June 29, 2017

Meet the 2015 IditaRiders!

Meet the 2015 IditaRiders!

The 2015 IditaRiders are in for a real treat as they take to the sleds for the ride of a lifetime along the first eleven miles of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race!  Meet them here, and be sure to cheer for them and their mushers and teams on Saturday!

 

 *We’ll be adding more IditaRiders later this week! 

IditaRider

Bio

Riding With

Deb Abrams

Deb abrams buena vista sunset 

Deb was born in Texas in 1954 and retired from the Sunset Valley PD in 2012.  Besides traveling she keeps busy with her Dressage ‘pony’ Gizmo and working with various animal rescue outfits and shelters.  

Charley Bejna

Charlie_Benjna_2014

 

Kate Abernethy

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Kate bid for an lditaRide because she’s been fascinated by the lditarod for as long as she can remember. She says, “After having made my ‘pilgrimage’ to the Nethy River in Scotland in 2005, seeing the lditarod was next on my bucket list. l’ve played with the idea of volunteering but just couldn’t figure out how I could leave my classes for so long. Then I became a Math Coach and no longer had classes, a couple of years later I discovered the Winter Educator Conference. I KNEW I was going to witness the beginning of the lditarod in person, thought I could check it off my bucket list. I was there for the Conference and the beginning of the 2014 lditarod. But I was wrong about the bucket list. As soon as I got back to Florida I opened a savings account to have money set aside to be an lditaRider in 2015.”

 

Gerald Sousa

Iditarod Rookie portrait summer 2014Copyright Jeff Schultz/SchultzPhoto.com

Ally

Riding in the sled with Heidi Sutter is fourteen-year-old Make-A-Wish kid Ally. This young woman, battling cystic fibrosis, has traveled from Utah to experience her wish to be a part of the Last Great Race.

Ally first became interested in the Iditarod when studying famous sled dogs Balto and Togo. She’s been dreaming of Alaska ever since. Thanks to Make-A-Wish and ExxonMobil, this Iditarod experience is happening…today!

Heidi Sutter

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 

 Cindy Anthony

Cindy Anthony

Cindy shares, ” I grew up in western PA on a small farm. I have always had a love of animals. As an adult continued in the animal business raising exotic animals. Currently living in Sterling on the Kenai peninsula. Cindy and her husbnd will be moving back to Pennsylvania this fall. So she wanted to leave with a once in a lifetime experience.”

 

Marcelle Fressineau 

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 Nancy Augustine

Nancy Augustine ( STEVES,JAN )

Nancy tells us, “They say that once you have been to Alaska you never come all the way back.  That has certainly been true for me.  I lived in Anchorage in 1988 and 1989 and have been longing to return ever since. My husband and I follow the Iditarod on the Insider every year from the San Francisco bay area.  I am celebrating my 50th birthday this year and wanted a bit of an adventure, so being an IditaRider is my birthday present from my husband.  

I will be riding with Jan Steves.  I wanted to ride with Jan because I love her story.  She started mushing at about the age that I am now. I think it is inspiring to see brave women pursuing their dreams at an age when some people might feel it is too late to make a bold change.  I hope I can be as bold as she has been in this next phase of my life.”

 

Jan Steves

Steves_Jan_2014 

 Pam Barr

Pam Barr ( HALVERSON)

Pam shares, “It is my pleasure to help support the Iditarod.  I rode a tag sled in the 2007 & 2008 ceremonial start.  I really enjoy being part of the race start.”

 Ellen Halverson

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Lauren Belcher

Lauren 1.jpg

Lauren is a thirteen year old seventh grade student at Oak Hill Jr. High School in Converse Indiana. This will be Lauren’s second Iditarod and first time being an IditaRider. Lauren has grown up loving the Iditarod as her mother (a seventh grade Language Arts teacher) teaches a section on the Iditarod. Lauren also enjoys playing violin, all art forms especially drawing and painting, and playing soccer.

 

Christian Turner

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 Susan Benson

Susan and Victor Benson-page-001

 

Susan Benson, originally from New Jersey, currently lives and works in New York City. She says, “My husband and I also have homes in East Hampton, NY and in Naples, Florida.  We love to travel, go boating, ski, play tennis and golf.  When the snow hits up North, we head south to Florida with our Wheaten Terrier, Nikki.  I love dogs and our Nikki is the sweetest dog ever!  I work from home marketing jewelry and accessories on our website www.holstedjewelers.com. While my husband and I have traveled extensively, this will be our very first trip to Alaska.  Some people think I am crazy for leaving sunny Florida and taking this long trip to snowy Alaska.  I see this as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity that I don’t want to miss.”

 

 Lev Shvarts

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 Victor Benson

Susan and Victor Benson-page-001

Victor Benson is joining his wife Susan as an IditaRider this year!  He says, “I was born in New York, spent 6 years in California as a child, and have been living back in New York ever since. We now spend winters in FL to get away from the harsh weather in NY, but the Iditarod is an exception that I knew I would make as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I am anxious to meet Nathan Schroeder, and know we are going to be right out front when it comes to any competition in this event.” 

 

 Nathan Schroeder

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 Michael Berns

Berns ( Burmeister )

 

 

Michael Berns is from Laguna Beach, California. He’s not too sure about this whole thing apparently… he tells us, “Actually, I prefer tropical destinations and 80 degree turquoise lagoons where I can scuba dive, sail and wear the same tee shirt and shorts for weeks on end.

My awesome wife Tricia, bid on this sled and made me come here. I have a Ph.D. in business and accounting. I started my career as a tenured professor before leaving to go into manufacturing and then later into commercial real estate development. My interests include biotechnology, environmental education, mountain biking, and underwater photography. Just so you know, I didn’t write any of this,my wife did. She promised me I would have a great time here and it does seem pretty amazing…check with me after the ride.”

 

 

 Aaron Burmeister

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 Tricia Berns

tricia berns ( royer )

Tricia tells us, “The idea of buying Jessie Royer’s sled came to me after meeting Jessie at the Tripple Creek Ranch in Montana last summer where Jessie is a wrangler. I thought she and the Iditarod were awesome! I am here with my husband Michael, who is riding in Aaron Burmeister’s sled, and L3, an international group of citizens interested in culture, community, and learning. I grew up in the Chicago area and have had various careers in Atlanta Georgia, New York City, and Los Angeles as a model, actress and talent agent. I currently reside in Laguna Beach California with my husband, Michael, and enjoy mountain biking, sailing, scuba diving, horseback riding, skiing and now the Iditarod! I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the ‘Last Great Race on Earth’ !!!”

 

 Jesse Royer

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Karl Bittner

Karl is attending the Winter Conference for Teachers from Virginia.  

Al Eischens

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 Lola Bradley

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Lola Bradley is eleven years old.  She tells us, “I am staying with my whole family in Soldotna, Alaska for 3 to 4 months while my dad is working. My home is in Chattanooga TN and I am in the 5th grade at Chattanooga Christian School (but right now I have to home school).  I am a cheerleader/gymnast, a good student and love to spend time outdoors with my family and my friends. I am a big time animal lover too. My brother and I just learned to snow board last year and we love it! We love Alaska and I am so excited about the Iditarod race – Getting to ride with Curt is going to be so exciting- I can’t wait to meet him and the dogs!!”

Curt Perano

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Brianna Cassin

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Brianna lives in Uvalde, Texas. She is a fourteen year old eighth grade honor student. She loves playing tennis.  Coming from a ranching family, she loves dogs and all things outdoors. Brianna hopes to become a veterinarian.   Brianna adds, “My grandmother, Charlotte Cassin, is a volunteer.  She was IditaRider with Jeff King last year and decided she would treat each of their 3 grandkids to a ride.  I am the oldest, so I get to be the first of the three to be an IditaRider.”

 

Anna Berington

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Paula Clark

Paula Clark Iditarod Pic

 

 

Paula Clark is from Chicago, IL and has always had a love for animals, especially dogs.  As a kid she dreamed of being a veterinarian.  Instead, she became a schoolteacher.  This June, she will retire after teaching for 27 years at Franklin Fine Arts Center, a Chicago Public School, where for many years she would teach her students a unit on the Iditarod.   Paula has been married to Dave Clark for 37 years and has two children, two grandchildren, and a 150 pound Rottweiler grandpuppy.  She loves dogs, photography, making videos, and riding Harley Davidson motorcycles with her husband Dave.  Meeting AJ and Rebecca, and being around the mushers, handlers, and dogs at the Iditarod, fulfills a long-time dream of Paula’s.   Beginning in June, she will have the opportunity to explore new adventures during her retirement.

 

Justin Savidis

Savidis_Justin_2014

Hannah Crutcher

Hannah is from California.

 

Kelly Maxiner

Maixner_Kelly_2014

Tony Davenport

Tony is with Horizon Lines.

Paul Gebhardt

gebhardt for web page

 Carol DeVeaux

Carol DeVeaux ( SELLAND )

Carol tells us, “I was fortunate to be selected as the IditaRider for Dr. Mark Selland,  one of our cardiologists at the Alaska heart and Vascular Institute where I have been employed as a registered nurse for almost ten years.  I have been an RN for 49 years and moved with my husband of 43 tears to Anchorage in 1973 where we raised our two children.  I wanted to be an IditaRider for my special 93 year old uncle Erv Hecht who currently resides at Reedsburg Senior Center in Reedsburg, WI.  He has been an avid Iditarod fan for over 30 years.  Every year come Iditarod time I mail him all the newspaper coverage, articles, and special features  he loves following all the stories of the trail.  

I am proud to have been selected by Alaska Heart and Vascular Institute and to give Uncle Erv a taste of the Iditarod experience.”

Mark Selland

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race 

Allen Dobson

Allen Alaska train

 

Allen Dobson is from Mt. Pleasant, NC and his connection to the Iditarod and his IditaRider experience is through his wife, Martha, the 2011 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™. Having ridden twice as an IditaRider, Martha wanted him to have this experience as a thank you for his support for her Iditarod race involvement over the years. A lifelong North Carolinian, Allen is a family physician, graduating from North Carolina State University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. After completing a family medicine residency at East Carolina University, Allen and Martha moved to Mt. Pleasant where he assumed the small town practice of a retiring doctor. Because of his commitment to family medicine and the importance of serving patients, he founded Cabarrus Family Medicine Residency, served as the Medicaid Director for North Carolina, and currently is the President and CEO of Community Care of North Carolina, Inc. He was selected in 1992 as the North Carolina Family Physician of the Year. A trombonist, Allen earned spending money in college playing in his big band, The Ambassadors, and marched with NCSU’s band. Flying is another interest of his. This year, two of his three children and his granddaughter will witness his ride in the Ceremonial Start. While Allen prefers summer Alaska trips, and Martha enjoys her Iditarod experiences, Allen says, ” The race is all about the dedication of the mushers and their dogs, and I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity to see it firsthand.”  

Peter Kaiser

Kaiser_Peter_2014

Charlie Dumbaugh

Charlie Dumbaugh is from Boston, Massachusetts. He lists his occupation as in the field of the renovation of historic buildings. Starting in 2002, Charlie sponsored an educator from Dexter Southfield School to attend the Iditarod Teacher Conference and be an IditaRider. He has helped to bring up a teacher each year from that school for the past 14 years. Charlie is a yearly rider because as he says, “I enjoy the ride!”  

Jim Lanier

Lanier_Jim_2014

Gerald Elkan

Dr. Elkan’s interest for the Iditarod has been long standing.  He tells us, “Years ago, I met and visited Susan Butcher and all her happy dogs.  This got me totally hooked on the Iditarod and gave me another excuse to visit Alaska.  This will be my ninth consecutive Iditarod, and, my eighth as an IditaRider.  This makes me feel more a part of this event.”

Trent Herbst

Pre-Race Activities Iditarod 2012 Mandatory Vet Check

 John W. Evans

John Evans ( ALLAWAY )

John W. Evans is another returning IditaRider.  He says, “Riding on a dog sled has been one of the most exciting and thrilling things I have ever done in my life!  Whether riding as a passenger in the Iditarod ( as I was fortunate to do in 2012 ) or mushing with my own sled and dog team ( which I have been able to do twice ), there is nothing to compare with the experience.  Being able to  go ‘behind the scenes’ at the beginning of the ceremonial start and re-start of the Iditarod is an amazing opportunity to meet a lot of the mushers and their teams.  I have followed the Iditarod for many years and only dreamed of being able to see it, much less be a part of it.  My wife has been an IditaRider twice as well and it is a unique experience we share and treasure.” 

 

 Laura Allaway

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Robert Federovich

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Robert was born in Fort Polk, LA in July 2006.  Although he is only eight years old, he has already called six different places “home”.  Robert has truly embraced his time in Alaska.  He has taken up archery, skiing and snowboarding lessons, and he’s competed in the Anchorage School District’s Elementary School Native Youth Olympics.  In addition, he loves being able to hike up mountains, fish, and kayak on the lake all of which he has never had the opportunity to do so before.  He also loves the fact that he can see moose and black bears roaming around the JBER military installation.  But what Robert is really looking forward to his father’s return home this summer from a nine-month deployment in Kosovo and being able to explore more of Alaska as a complete family.

Chuck Schaeffer

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 

Deborah Feinstein

feinstein

 

Deborah Feinstein, a wife, a mother of two daughters, and one granddaughter has dreamed of going to the Iditarod for most of her life. She is an avid dog lover and has had over 15 dogs as loved companions throughout her life.

She is also a strong supporter of the arts and has served as director, curator, and educator for several museums, including the Canadian Guild of Crafts, a nonprofit organization that promotes Inuit and indigenous artists of Canada.   Other than her professional career and family, Deborah has spent her life volunteering by creating programs centering on cultural and historical events that create shared experiences. Twenty years ago, Deborah with a trained team established a Holocaust center  in Springfield, interviewing over 50 survivors of the holocaust. Creating educational programs for schools centered on visual storytelling is another one of her volunteer paths. Jewish community work in its relationship with opening interfaith collaborations has been a major focus. Serving on numerous school and community boards, Deborah now is President of the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture, encouraging inclusivity of the downtown Boston community.

 

Isabelle Travadon

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 Robert Follman

Robert Follman ( ABBOTT)

Robert Follman is president and CEO of R.A. Industries, one of the leading producers of complex multi-axis components for the aerospace, nuclear, petroleum and other commercial industries.  He is also president and CEO of Markall Incorporated, a related company that produces and markets electro-mechanical assemblies for the same markets.  Additionally, Mr. Follman has recently become the owner and president of prestigious Katmai Lodge where they specialize in some of the most extreme and abundant fishing in the only Designated Trophy Sport Fishing Area along the Alagnak River in Alaska.

Robert is a longtime supporter of many local and national charitable organizations and is active in many community and civic affairs. He has served on numerous boards including the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, The Jocelyn Diabetes Center, University of California at Irvine and The Orange County High School of the Arts.  He has a long history of supporting the arts, education, children’s needs and medical support in Orange County and the Los Angeles areas. Presently he serves as the CFO for the Katmai Lodge & Markall Inc. Foundation for Disease and Disability Awareness; the organization sponsoring rookie musher, Cindy Abbott of California.

Robert and his wife, Carole, are residents in Orange County, California. They have three children and four grandchildren. Robert is an avid sportsman with a variety of interests, including golf and fly-fishing.

 Cindy Abbott

CindyAbbott

Maureen Fuller

Fuler

Maureen tells us, “As an elementary teacher, I integrated the Iditarod into the curriculum for many years. When I retired, I wanted to volunteer at the Iditarod and experience everything I had been teaching.  Last year, I attended the teachers’ workshop and met a teacher who was an IditaRider.  I imagined the  first eleven miles vicariously through her.  The amazing experience of participating in the activities and filed trips at the workshop, meeting the mushers at the banquet, feeling the passion of the canine and human athletes at the ceremonial start and restart, and volunteering during the race exceeded my expectations and lured me to return.  However, I was undecided.  How could an experience so perfect be repeated?  I decided to bid on a sled.  The musher I won a ride with grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, a ferry ride away from my home.  So, in addition to attending the teacher’s workshop and volunteering again this year, I will be an IditaRider.  It doesn’t get much better than that!”

 

 Jodi Bailey

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Jane Gladstone

 Jane Gladstone is the Senior Managing Director leading Evercore’s financial services corporate advisory business with over twenty three years of investment banking experience. Ms. Gladstone has been named one of the Top 50 rainmakers on Wall Street by Dealmaker magazine and been a delegate to the World Economic Forum. Ms. Gladstone is a member of the Committee of 200, an invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women business leaders and The Economic Club of New York.

Benjamin Harper

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Cheryl Hall

Cheryl Hall ( BEALS )

Cheryl says, “I am a retired school teacher from San Jose California, who has become a dog mushing groupie thanks to a dear friend.  Rosie was a big fan of dog sledding; she passed away from multiple myeloma a few months ago, and it was always her dream to be an IditaRider – so, I am riding for her.  My husband gave me the ride (well, the money) for Christmas and he is as excited as I am – he plans on taking many photos.  We attended the Iditarod last year and had a great time so are really looking forward to the whole experience.  I have had the opportunity to try dog handling for Pawsatch Mushing and have huge respect for those great athletes, the dogs, as well as for the mushers.  In short, we can’t wait!!”

Travis Beals

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Sande Harrison

Sande Harison( COOKE ) photo

Sande Harrison, 62, is from San Angelo, Texas, and is a graduate of Angelo State University.  She has been a teacher, Campaign Consultant for numerous elected officials, Arts Administrator, Director of Marketing for Shannon Health Systems, and 10 years as Director of Alumni Relations at Angelo State University, retiring in 2009.  Sande has served on more than 20 community boards over the last 35 years, including the San Angelo Independent Board of Education, Hospice of San Angelo, Crime Stoppers, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, San Angelo Symphony, San Angelo Planning Commission, and Junior League of San Angelo. She currently serves on the San Angelo Health Foundation Board of Trustees, President of the San Angelo State University Foundation Board of Directors, and Secretary of the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Foundation Board of Directors.  Sande has been married for 40 years to her husband, George, an attorney.  They have 3 grown and married children and 11 grandchildren.  Sande likes to travel, play golf, and spend time with family and friends.

 

Rob Cooke

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 Bobbie Hjelmgren

Mary Kutney (FAILOR 2014 ) photo kidney sisters

 

Bobbie tells us, “Since 2009, I have volunteered as a member of the Iditarod Pee Collection Team. Pee collection from the sled dogs is necessary to ensure the integrity of The Last Great Race.

Convincing a dog to pee in a cup doesn’t always go as planned, but neither does life. Had you told me ten years ago I’d be a member of the Iditarod Pee Team and riding on a sled at the ceremonial start of the 2015 Iditarod, I would have laughed at the thought. Life, however, provides each of us a compass with a constantly changing arrow.

The reason I am in this sled today is because of Mary Kutney and her husband, Ken. You see, in 2012, I partnered with Mary on a critical project. I provided her a spare kidney and Mary provided me a life long friend. Donating a kidney was the best deal I’ve ever made.

Please consider becoming a donor. Organ donation is not merely a two-person transaction. Mary is a Nurse Practitioner at the Anchorage VA, and she serves honorable veterans every day.

Maybe you never became a soldier, policeman, or firefighter. As an organ donor, you still can save a life, and at the same time, touch the hearts of countless others. If you have questions or interest in organ donation, please contact Lifealaska.org. Or, if you’d prefer a relaxed conversation on a personal level, Mary, Ken and I would be thrilled to speak with you over a cup of tea.”

 Matthew Failor

Failor_Matt_2014

 Kristine Horst

Kristine Pic

 

Kristine, 34,  has lived in Anchorage for eight years with her husband.  She works for Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM Center as the Customer Relations/Events Manager.  She is riding in the Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep sponsored sled.

 Lachlan Clarke

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Technical Sergeant 

Gerald Ingram

TSgt Ingram

 

Technical Sergeant Gerald Ingram is an Air Force Reservist in the 477th Fighter Group. The 477th is the first F-22 Raptor unit in the Air Force Reserve and the only Air Force Reserve unit in Alaska. Sergeant Ingram serves as an expeditor for the maintenance unit, where he oversees the maintenance and repair of F-22s. He works as a medical assistant for Health North Family Medicine when not fulfilling his Air Force Reserve duties.

Sergeant Ingram moved to Alaska in 2008 and loves it. He fully appreciates that the state is the last frontier and enjoys the endless outdoor activities.  He said, “There is a great appreciation in the community for the military’s presence and that makes settling here all the easier.  After 6 years in the state I think I can start to say I’m Alaskan and plan to stay that way for a long time!” He is very excited to be an Iditarider in the Last Great Race on Earth. Sergeant Ingram is an Alaskan Citizen Airman.

Dallas Seavey

Seavey_Dallas_2014 cropped for website

 Tim James

Tim James ( K,BERINGTON)

Tim says, “I see myself as an ordinary person who has been lucky enough to do things in my lifetime that many other people might never have bothered to try to do.  For this, I am thankful to the many good people I know, and have known, who have encouraged me and taught me to enjoy stretching my levels of contentment.  I am optimistic and thankful for all of my life experience, to date.

I am also a very privileged person who has, somewhat unexpectedly, arrived at middle-age!  I am turning fifty (50) in a few months. I am a Canadian who has had the excellent fortune of having spent time in every Canadian province and territory.  I, too, have seen most of the states in the U.S.  This exciting opportunity to visit Alaska (even while your US dollar is reigning very supreme again!) was too much to pass up!  

I work in construction – realizing how lucky I am to have a fulfilling job where I work for a great employer, Clark Builders.  I have spent the last decade as a dedicated single dad, working to be a good role model for my three children.  Their mom is also very dedicated. Our kids are now 13, 15 and 17. They are almost as excited about this trip as I am – which is pretty thrilling for me!

I look forward to mushing with Kristy.  I hope that we will have some fun and that my participation in the 2015 Iditarod will be a pleasant experience for both (all) of us!”

Kristy Berington

Berington_Kristy_2014 - Copy 

 John

Ten-year-old John is from Wasilla, Alaska, and he’s excited to mushing with musher Brian Wilmshurst. John loves video games, animals, and monster truck races! He also loves to play the saxophone.  

 Brian Wilmshurst

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Susan Kelley

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This will be Susan’s fourth year riding with Michelle Phillips!  Her husband Richard says, “Our year revolves around the Iditarod, it is a wonderful family gathering each year. As you may know Susan saved for 15 years, and many of them lean years, to get me across the Iditarod Trail by bush plane and my name was added to the volunteer roster at McGrath checkpoint in 2008. I convinced her to help with the 2010 picnic and that is when she was hooked no matter what she says. It has been a wonderful time for both of us. She has been my sweetheart for over 47 years.”

 

Michelle Phillips

Phillips_Michelle_2014

 Sarah Kimball

Sarah Kimball (JANSSEN )

 

Beautiful Skandia, Michigan which is on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by Lake Superior is home to Sarah Kimball. She shares that her hometown, “Has plenty of snow in the winter and is home to several dog sled races, including one which I volunteer at, the UP200/Midnight Run in Marquette which is held in mid February.  I am a recreational musher, I run Siberians, and enjoy my dogs and the beauty of our wooded areas. This will be my 4th year attending the Iditarod, and second year being an IditaRider.  I have enjoyed coming to Alaska every year, it is like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but on steroids I always say.  I have volunteered as a dog handler, worked in the Phone Room, Communications, Merchandise, Drop Dog Lot, and Security.  I have also been to the finish in Nome and volunteered there as well. Coming to see and volunteer at the Iditarod has been a dream of mine.  Last year, 2014, was a very special year for me.  In January I found out I had breast cancer, after 2 surgeries the doctors said I needed a third surgery.  I told them I had to go to Alaska and volunteer at the Iditarod and ride in a sled at the Ceremonial start.  The doctors told me I could have a couple weeks off to do my trip.  2014 was a special year for me at the Iditarod.  Looking forward to another great race this year and riding in Scott Janssen sled on Saturday. “

 

 Scott Janssen

Janssen_Scott_2014

Halley Knigge

halley knigge

Halley is riding in this Alaska Airlines sponsored sled!

Halley Knigge is a writer and dog-lover from Tacoma, Washington. Adventures in the wild and beautiful state of Alaska are one of her favorite aspects of her job at Alaska Airlines. She will be capturing this once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Alaska Airlines blog at blog.alaskaair.com.

 

Bryan Bearrs

Bryan Bearss for website

Patrice Krant

PMK with Husky.jpeg

Patrice Krant is thrilled to be the IditaRider with Mike Santos; in part because her husband Rick’s son Thomas, an aspiring musher, is currently a dog-handler at Mike’s Wolf’s Den Kennel! This is the third Iditarod Patrice and Rick have attended and their fourth year as Iditarod Trail Committee Members. Patrice and her husband, Rick Rosenbloom, eloped to Alaska in February 2012 and were married in the Anchorage Court House while volunteering for the Iditarod. They returned to Atlanta, Georgia after the Iditarod, packed up a new travel trailer, and seven days later drove back to Alaska. Their plan was to spend the summer in Fairbanks and then travel around North America for a few years. You know how this story goes: that was in 2012, and they haven’t left Alaska! The house in Atlanta was sold, the little camper was traded for a big fifth wheel, and last summer was their third in Fairbanks, where Patrice managed the very popular River’s Edge RV Park and Rick guided visitor tours between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay via the Dalton Highway. They spend their winters in Homer in the RV; the locals get a kick out of these “snowbirds” from Fairbanks to Homer. Patrice, an avid quilter, is currently the acting executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Santos

mike Santos as requested

 Nancy M. Livingston

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Nancy lives in San Diego CA and spends summers in Homer AK.  She is Emeritus Faculty in the Division of Education San Diego State University.  This is her 15th ride!  It’s an opportunity to support Alaska’s state sport – the men and women of legend who mush – the great canine athletes – sled dogs – and to honor the memory of the original 1925 race to Nome, and the historic fame of what is known as The Iditarod Trail.  Nancy says, “In the sled, I love the sound of the sled runners, dogs and forest; the camaraderie of 15 years of friendships with  “ my “ Norwegian and Alaskan mushers Sorlie, Backen, Andersen, Ekran, Ulsom – Swenson, Williams Sr., Plettner, Nelson and I’m truly proud to know Larry Mackey – greatest sled dog ever – in my book – and to say “ Heia Norge!” along The Iditarod Trail.”

 

 

 Joar Leifseth Ulsom

Ulsom_Joar Liefseth_2014

 Frances Lockwood

Frances Lockwood ( PETIT ) PHOTO

This will be Frances Lockwood’s 9th ride . . .each year with a  different musher!  Frances was born and raised on a farm in northeastern Indiana.  She received a BS and a MA in elementary and special education at Ball State University.  Frances taught in public  education for 30 years in Marion, Indiana.

She is married to Ray Lockwood and will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, March 6, 2015 while here at the Iditarod.  She is mother to two children and grandmother to 4 grandsons and two granddaughters, ages 10-19.  Frances loves watching the grandchildren in their athletic and musical events.

Frances loves to travel, read, quilt, garden, bird watch and be in the great outdoors.  When Indiana has enough snow,  she likes to use her snowshoes.  In the summer, she likes to swim and walk the beach and be on the water.  Frances is looking forward to another great ride!

 

 Nicholas Petit

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Craig Lubin

Lubin, Craig and Susan

 

Craig is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, attended the University of Pennsylvania, and met his wife, Susan. After graduation and marriage they lived in Oklahoma City where Craig attended medical school, then moved to San Francisco, and eventually to Austin in 1982 where  Craig started a pediatric practice.   Craig and Susan both are both very active and involved in fitness – in fact Craig even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro!He says he is fully recovered from bilateral knee replacement (which he promises was
not related to the climb!).

 

Monica Zappa

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Brett Martin

Brett is from Pepsi.

Ken Anderson

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Randy McCain

Randy is from Alaska Logistics.

Aliy Zirkle

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Deborah Menendez

Deborah is from Texas.

Yvonne Dabakk

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 Sally Ann Mogren

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Sally Ann tells us, “I love dogs.  My husband is a Nordic ski racer and took me along to see him race and tour of Anchorage and we enjoyed seeing the dogs, racers & beginning of start last year.  A lady standing by us told us about the bidding in becoming an IditaRider.  We were determined to have me do it this year. Last year we saw some of the dogs at our hotel and some of the mushers too.  I happened to go up to Rick and wish him luck as he was grabbing some food at breakfast.  After bidding to be a rider since the beginning of bidding and spending 4 ½ hours on the day of bidding we got a bid acceptance to be an Iditarider! And it ended up being with Rick!   Very Excited!  I am honored to be riding with the Battle Dawgs Racing and all that it stands for.”

 

 Rick Casillo

Casillo_Rick_2014

 Rider to be announced soon!  It’s a surprise gift for someone!  

Thomas Waermer

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 Erin Montgomery

Erin

 

Erin, the 2015 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™, is a 7th and 8th grade Social Studies teacher in Camanche, Iowa.  She also coaches volleyball, basketball, and tennis.  Before the race begins, Erin will be hosting a website sharing curriculum applicable to all grade levels. Once the 2015 Iditarod begins, Erin will be reporting from the Iditarod Trail to school kids and fans around the world as she travels the race route by small plane. One of her first adventures on the trail will be taking a turn as an IditaRider!  She says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to ride in a sled behind a team of dogs and view the trail from a musher’s eyes.”

 

 

Wade Marrs

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Lynn Murphy

Lynn practiced law as a corporate and securities attorney before choosing to stay home and raise her two children, Kristen and Michael.  

Currently, she serves on the Board of Trustees of the Witte Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate that focuses on Texas history, and is actively involved in the Military-Civilian Club that promotes closer relationships between military and civilian women in the San Antonio area.

Additionally, Lynn is writing a historical novel about shifting loyalties in South Texas during the Texas revolution and Indian wars.  During the early 1800’s, her ancestors lived in  a close-knit community of Irish immigrants, Tejanos, and Karankawa Indians until Texas declared its independence and friends were forced to choose sides.  As their interests merged and diverged, each group fought with and against the others in an effort to protect their homelands.

Lynn received her undergraduate degrees in business and economics from Southern Methodist University, and in 1984, her law degree from SMU School of Law. 

Seth Barnes

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Margaret Murphy

Margaret is from Alaska.

Jason Campeau

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Michael Murphy

murphy bio

Michael is Chairman of the Board and Founder of Christus Santa Rosa Physician Ambulatory Surgery Centers and the Foundation of Surgical Hospital.  he serves on the boards of Consultants in Pain Medicine, Star Anesthesia and the Bank of San Antonio.

He has over thirty years experience in starting and running a variety of medical businesses, and has sold many in the past to both public and private corporations.  He is currently reorganizing a group of hospitals and is expanding medical services to better cover the San Antonio area.

Mike attended the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Texas College of Pharmacy.  He received his Medical Degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1983.

 

Rohn Buser

Rohn for website

Beverly Nelms

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Beverly is from Dallas, Texas. 

This year will be her 21st year of being an IditaRider.  The majority of those years, she has ridden with DeeDee Jonrowe.

DeeDee Jonrowe

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 Robert H. Peterson

Robert Peterson ( HONDA )

I have been an Alaskan resident for eight years and my introduction to the Great Race occurred my first weekend in Anchorage. I had just moved into an apartment near the bottom of the hill at Cordova and 16th Ave.  I was awakened in the middle of the night by the loud clanging from dump truck’s tailgates slamming shut as the center of the Cordova was being filled with snow for the race’s morning start.   I had heard of the Iditarod but was unfamiliar with any of the details of the race itself. I definitely did not know my apartment was on the course. Later that morning I had a memorable walk from my apartment up Cordova as sled after sled passed by.  My walk ended at the starting line where sleds continued to start. My wife and I have attended the start almost every year since and my Christmas present this year was to be an IditaRider.  This year I am excited to reverse my route from that first day for the 11 mile trip to the Campbell Airstrip.

 

 Yuka Honda

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Annette Promes

 Annette Prones

 

 

 

Annette was born in Fairbanks and raised in Wasilla, but (sadly) left the state in the late 1980’s for Seattle, where she has been ever since. Since she went to Iditarod Elementary School, it’s seems like Annette was fated to be an Idita-Rider! In Seattle, Annette works as an executive at a software company and where she spends several days every March glued to her computer, and where she hopes, some day, she can be at Nome for the Iditarod’s finish

Gwen Bogart

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Rhonda Reich

Rhonda is from Colorado.

Scott Smith

Official Portrait 2008 Iditarod

Kelly Rickert

k. Rickert

Kelly Rickert is a teacher who has used the Iditarod for over ten years to motivate and engage learners. Each year her students create an in-class dog sled race where they solve problems, write narratives of their journey, and compete as teams.  This year she is excited to share her behind-the-scenes experiences as an IditaRider to improve her classroom projects and to show her students Alaska through videos and Google Hangout.

 

Zoya DeNure

Zoya for website

 Leanne Rottler

leanne

 

 

 

Although Leanne’s first love will always be the Internet business she created in ‘96 that served nonprofits and universities exclusively, it’s her second love that brought her to Anchorage.

In ‘07, life took a surprise turn, and she was forced to leave her business after complications from breast cancer treatment in ’05 left her with chronic pain.

Life had been turned upside down.

It was then Aldo, a 10 lb. white fluffy Bichon Frise came into her life. Initially his training was going to end at “puppy class,” but what started as a necessity soon became a passion. His enthusiasm when working was addictive.

Leanne says, “I wanted to improve for his sake. It didn’t matter if he wasn’t the fastest, or biggest, or if he was surrounded by dogs more suited to the activity. He would just set his eye on the jump, or put his nose to the scent, and off he would go.

He had heart and a quiet determination. I decided that was how I wanted to live out my cancer journey.”

Despite learning her disease had progressed to the incurable Stage IV three years ago, she continues to work with her current pack of three. You’ll find her either at the training club, mentoring a budding entrepreneur, reading, or trying not to kill backyard vegetables.

She believes watching dogs do what they were bred to do is a gift, and she’s thrilled to share Martin’s sled as he completes his 31st Iditarod.  

 Martin Buser

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Thomas Rottler

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Thomas was born in the south of Germany, close to the borders of Switzerland, Austria and France.  He enjoyed escaping the cold and traveling extensively for scuba diving, as well as playing saxophone and clarinet for the village orchestra.

He was sent to the States for the second time in 2001 because of his combined background in finance and computer science. As his work ended, he met his soon to be bride, Leanne, and they were wed in 2003.  (spot Leanne in Martin Buser’s sled!)

One year ago Thomas gratefully sold the company he and his wife had built together over the past 12 years to an equally grateful buyer. A unique and especially satisfying venture, they served large nonprofits and higher education exlusively.

With his new found free time, Thomas is kicking off his travels by leaving his 3 dogs behind and coming to Alaska to witness what he has only been able to see on TV, the Last Great Race on Earth.

 

Mitch Seavey

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Kevin Ryan

Kevin  IditaRider

Kevin Ryan, is the President/CEO of Covenant House International, flew up to Alaska all the way from New York City to meet 16 dogs who listen and obey, since Kevin says his own two dogs never do. Never. Rocky, a rescue dog from Tennessee, is half-beagle and half-collie. Kevin’s wife Clare brought Rocky home as a puppy four years ago after Kevin’s only request: “please don’t bring home a beagle; they bark a ton.”  Maisy, the Ryans’ second rescue dog, arrived two years ago as a puppy. She is half black-lab and, according to Kevin, “half cat” – she is aloof, “doesn’t seem to like me all that much and acts like she is the smartest kid in the room.”

When not being outmaneuvered by his dogs, Kevin oversees Covenant House’s work with 50,000 homeless youth each year in 27 cities and 6 countries. The father of three sons and three daughters, all of whom have visited Alaska with him, Kevin is an avid runner, having finished 2 marathons and 9 half marathons since 2010. He loves the Yankees, suffers with the Jets, and follows Big East college basketball. He is a best selling author and speaker and has appeared on every major national television news show including two guest appearances on 60 Minutes. But his favorite news show of all is Dave Stieran’s afternoon radio broadcast because Dave treats Kevin just like Rocky and Maisy do: Dave barks a lot, pretends he doesn’t like Kevin but secretly loves him. He just doesn’t know it yet. 

Kevin is honored to be here through representing GCI –GCI has been a strong supporter of Covenant House Alaska for over 25 years —

Cindy Gallea

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Vicki Sebastiani

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Vickie writes, “I live in both Sonoma, CA and Stinson Beach, CA and love the outdoors.  My career has been in the wine business and food business, with all businesses sold now.  I have 4 kids and 5 grandkids (so far!) and they all live very near me, which is incredibly delightful.  As for what brings me to the Iditarod,  I am an adventure addict and simply could not miss this opportunity.  I will be with a group of friends and 9 of the 22 of us on this Alaska trek will be participating as Riders.  My uncle was a big game guide, adventurer, and writer in Alaska (he wrote for outdoor magazines, plus several books about his Alaska adventures) and I’m sure it is in the family blood!”

 

Richie Diehl

Diehl_Ritchie_2014

Renee Schneider

Renee is from Arctic Paws.

Becca Moore

Becca Moore

 Alan Scoggins

Alan Scoggins ( LANCE MACKEY )

Alan Scoggins is from Kenai, AK and has been a fan of Iditarod and mushing since the 1980s.  Although Alan has never driven a dog team, he has long been fascinated by the sport.  Every year he becomes an Iditarod Insider so he can watch the GPS trackers and root for Lance.  He bid on Lance’s sled because Lance is his favorite musher.  He is thrilled to be riding with Team Ninja and the Comeback Kennel this year.  

 

 Lance Mackey

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 June Simpson

June is a successful business woman from Tampa, Florida who, with her husband started a new medical field industry which later sold to a Fortune 100 company.  She has since realized several fantasies including cameo appearances in two TV shows, a big screen movie, and on the Broadway stage.  She recently visited Jeff King’s dog training camp in Alaska, which resulted in another fantasy which she is now realizing with this ride in the Iditarod!

 

 Jeff King

King_Jeff_2014

Jane Snyder

Jane was born in Barrow, Alaska on March 5, 1947.  She married Ronald A. Snyder in 1973.  She is the mother to three children:  Rex, Debbie, and Russell.  She has four grand kids: Alexandria, Bethany, Savanna, and Roman.  She also has one great grand daughter.  Since 1973, she has lived in North Pole, Alaska.  Her parents were Benjamin and Olive (Patkotak) Nungasak.  She has five sisters, two brothers, and has lost two brothers.  Jane is a big hockeyfan for the Nanooks (UAF) and Fairbanks Ice Dogs.  She has been hit with a hockey puck five times, but she still loves to go watch hockey!  In her years of sewing, she has won many first places in parka contests at the WEIO (World Eskimo Indian Olympics) and North American Dog Sled races.  She has appeared in the movies Big Miracle and Travel Show.  For a few years she did some singing at the Native Musical in Anchorage.  She enjoyed singing in Eskimo Presbyterian group in her native language and many years at KJN Radio Station.

 John Baker

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 Donna Soracco

donna soracco ( J, MACKEY )

 

Donna says, “Last year my partner gave me my bucket list IditaRide. It was an amazing experience to be able to watch the world’s greatest athletes up close in action. I saw very little of the scenery as I could not stop watching the dogs. I admire the mushers’ dedication and love of the sport and their dogs. I was honored to ride with Nicolas Petit last year and Jason Mackey this year. Being an IditaRider is like eating potato chips–you can’t have just one! I wish every fan could have the opportunity to experience it.”

 

Jason Mackey

Mackey_Jason_2014 

 Carol Stedman

Carol Stedman 1

Carol explains her reason for bidding on the IditaRider adventure by saying, “Instead of watching the musher leave Anchorage, it is wonderful to ride along, and enjoy the party as you mush the 11 miles. You can watch the riders start out up close, then your turn comes and at the other end watch the rest arrive. The party only begins on 4th Avenue.”

 

 Paige Drobny

Drobny_Paige_2014

Paula Stevens

Paula Stevens ( STEVENS ) mom of musher

Paula Stevens has a unique relationship with her chosen musher… she is his mom!  She tells us, “I am a native Texan, and have lived in the Houston area for the last 35 years with my husband Mark.  I was a stay at home mom to our two children, Lindsey and Alan, and kept busy volunteering at their schools and our church.  Since they finished college and started their own lives, Mark and I spend a good part of the year traveling around the world.  We made our first trip to Alaska in 2012 on an Inside Passage cruise.  In 2013, Alan moved to Juneau to work on the Mendenhall Glacier for the summer.  What was supposed to be a seasonal job turned into a full time job as a handler for Martin Buser.  We visited in November of that year and were so impressed by the warm hospitality we encountered everywhere we went.   This past August our daughter moved to Anchorage, so now both of our kids are resident Alaskans.  Who would have ever guessed? We returned this past December and spent several days visiting Alan at Happy Trails Kennel, then back in Anchorage with Lindsey.  We also took the opportunity, while there, to finish outfitting ourselves to follow Alan along the Iditarod Trail.  I hope my recent visits to the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica have prepared me for the cold.  I can’t wait to be at the finish line in Nome to give Alan a big hug and say Congratulations!”

 

Alan Stevens

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Elisa Vanegas

riderEV

Elisa is 23 years old and is from Vacaville, California.  This is her first time in Alaska, but she has listened to her grandfather Jose Vanegas stories about his adventures for years.  Last year her Grandfather had the privilege of riding  with Danny Seavey for the start of 2014 Iditarod.  Her Alaskan family wanted to share what Alaska has to offer and gifted her with this once in a lifetime experience.

 

Tim Hunt

Tim Hunt 1-6-15 cropped

Simone Vannoy

Simone Vannoy (KEITH) photo

Simone currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband of 16 years, Neil Vannoy. She was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and raised outside of Denver, Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in entomology and worked as a wildlife biologist for many years. As a biologist she worked several months in the Amazon, spent several years working for The Nature Conservancy and started her own environmental consulting company. Several years ago Simone and Neil decided to start Neil’s dream career of Fee-Only financial planning so they could work together, have more freedom, and be able to take vacations together. The couple has a passion for travel and rarely spend an entire month at their downtown loft in San Antonio. 

Simone fell in love with Alaska while staying with Neil in Anchorage where he worked with service members at JBER helping them with their finances. They took a dog sled trip with the Dallas Seavey tour company and enjoyed all the Fur Rondy events. They have been huge fans of dog sledding and the Iditarod ever since. Being from Brazil, Simone is amazed at the stamina the mushers have to compete in the extreme winter conditions. Her next Alaska dream is to spend a year up North to experience 24 hours of light and 24 hours of dark, and to watch the Midnight Sun Game in Fairbanks.

Katherine Keith

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Jeanette Wakefield

Jeanette is from AAA Moving.

Allen Moore

Moore_Allen_2014

Barbara Watkins

Barbara Iditarider

Barbara Watkins is riding with her son in the Ceremonial Start!  Her ride was a gift from her family.

 

Steve Watkins, Jr.

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

Brittany Watson

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Brittany, from Josuha, Texas, is the BIGGEST animal lover around.  She has a habit of rescuing animals constantly!  Brittany is the mother of two girls, Charlie and Blake.  She is employed by C.A.R. Transport.  She is travelling to Alaska for this year’s race to cheer on her cousin, Erin Montgomery, the 2015 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™.

Christine Roalofs

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Hannah Weiss

hannah Weiss

Hannah Weiss lives in Grand Ledge, Michigan.  she tells us, “I’m currently on spring break from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, where I’m studying Economics and Psychology. I plan to attend graduate school next Fall to get my doctoral degree in behavioral economics and go into research and teaching. I was born in Anchorage, Alaska with my three brothers and I’m really excited to be back to see the Iditarod for the first time!”

Chuck Schaeffer

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race

 Nanette Wendel

nanette wendel

 

Nanette Wendel, 50, grew up in Skokie, IL and attended Regina Dominican High School. She went on to the University of Michigan where she majored in Anthropology and Zoology and then attended Northwestern University Medical School where she earned her MD degree and specialized in Surgery. She currently practices as a Breast Oncology Surgeon in the St. Louis area.

Besides medicine, Nanette’s passions are travel, photography and adventure. Having traveled to all 7 continents it used to be hard to answer the question “Where’s your favorite place?” That is until she visited Alaska; it’s the most beautiful place on earth. Now she visits several times a year and hopes to make Alaska her home in the future. 

“I have an incredible amount of respect for the mushers and the dogs, so having the opportunity to participate in the Iditarod, if only as a rider, is an amazing adventure and dream come true!”

 

Hugh Neff

Neff_Hugh_2014 

Emily Wheeler

Emily Wheeler is eleven years old and lives in New York City. Emily attends the Brearley School where she is in 5th grade. She owns one turtle and one dog and she loves animals of every kind. Emily has never been to Alaska and she is very excited to see Alaska’s beautiful geography and to see the famous Iditarod in action.

Linwood Fiedler

Fiedler_Linwood_2014

Jenny White

jenny white 1

Jenny lives in rural Kings Mountain, North Carolina with her husband Steve, her dog, and two cats.  She graduated from Appalachian State (BS) and Gardner Webb University (MS).  Jenny is currently a doctoral student at Gardner Webb and will receive her EdD later this year.  She is the principal at Southwest Elementary School in Hickory, NC, where she is anxious to share her IditaRider adventure with all of her students.  Jenny has visited Alaska five times where she enjoys exploring the state and fishing with her husband.  Rumor has it she usually claims to catch the biggest fish!

 

 Mats Pettersson

Pettersson

Kirby Winfield

Kirby is the winner of the Special Olympics of Washington auction.

Ray Redington, Jr.

Redington_Ray Jr

Diana Workmon

Diana Workmon (SASS ) and Quincy

 

Diana Workmon is a retired medical biller who now enjoys working part time as a dog trainer.  Diana heard a presentation by Aliy Zirkle in 2013 and became interested in long distance mushing.  After following the 2014 Yukon Quest and Iditarod, attending the start of the Iditarod was the next step.  Upon learning of the IditaRider program she quickly added it to her bucket list.  For her first IditaRider experience she was lucky to win her first choice sled and get to ride with Wild and Free Mushing!

 

 

Brent Sass

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 Jacalyn Wright

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Jackie is pleased and honored to have been chosen to represent Dexter Southfield School for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure trip to the Iditarod. A bit of a workaholic, Jackie, a 27-year veteran of the school, was encouraged by her husband and three adult children, as well as coworkers, to embrace the opportunity and leave the work back in Massachusetts?  While some work will remain at home, Jackie looks forward to the teachers’ conference and bringing a plethora of ideas back to her friends at school. She will share her adventures with everyone in the school community and beyond in a blog on the school’s website, and she is especially thrilled to be riding in the ceremonial start of the race with musher Philip Walters.

Philip Walters

Iditarod Rookie musher portrait 2015 race