Tim Thiessen’s Team Leader
Introducing Tina! She is our superstar leader who always does what is asked of her. Tina is five years old, and this will be her third time running the stage race. We were incredibly blessed when presented with the opportunity to purchase her from Bud and Lina Streeper. With her knowledge, capabilities, and teaching abilities we have become a better team. That’s a lot of pressure for one dog. and she always rises to all occasions and situations!
When not leading the team, you’ll often find Tina wandering the property, following us around looking for handouts. She enjoys licking soup buckets and sneaking bones into her dog house. She has raised two litters and is an amazing mom; she truly shines when faced with puppies to nurture.
Look for Tina to lead the team again this year! We all love you, Tina!!!
Michael Tetzner’s Team Leader
Juna, my main leader, is a four-year-old who was at last year's Stage Stop. She’s very funny, has a lot to say, and so she "talks" a lot. Juna comes from my own breeding and is a good natural trainer for the young dogs in the kennel. Her siblings, Star and Oden, will also be on the truck in January. See you in Jackson!
Austin Forney’s Team Leader
Mattie is a LEAD DOG! She came to me from retiring musher, Jerry Bath, in 2018. Jerry told me she was “special” and it wasn’t until a few years later when I understood how special she is. She’s led my team for five consecutive Stage Stop races from 2019 to 2023. During those 5 races she was not only the captain of the team but she also helped me grow and gain confidence at Stage Stop. The Stage Stop is a very mentally and physically challenging race but with Mattie being up front showing me how special she was. She led the team in every stage; I could just sit back and relax on the runners ’cause, with Mattie up front, she made it look easy. Mattie is a first-ballot Hall of Fame sled dog!
| MEET TATOUINE
Remy Coste’s Team Leader
This is Tatouine, a three-year-old female, who will be a leader this year. She’s a very funny, super nice dog. Tatourine is the daughter of Kruger, our retired leader, and the mother of almost all our dogs. This year, Kruger will be looking at Tatourine and the rest of her kids, giving them advice during the race.
Chris Adkins’ Team Leader
This is four-year-old Levi. When I bought him from Bud Streeper, he’d already travelled extensively immigrating to the USA via Bruce Magnusson, and then Gwen Bogart. This will be his second Stage Stop. Last year he mostly ran in swing, then he transitioned to lead for Race to the Sky and Copper Dog. This year he’s Mister February, our main leader. He gives 110% every run. There’s no quit in this boy.
Donny Poulin’s Team Leader
This is Luna. Last winter three of my dogs ran all seven stages — Holly on lead, with Ruby and Snake on point. But, right now, I have to highlight Luna, the senior girl in the yard who led four of last year’s stages. She’s seven years old and has run on my main team since she was a yearling. She started leading as a two-year-old and became my main leader a year later.
She’s a total sweetheart on and off the truck. On the trail, she’s all business.
| MEET BROCKET
Laura Bontrager’s Team Leader
This will be Brocket’s third Stage Stop. He started out in 2021 as a yearling on our puppy team, and last year, although he was only two years old, he led many runs for our main team. He even led the team to our best finish of the race, in Pinedale! Brocket is the lone male of a five-puppy litter. His sisters have also competed in stage stop. It is a super family!
Brocket is a lot like his dad, John Deere, who belongs to Anny Malo. He is shy with new people but, once he gets to know you, he will be your best friend. He never seems to get tired, and always wants to play. Although he’s our biggest dog, we don’t really think he’s ever grown out of puppyhood! Brocket makes our team better through his amazing athleticism, happy attitude, monster appetite, and his love for chasing down, and passing, other teams.
We love our boy “Brocket-the-Rocket.”
MEET LEAH AND ADA
Alix Crittenden’s Team Leaders
Meet two of my dogs. Leah is the spotted one who's crazy about two things — running like mad, and her dog box. Other than that, she’s not too worried about anything besides the occasional snuggle. Leah is named after one of the vet techs who helped bring her and her brother into this world. She’s been a phenomenal leader since her yearling year when she had to step up during stage stop because one of my main leaders was injured. That year, 2022, she ran every single stage of Stage Stop, and led three stages. Last year she ran six stages, and led every single one of them. She’s an amazing dog, and I love her very, very much.
Ada is the black leader, and she's a very serious lady, quiet and elusive. She likes to play but not when anyone is watching. Last year was her first on the truck, and she ran not only every stage of stage stop but every single stage of every single race all season long. She was there for all of our 27 total race starts last season, only running out of the lead three times. She’s a phenomenal athlete, and I love to watch her run. Ada gave us her first litter of puppies last year, and all of them look just like her. I look forward to our future of racing and creating the next generation together.
| MEET RIO
Anny Malo’s Team Leader
My name is Rio, I’m four years old, and I’m one of nine guys from the “R” litter. Our mom, Tesla, gave all of us black coats except my brother Romeo who’s black and white. Even though I’m a leader, I keep a low profile, and don’t think I’m the boss of anything. I want to be close to my owner and be petted a lot. With my big soft eyes, I’m really good at getting attention. Since I’ve started mushing, I’ve shown my athletic talent at the front of the team. As a yearling I ran the Open North American, and the next year I led the team in training runs. By the time I was three years old, I was racing in front, and winning! I like to think that I’m the main man. See you in Jackson!
| MEET BAGHERRA
Sarah Tarlton’s Team Leader
Hi, my name is Bagherra, a name which comes from the Jungle Book movie. I’m a black and white female, and you can see me in this picture with my best friend Flame. I am 6 years old, grew up with seven brothers, and that’s why I am a top leader for my team. From an early age, I learned to take charge. I always bring back my people safely and swiftly. I love people and attention so much I do this cute little sideways butt wiggle. I have raced more than a dozen different race tracks, and I even led my team in for a course record at one!!! See you all at Pedigree Stage Stop 🙂 Love, Bagherra xoxo
Cathy Rivest’s Team Leader
My name is Watson and I’m out of the “W” litter of 3 males and one female who all have a super career in sled dog racing. I’m a gentle brown dog who is quiet BUT most of all, I’m best buddy to the famous John Deere (The red guy next to me in the photo.) As a yearling, I was a super good point dog and I became a good leader at 2 years old. I like to please my musher and I’m an easy-going guy. I can race any kind of format — fast or long trail. I won multiple races as a leader or team dog such as the Pedigree Stage Stop Race. In 2024, at 6 years old, I will be up front for Cathy for my 6th Wyoming Stage Stop.
See you in Jackson!
Rachel Courtney’s Team Leader
Meet Whiskey, a four-year-old leader. He loves to run, and here you can see him running alongside his buddy, Charlie. In harness he’s all business, and very intense on the starting line. He became my main leader last year and hasn’t looked back. He’s a hard driving, focused dog. Out of harness, he’s a very sweet boy who enjoys attention. I love my Whiskey-boy.
MEET DINO AND DUMBA
Mike Bestgen’s Team Leaders
Brothers Dino (named for Dino Ciccarelli) and Dumba (after Matt Dumba) are four years old from the hockey litter. They are the biggest dogs in my kennel. Both have been running lead since they were yearlings, including last year when I ran the Stage Stop for the first time. Dumba is now the father of some wee pups who are growing up back home in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Charlie Connor’s Team Leader
Meet Skoden, the fiercest sled dog on the planet who’s running his last major race. He’s eight years old, a friendly, happy guy. His name is an Indigenous slang word which means something like “Let’s go, then!” It’s an attitude, a battle cry, and we’ve decided to take it to heart. Skoden excels at mass start sprint racing. So, look out for him to explode off the start line. Our family has been blessed to have him all these years. See you at the Pedigree Stage Stop.
MEET BART AND BLACKHAWK
JR Anderson’s Team Leaders
Both Bart and Blackhawk have run in lead at past Stage Stop and other races. Both of their dads have been great leaders at Stage Stop races in past years as well. In addition to being litter mates, Bart and Blackhawk are great leaders and looking forward to this year’s Stage Stop Race.