racing dogs all over the world. He’s an IFFS (International Federation of Sleddog Sports) world champion. Michael has traveled to Alaska for years to participate in the sprint race circuit there. His homebase is a farm in Burg, in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany where he has a 60-dog kennel. His wife Doreen and daughter Leonie will be his handlers this year. “Running the Stage Stop has been my dream for many years. I look forward to making many new friends.”
8 — Austin Forney from Leadville, Colorado.
Austin has run the Stage Stop the last seven years. Born and raised on a cattle ranch in western Nebraska, he now lives and trains at 10,152 feet in Leadville, Colorado. Fifteen years ago, Austin switched his allegiance from cattle and horses to sled dogs and has been chasing his mushing dreams ever since. He, Rich, and Ben, his two veteran handlers, are “excited to spend another year in Wyoming with all of the amazing people and dogs of the Pedigree Stage Stop Race.”
7 — Thad McCracken from Mosier, Oregon.
During the 15 years that Thad has raced sled dogs he has steadily worked his way from 6-dog and 8-dog races to “open class”. He’s competed all over the lower 48 states, Alaska, and Canada. He’s run the Wyoming Stage Stop, Fur Rony, and “The Pas” World Championship. Thad lives with his wife Colleen, and teenage kids David and Marie-Louise, in Mosier, Oregon. He races 18 mixed breed Alaskan huskies and has nine retired dogs who are holding down various couches around the house. “I’m really excited to be racing The Stage Stop for the third time!” he says.
6 — Christina Gibson from Carlton, Washington.
At age 12, Christina ran a dog for the very first time, then started building her own team a year later. She now owns Whiteout Racing Kennel, a professional race team, in Methow Valley, Washington. Christina is a professional dog trainer and social media marketer living in the North Cascades of Washington. She finished last year’s Stage Stop and says, “I’m excited to come back for this year’s race.”
5 — Tim Thiessen from Leadville, Colorado.
Tim has run the Stage Stop every year since 2019. His passion for dog sledding began in 2003 when he began working for a Breckenridge, Colorado dog sled tour company. He soon began competing in his local race circuit with his own team. Tim and his partner, Natalie, share their high-altitude homestead in the Mosquito Range of central Colorado with dogs, cats, ducks, chickens and some geese. “Every year presents new challenges, and I’m excited to once again train and compete in this esteemed event!.”
4— Bruce Magnusson from Newberry, Michigan.
2023 marks Bruce’s eighteenth consecutive year running the Stage Stop Race — more than any other competitor in our 28-year history — and his twentieth year of mushing. He lives and trains in Newberry, in the upper peninsula of Michigan. “The Stage Stop is always the primary focus of our race season, and I can’t imagine not being a part of this race and the Stage Stop family,” he says.
3 — Dennis LaBoda from Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Sled dogs were a neighborhood activity when Dennis was growing up in Minnesota. His older brother, Dale, started mushing as a teenager, and raced the IPSSSDR in the early years of our event. Following his brother’s “footsteps in the snow” Dennis started mushing as a teenager, and in 1973 won the Minnesota State Championship 5-dog class with dogs supplied by Chuck Gould. He’s won many races in North and South America and has been a race official in Europe. Mushing is a family activity. He and his son, Charlie, train, and race Nighttrain Racing Sled Dogs. We welcome Dennis back as a Stage Stop veteran. He’s competed in 2008 and every year from 2010 through 2018.
2 — Al Borak from Newberry, Michigan.
Al is a detail man who’s learned to read dogs, and how to take care of them. His special talent is preparing young dogs to be world-class racers, something he plans to do this year with a talented group of youngsters from Magnusson’s kennel. “Any dog team Al drives emerges better for having him behind them,” says Lloyd Gilberston. “I expect a steady, consistent race from Al, and a strong finish. I will thoroughly enjoy watching his race.”
1 — Randy DeKuiper from Hesparia, Michigan.
Randy is a proud native of Michigan, and, in his spare time, he’s grandfather to 13. He’s raced dogs for 53 years — New Hampshire, New York, Wyoming, Alaska, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio. And let’s not forget Canada—Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. “I look forward to the camaraderie for which this race is known and, for certain, the challenge it presents!!!.”