Four Veteran Mushers Sign Up for 2023 as the Sign Up window comes to a close

Four Veteran Mushers Sign Up for 2023 as the Sign Up window comes to a close


The ITC is happy to announce the return of four veteran Iditarod mushers to the 2023 race.  Welcome Christian Turner, Deke Naaktgeboren, Jessie Royer and Pete Kaiser!


Christian Turner, from Mackay, Australia, began mushing in 2008 as one of only a handful of Australians who know what dog sled racing is. Christian has spent the last six years between the hemispheres. He works for the winter in Australia, then travels to Canada or Alaska to train dogs and compete.  In 2014, he ran the Seavey puppy team and came in 38th.  He raced again in 2015 coming in 15th place. This year he will be driving  Mitch Seavey’s dogs from Idida-ride Sled Dog Tours. 


Deke Naaktgeboren was born and raised in Pella, Iowa. Deke, an alumnus of Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, earned dual degrees in Business and Recreation. Before moving to Alaska, Deke lived in Florida where he was a park ranger in Everglades National Park. His dream has always been to live in Alaska and compete in the Iditarod. Deke currently resides in the Goldstream Valley of Fairbanks, Alaska. He spends most of his summer in the 40 Mile Country near Chicken, Alaska and works for the Bureau of Land Management. He began mushing in 2008 and has run a number of distance and mid-distance races since then. Deke ran The Iditarod in 2020 and 2022, finishing both times


Jessie Royer, 46, was born in Idaho. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana where she lived for 21 years. She won Montana’s Race to the Sky in 1993 when she was only 17, she moved to Alaska in 1998  and she was the winner of the invitational La Grande Odyssée in France in 2005. Jessie has run The Iditarod 19 times between 2000-2021, placing in the Top 10 eight times, with four of those being a Top 5 finish.  In her tenure she has also earned 10 special awards along the trail.


Peter Kaiser, 35, was born and raised in Bethel, Alaska. He graduated from Bethel High School in 2005 and is currently self-employed as the owner and operator of Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures. He says, “Our family has always had dogs, and I’ve been mushing since I was a kid. Watching the Kuskokwim 300 every January sparked my interest in long distance racing, and a few years ago I decided that I would give the Iditarod a try.” Pete has finished The Iditarod in the Top 10 seven times including a 1st place finish in 2019.


Today, November 30, 2022 at 11:59pm, is the deadline for Mushers to submit their applications for the 2023 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. All mushers that apply to compete in the Iditarod must first go through the qualifying review board before their entry is officially accepted for the Race.  Mushers may apply after November 30, 2022, but will be subjected to a higher entry fee.  No musher will be allowed to sign up after February 11, 2022.