Bill Hastings

#25 JR Anderson

25 — JR Anderson from Buyck, Minnesota.  

Age 43.

A native of Minnesota, JR Anderson has dedicated over 20 years to the sport of endurance canines. He and wife, Anna ‘Chapman’ Anderson, own the River Rock Kennel in Buyck, Minnesota. When not racing dogs, JR can be found playing with his daughter Sara and son Eli. Through research, extensive training, and competitive racing, he’s developed a keen knowledge of the canine’s ability to perform at accelerated levels.

#24 Rachel Courtney

24 — Rachel Courtney from Manitoba, Canada.

Age 30.

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!”

#23 Liz Thompson

23 — Liz Thompson from Saint Anthony, Idaho.

Age 32.

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.”

#22 Doug Butler

22 — Doug Butler from Middlebury, Vermont.

Age 68.

On his online application, Doug writes that he’s been a “dairy farmer since birth. Dairy farming and dog sled racing has been my whole life except for my family. I love my dogs, and I love racing.” Doug now raises beef cattle at his family farm in Vermont and operates Cobble Hill Kennel. Five years ago, he brought his infectious love for the sport to the world stage when he competed in the Open North American Championship in Fairbanks, Alaska. This is Doug’s third Stage Stop.

#21 Dave Torgerson

21 — Dave Torgerson from Bozeman, Montana.

Age 57.

Since Dave started racing sled dogs in 1989, he’s racked up seven Stage Stop finishes. He paused racing to tend to the family and business aspects of life, but in 2017 returned to the runners behind a Streeper team at the Stage Stop and placed second. He and his family have raced the Streeper Kennel’s B Team for the past seven seasons, and “look forward to returning to their Stage Stop Family again in 2023.”

#20 Lina Streeper

20 — Lina Streeper from Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

Age 37.

Lina started mushing sled dogs in Sweden with her cousin. After moving to Canada in 2007, she focused on professional sled dog racing, and has become an integral part of Streeper Kennels. She and husband, Buddy Streeper, own and operate Streeper Kennels in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. They have two wonderful daughters, Alva and Clara. “Now I travel with my husband and daughters competing in races in Canada and Alaska. I wish all my Stage Stop family a safe and successful event!”

#19 Cathy Rivest

19 — Cathy Rivest from St-Paul-de-Joliette, Quebec, Canada.

Age 46.

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.”

#18 Jules Struzyna

18 — Jules Struzyna from Williston, Vermont.

Age 26.

Jules was 16 years old when he began mushing at a tour kennel north of Fairbanks, Alaska. Seven years ago, while attending college in Vermont, Jules began training race teams with Doug Butler at Cobble Hill Kennel. The pair now run a tour business. In addition to managing Cobble Hill, Jules works as an Emergency Veterinary Technician, and enjoys sharing the magic of dog sledding with friends, family, elementary school students, and tourists. “It’s been my dream for many years to compete in the Stage Stop Race.”

#17 Sarah Tarlton

17 — Sarah Tarlton from Mountain, Wisconsin.

Age 43.
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.

#16 Grant Beck

16 — Grant Beck from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Age 72.

Grant has been mushing dogs since he was a seven-year-old boy delivering groceries using a dog team in the remote village of Fort Resolution, NWT. By the time he was twelve, Grant was travelling into the bush with only his dog team, learning to live safely and comfortably in temperatures as low as minus 40 C. Since winning his first race at the age of nine, Grant has put together an impressive career earning hundreds of trophies, including four times at the Canadian Championship. Grant was the 10-dog World Champion by 1981 and won races up to 300 miles throughout the United States. In 1991, his international reputation soared when he entered the 700 km Alpirod and finished on the podium many years. During eleven seasons in Europe, Grant won the Pirena 2000 Dog Sled Race in the Pyrenees. In 2005, he finished a strong third in La Grande Odyssée Savoie Mont Blanc, one of the toughest dog sled races in the world.

#15 Anny Malo

15 — Anny Malo from St-Zenon, Quebec, Canada.

Age 52.

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!!!”

#14 Alix Crittenden

14 — Alix Crittenden from Bondurant, Wyoming.

Age 35. 

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!”

#13 Donny Poulin

13 — Donny Poulin from The Pas, Manitoba, Canada.

Age 48.

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!”

#12 Chris Adkins

12 — Chris Adkins from Sand Coulee, Montana.

Age 54.

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!”

#11 Mike Bestgen

11— Mike Bestgen from St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Age 64.

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.

#10 Michael Tetzner

10 — Michael Tetzner from Burg, Germany.
Age 57.

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.”

#9 Austin Forney

9 — Austin Forney from Leadville, Colorado.

Age 41.

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.”

#8 Thad McCracken

8 — Thad McCracken from Mosier, Oregon.

Age 49.

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.

#7 Christina Gibson

7 — Christina Gibson from Carlton, Washington.

Age 20.

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.”

#6 Tim Thiessen

6 — Tim Thiessen from Leadville, Colorado.

Age 39.

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!.”