#24 — Richard Beck from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.
Richard is a Supervisor with the City of Yellowknife. He grew up in a family of mushers where dogs were a part of their culture. He’s placed in the top 10 in multiple races in Europe, Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec. Richard recently captured his 11th champion title at the 64th Dominion Diamond Canadian Championship Dog Derby
December 27, 2018. He raced the 2012 and 2013 International Pedigree® Stage Stop Sled Dog Race and says “I’m looking forward to competing with some of the best dog mushers in the world.” Richard and crew will drive 2,700 miles, one way, to the race start in Jackson.
#23 — Tommy Bird from Southend, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Tommy has been around dogs all his life and tells his story better than anyone, “…from first dog a few days old when my mom brought me home from hospital …dad pick us up by airplane …help my dad in trapping as a kid age 8 to 14 with dog teams …by 10 drive my dad trapping with well-trained team to haul wood …age of 14 my first race …borrowed local trapper team and finish last. Start racing in 1981 …race over 300 races, won 100 of them. Highlights …won The Pas Manitoba 1998 World Championship and Sask Championship I think 85 …Race most of the races in northern Sask and Manitoba and some in Alberta and the NWT …race in the Artic …Baker Lake NWT …raced in 8-dog class in Stage Stop …raced in Fairbanks. As a person …trapper …commercial fisherman …outdoorsman and self-employed. Married to wife Marion Bird for 40 years …3 children all grown up with 6 grandkids and 3 girls we adopted …and dog kennel …any given year 40 to 70 dogs and pups. I learn most about dogs watching my late dad in the trapping handle his team and from my late good friend George Attla …and my good friend Richard Beck and trying many different ways training dogs. I want to race the Stage Stop one of the greatest dog races around.”
#22 — Rachel Courtney from Caliento, Manitoba, Canada.
Born in Mainburg, Germany, Rachel began bikejoring (riding a bike with a dog pulling) when she was 14 years old; she was “immediately was hooked on mushing,” she says. Four years later, she came to Canada from her native Germany to learn more about sled dogs, and met her husband. In 2012, they started their own kennel which now consists of 42 dogs. “I am really excited for this race. Ever since I heard about it, it has been a dream of mine to one day run it.”
#21 — Anny Malo from Quebec, Canada.
Anny Malo is a biologist, Executive Director and owner of Bio-Forest Management Rivest with her husband, Marco. She started mushing in 1995 after Marco used his dog team to meet her. Mushing became their passion and in 1998 they spent eight “hands-on” months at Joe Redington’s kennel learning all they could about sled dog racing. They’ve raised their children, Tristan and Elliot, in the dog mushing world family traveling across Canada and the United States to participate in mid-distance races. Anny holds the honor of being the first female to win the Copper Dog 150, taking first place in in 2017 and second place in 2018. She’s also the first female to win the 2018 Cross Lake Trappers Festival Race in Manitoba.
#20 — David Torgerson from Red Lodge, Montana.
Since starting sled dog racing in 1989, Dave has raced extensively throughout the United States and Canada in the middle distance and stage format. In 2001, he put sled dog racing on hold to pursue other aspects of life, his family and business, but in 2017 returned to the runners behind the Streeper Kennels’ B-Team at the Stage Stop where he placed second. He’s coming back for the third consecutive year, and will be joined by his daughter Maria who is running a Streeper Kennels team in this year’s Eukanuba 8-Dog Classic.
#19 — Dennis Laboda from Hovland , MN
Dennis is a self-employed contractor. Sled dogs were a neighborhood activity for him when he was growing up in Minnesota. His older brother, Dale, started mushing as a teenager and raced IPSSSDR in the early years of our event. Following in 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 has been a family activity. He and his son, Charlie, train and race Night Train Racing Sled Dogs.
#18 — Emilie Entrikin from Fairbanks, Alaska.
Emilie was first introduced to the dog mushing at age 21 working for a mid-distance kennel in Minnesota. She then moved to Alaska and began skijor racing with her own two dogs. Not quite satisfied with the challenge of skijoring, Emile bred her first litter of pups and ran her first sprint Open Class race in 2014. Since then, she’s raised 3 litters of dogs and has competed throughout Alaska and Canada. She says her favorite races “are in the remote villages of Alaska where the history of sprint racing runs deep.” When not spending time with her dogs, Emilie is a wilderness raft, canoe, and backpack guide in the Alaska Arctic.
#17 — 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. Since moving to Canada in 2007, she has focused on professional sled dog racing. She’s 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, 8-year-old Alva and 6-year-old Clara. “I’m proud to be returning to the 2019 Pedigree Stage Stop Race, and I wish all my Stage Stop family a safe and successful event!”
#16 — Katherine Scheck from Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada.
Born and raised in the Yukon, Katherine started running dogs in 2011 when introduced to skijoring. In 2012, she bought a litter of pups — the six-and-a-half-year-olds in this year’s race team are from that litter. Katherine lives near Whitehorse with her 5-year old daughter, 3-year old son and 27 Yukon huskies. In 2018, she got the “Stage Stop bug,” and when new changes were announced, she knew she had to sign up. She and her dogs are excited to “gain a bunch of experience this season and to have the opportunity to be rookies racing amongst the best mushers in the world.”
#15 — Erick Laforce from Lanoraie, Quebec, Canada.
Erick is a Montreal firefighter who grew up in a small town at the edge of the country. He spent his teenage years in Montreal where a husky he later named Max came to him in the school yard one day. He says that the magic of that moment created the spark that made him the passionate musher he is today. Erick placed first in the 2018 The Pas World Championship, and first in all three 2017 Cross Lake Trappers Festival Race in Manitoba, Kamba Carnival, and western Canadian races. He and his three boys currently live on the same street where he started his first kennel.
#4— Linda Pierce from Okanagen, Washington.
Linda started running dogs with two dogs for a skijor team after she retired from a 28-year career in law enforcement. Her kennel has grown to 18 dogs and includes 15 Alaskan Huskies and three Hound Cross team members. Linda lives in Okanogan, Washington with her husband, a ranch dog, sled dogs and two mules, and trains out of Seeley Lake, Montana. Linda raced the 2018 Eukanuba 8-Dog Classic which inspired her to compete in this year’s Stage Stop Race. “I look forward to the beautiful scenery, the challenge of the race and meeting friends new and old.”