Eye on the Jr: Meet the Mushers Pt. 2

The Jr. Iditarod starts on Saturday February 24th at 10:00 on Knik Lake right across the road from where Joe Redington’s old boat the Nomad sits.  You can follow the race through Eye on the Trail at Iditarod.com, at jriditarod.org or thru the Jr. Iditarod Facebook page.

Meet the Jr. Iditarod Mushers, a five part series, will feature a few mushers each day during the week prior to the Jr. Iditarod.  These kids are amazing! Five more rookies are featured in today’s post for a total of nine.  This rounds out the Jr. Iditarod rookie class of 2024. 

Jack Dixon was born into a mushing family, so has been mushing his entire life.  Stormy Ridge Kennel is a true family endeavor with every member of the family taking a roll.  All of the athletes on his team are dogs he’s help raise from birth.  This will be Jack’s first long distance race although he’s run shorter races like the North American Championships multiple times.  Jack, age 15, lives in Fairbanks and is a junior through Fairbanks BEST Homeschool.  He likes hockey and enjoys playing video games.  Post high-school, Jack plans to attend UAF and will continue mushing.  Recently, Jack finished thirteenth in the Willow Jr. 100 and was recognized for his perserverance.

Madeline Knolmayer has been around sled dogs and mushing all her life.  She started mushing at the age of two but this is the first year she has run dogs with the goal of racing. Madeline, age 17, is from Wasilla and is a junior at Palmer High School.  She enjoys skiing, running, guitar and writing.  After high-school she hopes to attend college to study film and creative writing as well as continue on the runners as a recreational musher.

AddieAnn Randall began mushing 6 years ago.  She had the chance to run Robert Bundtzen’s retired dogs and fell in love with the dogs and mushing.  A couple of years later, the family purchased their first sled dogs.  They established Rock on Racing Kennel where the dogs are affectionately called the Rock Stars.  At one time, the family lived off the road system  for 18 months and relied on their dogs as a mode of transportation between home and the road.  AddieAnn, age 14, lives in Willow  and is a home schooled freshman.  She enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, dog agility training, painting and drawing.  Her future goals are to become a veterinarian and a professional dog musher.  AddieAnn placed 6th in the Knik 100 and more recently finished the Jr. Willow 100 in third place.

Ylva-li Næss, from Norway, has been mushing since the age of one.  As a youngster she mushed with her father then at the age of 12, she began training her own team.  The family has 20 sled dogs, 10 or which are racing dogs.  Ylva-li, age 16, is excited about the opportunity to study in the United States as an exchange student.  Along with other races in Norway, she has participated in the Femundløpet and Finnmarskløpet Junior events.  As aa junior at Meeraker High School, Ylva-li enjoys running and strength training.  She would like to someday run the Iditarod.

Come back tomorrow to celebrate a few Iditarod Icons who have given generously of their time and talents to the Jr. Iditarod.