Meet the 2017 IditaRiders!

Our 2017 IditaRiders are ready to launch their ride of a lifetime as they take off down Fourth Avenue for the Ceremonial Start on March 4th. You can learn all about them here as you prepare to cheer them on as they hop into the sled behind a team of charging huskies! Keep checking back as we update our IditaRider Introductions!


 All About…

 Riding With…

Scott Adams


Scott tells us,  “I am 59 years old, a resident of Homer, AK for nearly 40 years. I drove across the country and up The Alaska Highway from Florida. I was looking for an adventure, and Alaska delivered. I spent more than 30 years commercial fishing for halibut, salmon, cod, snow and king crab. It was an exciting and sometimes fearful job. I also spent time working on tug boats, oil supply and salvage vessels. Taking me to many interesting places around Alaska, from Cook Inlet to the North Slope to the small villages on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. To places rich in history like Nome, life on the water has been an adventure. I have always tried to make as many Iditarod starts as I could, the crowds, the dogs, the mushers, and the history! I have always dreamed about running the Iditarod, but haven’t yet.  So riding as an IditaRider is the next best thing and most definitely a bucket list item. I would like to thank Jeanne, Jonathan, Justin and Tina for a Dream Ride!!”

 Jeff King

Andrea Nasuayaaq Ahyakak



Nasuk is the daughter of the late David and Regina Kippi, she was born and raised in Barrow. She is married to Eddie Ahyakak and a mother of three children. She has worked for ASRC for the past 16 years and is currently the Manager of Village Programs. She spends her free time making traditional parkas and clothing. A traditional skill she was taught from her late mother Regina who was a well-known seamstress.

John Baker

Ruth Albano


Ruth tells us, “So, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I am a 50 something nurse currently doing a travel assignment in Alaska. I realized I would be here for the Iditarod and thought what fun!! My home is Gardner, CO, a very small town, where I live with my husband, three dogs, eight cats, and ten chickens on 70 acres. My husband is a deputy sheriff for Huerfano County and is currently living on pizza while I am gone. I was born in Minnesota, but have spent most of my life in Colorado I have two grown daughters, one lives in Aurora, CO with her boyfirend and the other is married with two boys and lives in Rio Rancho, NM. My grandsons are the light of my life…’love you gamma’ are the best words in the world. Can’t wait to leave them the legacy that Grandma rode in the Iditarod!”

Geir Idar Hjelvik



Riding in the sled with Ryan Redington is 10-year-old Make-A-Wish kid Annika. This youngster, battling a brain tumor, has traveled from Wisconsin to experience her wish to be a part of the Last Great Race.

Annika has an Alaska Malamute named Lucky. She first became interested in the Iditarod when studying famous sled dog Balto. Since then, she’s been dreaming about spending time with a whole bunch of huskies in Alaska. Thanks to Make-A-Wish and ExxonMobil, this Iditarod experience is happening…today!

 Ryan Redington

Gina Archer


Gina tells us, “I am a wife, mother, registered nurse, chief domestic officer, activities director, head cook and laundress. I am an avid reader, game hunter, and firearms enthusiast of all actions and calibers.. I enjoy sewing sewing quilts and small projects,  spending time at our remote cabin, travel of all types around the world, wearing expensive shoes, and naps on the couch with my dog whenever possible. I occasionally even get to nap with my husband. I enjoy finding activities that we can do together, such as going to the rifle range, a car rally (his hobby), and signing up for the IditaRider!

This is my first trip to Alaska, but hopefully not my last.  Being able to come experience the ceremonial start of the Iditarod is an over the top bonus to finally seeing the majestic landscape in person.  The IditaRider experience is a once in a life-time chance to enjoy the race to the fullest as a spectator.”

 Dallas Seavey

Tim Archer



Tim says, “Been to Iditarod once before, wanted to enjoy race again as an IditaRider too. RetiredUSN/USMC physician working in Longview TX as ER doc. Love to travel, share memories with my wife. Live on the lake, enjoy hunting, driving exotic cars, drinking fine wine. Admire the determination, stamina and mental toughness of the mushers. Love the dogs and their eagerness to run. Enjoy the beauty of the ‘last frontier.'”

 Dave Delcourt

Audrey LaVergne Arends


Audrey tells us,  “I am the oldest grandchild of Steven and Cheryl Hall (and the fifth to get that silly middle name – long story).  I am 26 years old and reside in Virginia near my mother.  I am very excited to get this once in a lifetime opportunity to ride in the ceremonial start of the Iditarod.  Thank you Papa & Nana!  I hope our dog team and my musher come in first or at least all healthy!  My grandparents are a true testament (at 71 years old) as to why traveling the world and exploring all it has to offer for me.”

 Anna Berington

Wendy Love Barnard





Wendy says, “I am a native New Yorker who enjoyed a diverse career in marketing research and site selection in the apparel manufacturing and retail field.

I ventured to Los Angeles seven years ago when my son Lance went off to study at SMU in Dallas.  He now is an entrepreneur in Salt Lake City. Warm California climate allows me to participate in lots of outdoor activities and travel.  I am now happily ensconced in my new home in Sherman Oaks with my beloved dog, Cosmo, a Cavapoo.  I am also blessed to have all my New York relatives relatively close having migrated to various cities in California.

I currently apply my focus and skill set to a new endeavor–volunteering full-time for the Los Angles Mayor’s Crisis Response Team as a Supervisor, On-Call Manager, Responder and Bureau Leader, in addition to serving on the Van Nuys Community Police Advisory Board.”

Thomas Rosenbloom



Sheryl Beal


Sheryl tells us, “I am from Oregon where I was born and raised.  I live in the small town of Scotts Mills with my husband, 4 horses, 3 cats and 2 dogs. I’ve always been a fan of the Iditarod but became “hooked” on being at the start when I went to Anchorage with my husband on a business trip. We extended our stay so we could watch the start.  That was in 2012 and since then, I have attended every year except 2013. I am a BIG fan of Brent Sass and Wild and Free Mushing. Brent’s ‘Attitude is Everything’ and sportsmanship is an inspiration!”

Ed Steilstra

Cindy Brant


Cindy tells us, “I am thankful that God provided me with the opportunity to transfer to Ketchikan, Alaska from Missouri in June 2016.  This fulfills a lifelong dream of coming to Alaska.  Being able to experience the thrill, excitement and rush of the legendary Iditarod will allow me to cross a top adventure off my bucket list.

I love all things outdoors. Fishing, hiking, animals, gardening and just exploring this beautiful land I love. When inside out of the rain you will find me sewing, crafting and baking.

On a personal note, I have had the privilege of making a difference in the lives of others. From Veterans, elderly, children and orphans by being a daughter, sister, mom, grandma, auntie and friend.

As my sister would say, ‘I am soooo looking forward getting some dog slobber on me”… lol…'”

Ryan Anderson

Joann Bridwell


Joann tell us, “What a dream come true!  I have lived in Alaska most of my life and have been able to experience a lot of what Alaska has to offer, but this tops it all!! Thank you Matson for this wonderful opportunity!!

I am a small business owner, met my husband in Alaska, and we have 3 wonderful daughters.  I have been fortunate to have a group of friends that have toys….it has afforded me the opportunity to fly, boat, fish, hunt, hike and kayak throughout Alaska.   

I have been a hairdresser for over 30 years and my husband has worked at Spenard Builders Supply for over 30 years.   Throughout those years we have met a lot of wonderful friends, who we consider our Alaska family.

I am so excited and have invited all of my family to come and watch me head down the trail in a dog sled!”

 Paul Gebhardt

Wendy Brott


Wendy tells us, “I want to slip into the last frontier for the first time, and enlarge my perception of the vast stretches of land and raw beauty called Alaska.  I was an art educator for 20 years, 19 at Lake Center Christian School in Hartville, Ohio, before retiring this year.    I still love to work with kids, and help them find and express ideas through art.  For the past few years I’ve run an art camp at Tamassee DAR School in Tamassee, South Carolina.  My wonderful husband of 36 years, Dale Brott, purchased the Iditarod auction as a gift for me! I have three married daughters, Kate, Elizabeth and Alexandra and three delightful sons-in law.  One of my favorite things is adventuring with my two grandchildren, Wesley (age 6) and Penny (age 2) and making art with them to hang on the refrigerator.  I also love coffee.”

 Martin Buser

Cindy Campbell



Cindy was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada and grew up on the east coast of Canada. After spending time in  Boston she moved with her husband (Scott ) to Florida where she continued to work in psychiatry. During her thirteen years in Sarasota, FL she completed her Doctorate in Psychiatric Nursing, and played in the sun and surf. In 2005, looking for a new adventure, she jumped at an opportunity to work in Alaska. She continues to love her work and spends her time thriving in Alaska’s great outdoors (hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, etc.) with Scott, her dog Jackson (Australian Shepherd), and her friends. She is in Alaska to stay and loves the Iditarod.

 Zoya DeNure

Will Cassin


IditaRider Will Cassin, of Uvalde, Texas, will be riding with musher Rick Casillo. Will stays busy as a volunteer fireman, home builder and cattle rancher.  As the father of 3, he also stays busy with his family. They all love ranching and deer hunting.

Last year Will rode with Lance Mackey.

Rick Casillo

Tammy Caison



Tammy tells us, “The adventure!  I love dogs and the outdoors so this is a perfect combination.  Additionally, It’s great to be able to take my title of Mrs. Western Hemisphere ( to Alaska.  I’ll be competing for the Mrs. Earth title in June and the Iditarod is definitely a highlight of the western hemisphere.  My whole family has visited Alaska too many times to count and the ride is one more fantastic event to add to the list of Alaska adventures.  In face, my daughter is also a 2017 Iditarider!”

Robert Redington

Corey Cleek



Corey Cleek, husband to wife, Sally, and father to son Drew, was born and raised in Tennessee.  Corey is CEO of Uloop, Inc.,Executive Chairman of FASHIONABLE, Inc., and Marketing Professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Corey has spent the past 20 years working at Online Media and E-Commerce companies including eBay, CitySearch, and  Corey is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.  One of Corey’s hobbies is attending major sporting events, and the Iditarod is one that he has had on his list to attend for many years.

Joe Carson

 Ann Marie Cox



Ms. Cox tells us, “Since 2000, I have worked for a private software company and have helped grow the company into an international leader in Project Management Software.   Currently, I work with international customers in the field of Project Controls/Project Management consulting on large Engineering and Construction projects.  

In 1994, I fell in love with Alaska when I was sent to the Seward Peninsula on a work assignment for eight months.  In 2014, I returned for another work assignment, this time in Anchorage.  2015 was my first Iditarod and I fell in love with the drama, intrigue and romance.   2016 was my first experience as an Iditairider and loved it.  This year I am completing a bucket list item of seeing the Iditarod Start and Finish in the same year.  

For me, the Iditarod emphasizes the entre quirky, fun, friendly, and educational Alaskan experience.  

Fun little known fact:  At 17, I performed a birdcall on the Tonight Show (Johnny Carson).”   

 Kristy Berington

Dianne Cox


Dianne tells us, “I’m so excited to be there this week from California with my husband Matt to experience Iditarod! 

Matt’s company, Matson, is headquartered in Hawaii, so between California and Hawaii, we’ve seen some beautiful sights, but nothing compares to the beauty of Alaska. This is a special place, and we feel privileged to be able to celebrate the Iditarod and these phenomenal athletes with all of you.

I’ve never been on a sled before and am thrilled to have this chance to see Iditarod teams up close. Matson sponsors SP Kennel, so please join with us in cheering Aliy to victory this ear! Lead On Aliy!”

Aliy Zirkle

Hannah Crutcher


Katherine Keith

Kathleen Cudahy



Kathleen hails from Wisconsin but has lived in NYC since 1972. She is an advisor to real estate developers and builders in Manhattan trying to navigate government regulations (yeah, she reads building codes).  She has never been to Alaska and thought she was going to Paris. But an afternoon of dog-sledding in Quebec – and her husband, Gabriel Samuels – changed her mind! Looking forward to meeting Nicholas (from Paris!), his dogs (Kathleen has 2 grand dogs– dachshunds who don’t like the snow!) and seeing the Northern Lights!

Nicolas Vanier

Charles Dumbaugh



Charles Dumbaugh tells us, “I was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1938 and moved to Boston after graduating from Denison University. I began my career as a computer programmer at a time that no one knew whatt a computer or a program or a programmer was. I was transferred to Nurmberg, Germany to install a computer system in the US Exchange System. My office was in the same building where they held the war trials. It was then that i met my present wife. After two years we returned to the US. Since then, my wife earned a Masters Degree from Case University in Cleveland and two masters and aPhd from Harvard. We have two sons that we adopted from Columbia who are both college graduates. I have been the business of rehabilitating Town Houses in downtown Boston. I have been an IditaRider before in previous years.”

Gunnar Johnson





Elena is a fourth-grader of St. Angela Merici School from New Orleans, Louisiana. She grew up with dogs and is a proud master of her Corgi named Jules and Hovawart named Argus. She can’t wait to be trained to volunteer at the Louisiana SPCA this spring.

Elena is fluent in Hungarian, plays the violin, runs cross country, rides horses, enjoys the outdoors and mystery stories. She likes Hungarian and Louisiana food and sushi.

Elena has to travel to enjoy her favorite season, WINTER. No wonder her favorite desserts are Italian gelato and New Orleans snowball. This is her first time in Alaska but sure not the last one. She is thrilled to ride with first-ever Hungarian Iditarod musher Otto Balogh.

 Otto Balogh



Eric is an eighth grader (age 14) and a prodigy in computer science.  He has attended computer programming continuing education courses at the University of New Orleans and Stanford University.  His interests lie in the areas of bioengineering and aeronautical engineering.  For most kids his age, the “Terminator” is a sci fi movie, but for Eric, it is the newly developed bionic arm capable of digital precision and sensory feeling with a nerve implant`.  He served as the pilot of the simulated space journey and landing at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama and plans to return for more advanced space technology camp experiences.  Eric is working towards certification in Scuba diving and owns his own respirator and snorkel equipment.  His newest interest is becoming a FAA drone pilot with his Inspire 2.  He has a love of dogs and is the proud co-owner of a brindle boxer named Radon, who abounds with energy.    Eric also has a profound interest in toxicology and named his dog, Radon, after his knowledge of radioisotopes.   This is his second vacation in Alaska where zip lining, canoeing, white water rafting, and a helicopter ride to the Punchbowl Glacier have led him to return to learn to snow ski and become an Iditarider.  

 Ken Anderson

 Barbara Grogg



Barbara is a family nurse practitioner whose passion is working with the underserved both in the US and abroad.  Her life journey has led her from teaching 8th grade Earth Science to becoming a radiation biologist, to making biology interesting for non-biology majors at the college level, to owning a travel agency for 10 years, to having a stained glass retail store for 8 years, to managing a horse boarding/cattle breading ranchette, to managing her husband’s pediatric medical practice, all the while raising a family of boys.  Now, having re-treaded and turned in the routine medical practice hat, she and her husband lead medical teams to Uganda, Nicaragua, India, Vietnam, and Mexico in partnership with organizations in those locations.  Her hobbies are gardening (she is a Master Gardner), cooking, reading and traveling – and her 5 grandchildren.

 Justin Stielstra

Stan Grogg



Stanley E. Grogg, DO, FACOP, FAAP, earned his Doctor of Osteopathy from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Grogg completed his pediatric residency at Oklahoma State University Medical Center. He was certified in pediatrics by the American Osteopathic Board of Pediatrics in 1978, and was awarded a Travel Medicine Certificate by the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) in 2003. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians.

Dr. Grogg is a Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the Oklahoma State University-Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS). He was the acting Provost, President and Dean for 22 months of his career as a Professor of Pediatrics.

Stan has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association’s Physician of the Year, the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians Pediatrician of the Year, Tulsa Osteopathic Medical Society, Osteopathic Community Service Award, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Special Achievement Award and most recently the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Alumnus of the Year

Stan’s two hobbies are traveling and medical mission trips. He is a member of the Traveler’s Century Club having visited all continents and 170 countries and provinces. Last year he led mission teams to Uganda, India, Vietnam, Tulum, Mexico and Nicaragua.

Mark Selland

Sharyn Gunter


Sharyn tells us, “I experienced the Iditarod ceremonial start in 2009 while on a Skytrekking Alaska tour.  One of my fellow trekkers’ name was drawn from a hat, and he became the IditaRider.  Since then I knew I had to be one.  My first ride was in 2010 with 18-year-old rookie Quinn Iten.   I left candy bars for him at every checkpoint I visited.  In 2013 I rode with Sonny Lindner, 63 years old.   In 2016 I rode with Hugh Neff but it was a very short ride, maybe four miles due to lack of snow.   

I was a civilian employee for the LAPD for 37 years and have been retired since 2001.  Since My first Iditarod I’ve only missed one year of attending the start, finish or both.  Who woulda thought I’d become a groupie at this age.”

 Jodi Bailey



Hannah says, “I am 13 years old and attending Saint Simon Parish School. I run track and cross country, and love to tap dance. I love to take care of animals, and in the future I would love to have a job that helps animals. I am thrilled to go dog sledding, and to pet so many dogs!”

 Scott Smith

Bryan Knight



Bryan Knight is a 36 year old Special Olympics Alaska Athlete that has competed for 26 years in a variety of Sports. As an athlete, Bryan has competed in Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Golf, Gymnastics, Floor Hockey, Speed Skating, and Alpine Skiing. In 2013, Bryan was a member of the alpine skiing team for the Special Olympics USA team that competed in the 2013 World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. In addition to competing in sports, Bryan is a part of the Special Olympics Alaska Unified FitClub.

Aside from Special Olympics Alaska, Bryan has served as a board member on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, has spoken at the national convention for Down Syndrome Congress, and has worked at Value Village in South Anchorage for over 15 years.

When Bryan is not competing in sports or working he enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, and being with friends and family.

 Paul Hansen

 Bill Hartman


Bill tells us, “My first experience on what is now my home planet was near Roswell, NM early July 1947. My primary mission has been to determine the suitability of the 3rd planet to support our life requirements so that we could continue to expand our population throughout the universe. I’m not permitted to go into details, but, suffice it to say, you are not alone. We have many outstanding participants in the sporting world. We are looking to dominate the Iditarod within 5 years.”

 Trent Herbst

Kristine Horst


Peter Reuter



Julia is a seventh grader (age 12) at Country Day School in Metairie, Louisiana where she plays soccer and volleyball while maintaining excellence in her studies.  She has a love of dogs and owns a German Shepherd named Duke and a French Bulldog named Boss.  This is her second extended vacation in Alaska and will be adding snow skiing and Iditariding to her previous zip lining, canoeing, and white water rafting Alaska experiences.   Julia aspires to become an attorney some day and follow in her father’s footsteps.  Her next venture will be scuba diving which will complement her spirit of adventure and love of the outdoors.  Her vivacious personality is contagious and allows her to enjoy meeting new people, explore new environments, and learn about our beautiful United States.

 Ramey Smith




Thirteen year old Kaya tells us, “I am in middle school and the school I go to is Mattson. I have no siblings but I have one dog he’s a Weimaraner and his name is Turk and he loves to run. I do a lot of sports they are swimming; I have been swimming since I was 3. I golf with my mom and dad during the summer time. I ski. I love skiing with my family and friends. I dance. I’m on my school’s dance team and we are preparing for our competitions. I do synchronized swimming. I have been doing that for 3 years I have also had a solo before. When my mom goes running with my dog, I like to go on my bike with them. I love to spend my time outdoors on my trampoline. I love to go shopping with my friends, mom and dad I also love clothing and fashion. That’s a little bit about me.”


Misha Wiljes

G.L. Keane



GL Keane was an avid downhill and crosscountry skier and Ski Patroller at Lake Tahoe.  He has a degree in Transportation & Distribution Management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  He was a Traffic & Transportation Analyst at United Technology and a Marketing Manager for Southern Pacific Railroad.

GL lives in Colorado and spends most of his time fly fishing.  He fishes in Alaska 3 times a year.  He has met Lance Mackey.  Last summer he was able to meet Tom Jamgochian from Nome who mushed in the 2016 Iditarod.  

GL has been interested in Alaska life and learning more about the Iditarod Races and mushers.  He has read books about the Iditarod and mushers.  He is very excited to be and IditaRider with Hans Gatt and is looking forward to experiencing the sled ride.  

 Hans Gatt

 Annie Kelley



Annie Kelley, a 4 th  grade teacher at Saint Andrew School in Chicago, IL, is the 2017 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™. Annie is excited to be part of the ceremonial start and to be riding with Ed Stielstra. Annie has used the Iditarod for the last eight years in her classroom, and has had a few mushers come in and meet with her students. Besides teaching, Annie also enjoys running, hiking, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs!

 Thomas Knolmayer

Sean Kelly



Sean tells us, “I’m originally from Snohomish, WA.  I attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1992- making me a classmate of Aliy Zirkle.  I’ve been a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch since 1993 and reside in Richmond Beach with my wife Lisa and three kids.  Dogsledding has fascinated me for as long as I can remember.  I’d like to thank the organizers of this year’s event and those who donated the package that made my involvement possible.”

 Roger Lee

Sarah Kimbell



Sarah says, “It is an awesome experience and great way of meeting & spending time with the musher.  This will be my 4th ride.. Each one has been a fun ride and one I will not forget.”

Charley Bejna

Pat Koch



Pat Koch hails from Huron, Ohio and has been a long time follower of the Iditarod Race.  As a retired school teacher, she now spends her time traveling, gardening, and volunteering with Meals on Wheels.  She and her Labrador Retriever, Bailey, are a welcome sight to the senior citizens whom she serves.  Pat became an IditaRider because she wants to support the race.  Being friends with Matthew Failor, who is also from Ohio, she loves dogs especially QuickDraw McGraw whom we boost and who may be running as part of Matthew’s team.  Having been in Anchorage in 2015, she wanted to return and be part of “The Last Great Race on Earth”.  Pat is proud to be a member of the 17th-Dog.

Matthew Failor

Erin Korn


Nicolas Petit

Nancy Livingston



Nancy says, “Hello 2017 IditaRiders from a 17 year veteran Rider!!!  Undoubtedly, every  single year has been a very, very special thrill, and remains annually on my bucket list as long as old age allows me to  gracefully slip in and out of  the sled!!!   My husband, Roy, and I are Life Members of ITC, and have been annual Volunteers since 2001;   Roy was also Rider for 6 of those years.  My “start” with Iditarod began in 2001 when I brought Intern Teachers from San Diego State University to the  Winter Teacher Education Conference….by 2008 SDSU  had  sent 28 Intern Teachers to this excellent workshop where they received both university course credit and professional development units.   I served as their Faulty Adviser until retiring in 2008 as Emeritus Faculty from the Division of Teacher Education.   I have been an IditaRider with Alaskan and Norwegian mushers:   Dan Giovanni, Lynda Plettner, Mike Williams, Rick Swensen, Robert Nelson, Robert Sorlie, Bjornar Andersen, Ketil Reitan, Sigrid Ekran, and Joar Leifseth Ulsom.   You will meet, and love, some very special Iditarod dogs from the teams of many different mushers….my special favorite…no question about it…..Larry “Mackey”…..Lance Mackey’s legendary Leader.     Looking forward to meeting you at the IditaRider Meeting to tell tales and give advise about your Ride!!”

 Joar Leifseth Ulsom

Fran Lockwood



This is Frances’ 11th ride… each year with a different musher. Frances was born and raised on a farm in northeastern Indiana. She received a BS and MA in elementary and special education at Ball State University. Frances taught public education for 30 years in Marion, Indiana.

She is married to Ray Lockwood and will be celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary, March 6, 2017 while here at the Iditarod. She is mother to two children and grandmother to 4 grandsons and two granddaughters, ages 12-21. Frances loves watching the grandchildren in their athletic and musical events.

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

Monica Zappa



Madeline tells us, “I am a 15 year old sophomore and I currently attend Presentation High School in San Jose, California. I like to play softball and run cross country but I can not imagine running 1,000 miles at once like the dogs do! I am excited to come to Alaska and meet my musher and the dogs! Go Melissa!”

Melissa Stewart

Marileen Marcus


Mark May

Marty Margeson



An Alaskan resident since 1975, Marty has wanted to add Iditarod experience to her Alaskan adventures, which include raising two talented daughters, Beth and Annie. For decades, as a single mom, she has anticipated this thrilling opportunity to participate as a rider and support this Last Great Alaskan Sled Dog Race.

A former college educator, realtor, and entrepreneur, she owns and operates Anchorage Downtown Bed and Breakfast at “Raspberry Meadows.”

Currently, a Sister City Commissioner for Whitby, Marty is multi-degreed and multilingual and promotes international understanding and cooperation. She travels with her daughters internationally or nationally, sometimes as a tourist and often for her daughters’ Irish dance competitions.

Politically involved and an environmentalist, Marty feels privileged to live in Alaska and works to preserve our state and combat the global warming and pollution which endangers our wildlife and beautiful wilderness.

Marty was conceived in Freeport, Maine, born in Freeport, Illinois, and now is anchored to Anchorage.

Keitel Reitan

Margaret Murphy


Al Eischens

Gerald Miller



Gerry tells us, “My wife and two adult children and I were Iditariders in 2016.  My daughter met her husband to be Noah Burmeister and we are back to experience an even more exciting Iditarod.”

Cody Strathe

Jody Miller





Jody tells us, “After the thrill of being and IditaRider for the first time in 2016 the idea of repeating that whole experience had to happen in 2017!”

Linwood Fiedler

Natalie Miller



Natalie tells us,   “I am a Speech-Language Pathologist in Fairbanks, AK.  I am very excited to be an IditaRider this year because my musher is also my fiancé, Noah Burmeister!  The Iditarod holds a special place in my heart because that is where I met Noah.  I am very proud and honored to experience the ceremonial start with him.”

Noah Burmeister

Abby Minkiewitz



Abby tells us, “It’s been a dream of mine to be physically involved in the Iditarod.  Also to feel the excitement of the mushers, dogs and spectators.  

I used to work at a school in Snoqualamie Valley, WA.  For nine years I taught grade school children about the Last Great Race.  I would look forward to teaching the aspects of the race:  math, weather, humanity, AK traditions, mushers and tracking.  My sister would overnight the newspaper musher profiles and other articles to us.  

I am now and Alaskan resident and will be experiencing my first Iditarod as a rider!”

Justin High

Callie Monfrey



Callie tells us, “My name’s Callie Monfrey, I’m 24 and have been working at Matson for 10 lovely months.

I feel my short time working here only makes this opportunity more magnificent as it is proclaimed around the office to be a once-in-a-lifetime, unparalleled and majestic experience by those who have had their luck drawn on before. I’m born and raised in Alaska and thus, have many fond Iditarod-related memories – but this one is sure to top them all! I love my home, I love the Iditarod, I love dogs and I love my job for facilitating this opportunity by sponsoring what is irrefutably one of the most hardcore Alaskan festivities of all time.

I want to say thank you to Matson for making it possible and to the musher and team who are sharing a moment with me that I will never forget!”

 Ray Redington, Jr.

Jeff Murray



Jeff was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  He has been a practicing gastroenterologist for 30 years with Sanford Health.  This is his first time as an IditaRider.  He loves the outdoors especially fishing and hunting.  He and his wife, Mary Jo, have three sons and five grandchildren.  He would like to give special thanks to Lee Larsen for this once in a lifetime opportunity and is absolutely thrilled to be an IditaRider with Cindy Abbott!

Cindy Abbott

Beverly Nelms


DeeDee Jonrowe

Jean Neshek-Dowe


Jean tells us, “I’m originally from the northern suburbs of Chicago. I’ve lived and worked for the past thirty two years in St. Louis, MO as a Registered Nurse.  I’m retired from nursing and work as an auditory screener for the Special School District of St. Louis County.  My family and I have followed the Iditarod for the past four years, and dreamed to see the race in person.  We’re supporters of Matthew Failor’s 17th Dog Team, and a sponsor of one of his dogs, Iron Maiden.  Maiden will hopefully run in this years’ race as a rookie. We learned about Matt and 17th Dog from my late college friend, Mary Hofbauer-Kutney.  She and her husband Ken were/are great supporters and sponsors of Matt’s team.

Fun fact – I first learned about the race from a family friend who’s related to Libby Riddles, the well know musher and Iditarod winner.”

Michael Baker

Jaci Owen



Jaci tells us, “I moved to Seattle, Washington with my husband a year and a half ago from Chicago.  We very much love all the outdoor activities Washington has to offer!  We’ve lived in eight (8) states, and Washington won’t be our last.

Fun Facts:  I went Skydiving with our son when we moved here, I didn’t know it was on my “Bucket List”, but my son told me it was!

I worked for a Video Game Developer in Chicago (High Voltage Software) … Love and miss my Job!

I’m so very excited to be an IditaRider, talk about a once in a lifetime experience and a memory I will Always treasure!!!  I appreciate this opportunity to ride and be apart of this continuing tradition!”

 Allen Moore

JoAnne Piccione


 JoAnne tells us, “I grew up in Buffalo, NY, the oldest of 7 children. My high school sweetheart, Dennis, and I have been married 49 years. We spent the first 2 years living in Germany while he was in the Army.  I retired after 38 wonderful years teaching in special and elementary education. We became seasonal residents of The Villages, Florida where we are enjoying the lifestyle. We have 2 children, Tracy and Damon and 5 grandchildren, Vincent, Cassandra, Vanessa, Mia and Sammy. While teaching, I came across the Iditarod Race and thought it would make a great teaching unit. It was a favorite for many years. In 2010 during a trip to Alaska, we met Lance Mackey, visited the Iditarod Headquarters and kennels of the late Susan Butcher. We saw a demonstration of dogs pulling a sled and I was so full of emotion, tears were running down my face. It was then I decided I wanted to attend the Iditarod and be an IditaRider. This is a birthday gift to celebrate 70 years young.”

 Sebastien Vergnaud

Hannah C. Pedersen



Hannah tells us, “I was born in Montana to Danish parents and raised in Anchorage, Alaska from the age of 5, along with my brother, Eric.  I grew up playing ice hockey and left Alaska when I joined the Army in 1998.  Once I finished my time in the military, I went to Washington State University and graduated with my Doctoral degree in Organizational Communication in 2014.  I currently reside in Washington State and work for the Army as a civilian but am looking to find a way to move back home to Alaska.  I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be an IditaRider by my brother (Thanks Eric!) and am thrilled to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

 Peter Kaiser




Ms. Quinn Noëllange McNally, 12, is an ice hockey goalie in Harlem in New York City, a student in the 6th grade at The Spence School in Manhattan, and since before she could walk a veteran of many Ellamar, Loonsong, Kenai, McCarthy and other expeditions in Alaska, where her dad Eddie McNally served as the DA in Anchorage during the first half of the 90s.  And where her mom Monique worked on a longline boat out of Homer.  Quinn’s a singer and pianist who performs musical theatre in NY, skis and competes in cross country and track, and a Girl Scout and 4-H member who helps raise sheep on a family farm in upstate NY.  Her love of animals, snow, racing and Alaska all add up to Iditarod magic.  And she looks forward to meeting musher Kristin Bacon.  And to seeing Aunts Juanita and Clay, and Uncles Mead, Chris and Jack!

 Kristin Bacon

Cyndy Rastovski



Cyndy tells us, “I was born, raised and lived most of my life in Indiana.  I fell in love with huskies when my husband and I took in a stray in 1988.  We named her Tishka.  We added two more huskies, Bosco & Mytuk, over the next couple of years to keep our aging black lab, Bear, company.  After adding Koda to the pack, I bought harnesses, a used dog sled and research books.  That gave me my start in recreational dog sledding, a hobby I have loved ever since.  For nearly 30 years, I have enjoyed the companionship of additional huskies Alvin, Snowball and Blaze.  And to think it all started with a stray husky who adopted us.  I live in Demotte, IN with my husband, Don, and our huskies, Tundra and Star.  Having followed the Last Great Race on Earth for many years, I’m thrilled to be at my first Iditarod and riding in Laura’s sled.”


Laura Neese

Lauren Rick



Lauren is very excited to ride along with the dogs in Alaska – dogs truly are her life.  She is the owner of Bone-A-Fide Dog Ranch, a 5-acre dog boarding and daycare facility near Seattle, WA. Prior to buying Bone-A-Fide in 2009, Lauren spent 5 years as a dog walker in Manhattan. Lauren supports many dog-related nonprofits and currently serves on the Snohomish County Animal Advisory Board. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys photography and spending time with her husband Randy and their dogs Butters and Lennon.

 Seth Barnes

Lee Anne Rioux


Lee Anne tells us, “I live in a northwestern suburb of Chicago, IL.  This is my third time being an IditaRider and my second time riding with Hugh Neff.  I have been a fan of the Iditarod for the past 17 years and a teacher for the past 25 years.  I have two stepchildren ages 27 and 25 and one granddaughter who is 15 months old!  My husband and I also own our own business that keeps us busy seven days a week.  I am looking forward to experiencing this ride of a lifetime for the third time!”

 Hugh Neff

Gabriel Samuels

Gabe is a former market researcher and an advertising executive. He mushed in Quebec last year and was instantly hooked on the experience. A New Yorker and a first time visitor to Alaska, he looks forward to enjoying the Alaskan winter in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Nome and riding in the Iditarod. He is so excited about taking part in the legendary Iditarod that he convinced his wife, Kathleen Cudahy, to join him and actually bid on her own ride. They chose their mushers based on their stories which obviously, appealed. Can’t wait to meet them and cheer them on their awesome trek to Nome.

Karin Hendrickson

Rita Skipper

Rita tells us, “I am from Ward Arkansas. I have been a registered nurse for almost 32 years. My first Iditarod was in 2005. I volunteered to be a handler at the Ceremonial Start and I have been a fan ever since then. I had the honor of being an Iditarider in 2012 and 2014 with Karen Ramstead. I look forward to being an Iditarider again this year with Mitch Seavey.”

Mitch Seavey

Molly Smith



Molly tells us, “Working with Jessie for the past couple of years, I have had the chance to get to know her and learn about the Iditarod.. I am excited for the chance to participate as an IditaRider with her and show support for this year’s race.”

Jessie Royer

Donna Soracco



I am a “well seasoned” Registered Nurse of 40 years who finds nothing more relaxing, especially after work, than being around animals. I am fortunate to come home each night to cats, dogs and a bird. I grew up in northern California and was an avid follower of professional sports. When I moved to Alaska that love was quickly replaced by an addiction to the Iditarod and an extreme appreciation of the athleticism and dedication of sled dogs and their mushers. Watching these amazing dogs and photographing them from a sled is an unforgettable experience and I will be looking forward to another opportunity to do this with my very special musher.

Jason Mackey

Carol Stedman



Carol tells us, “This is my fifth time as a rider and I look forward to it more each year.  It is a backstage pass for Race day.  The stars of the race are ready to run, but will make time to be petted. Once the harnesses appear the show begins.  They have the musher well trained and off they go to their cheering fans.  You have a front row seat for the whole show.  It is easy to see why mushers choose this lifestyle.”

Mats Pettersson

Karen Taggart



Karen tells us, “I recently retired after working in the computer software world.  During 2010-2013 I lived in Anchorage and was active in the events there.  I saw the Iditarod each year I was there and really enjoyed the enthusiastic joy the dogs displayed while running.  I followed the race on the website as well.  It will be wonderful to return and see this great race this year and I am so thrilled to be riding on a sled.”

 Wade Marrs

Liz Thomas


Richie Diehl

Barbara Thompson



Barbara Thompson is from Pittsburgh, PA and is very excited to be taking part in her second IditaRider Experience! It was a highly educational couple of days last March in Anchorage, and following the race online live back in Pittsburgh. Barbara is a retired production manager and lighting designer for modern dance, ballet and hula; she credits her long-standing interest in the mushing from such famous literary dogs as Silver Chief and Buck, and other tales of the North from her childhood summer reading. Barbara’s brother and his family live in Anchorage, so she tries to be a good aunt and visit regularly, and has been fortunate to see some of the beauty of Alaska, and looks forward to someday seeing more. This year, it will be the unexpected trip to Fairbanks for the restart!

 Ralph Johannessen

 Beth Thomsen



Beth Thomsen comes to Alaska from Maple Valley, Washington via Austin, Texas. She was born and raised in central Texas where no sled dogs are seen nor winter sport flourished. Beth served the Austin, Texas Police Department from 1993-2002 until true love moved her to Maple Valley, Washington where she joined the King County Sheriff’s Office and married the love of her life, James Thomsen a Seattle Police Officer. They have been married for 11 years and live in Maple Valley with one St. Bernard, Gunner, and a kitty, Fiona. Although she is a Longhorn for life she has embraced the winter sports and has become obsessed with the Iditarod. She wanted to have the experience of a lifetime and be an IditaRider.

Beth is currently assigned as a Detective with the Criminal Investigation Section. When not working she enjoys snow shoeing and quiet evenings at home with her husband, cat, and dog.  

 Ellen Halverson




Tiffany says, “I bid because I LOVE dogs!  Ihave a balck lab, but he’s not a sled dog of course.  My whole school studied the Iditarod last year which is why I got so interested in the race.  I have been to Alaska with my family lots of times but never for this.  I can’t wait to meet my musher and all of the dogs.  Plus, I am super excited to ride on the sled.  Another bonus is that my teacher let me out of school to go!  My dad is going to take lots of pictures and my mom is riding in another sled.  I’m so excited!”

Michelle Phillips

Elizabeth Tevebaugh



Beth was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana where she experienced a variety of cultural influences from food to religion to architecture. She currently lives with her husband, Charles, on about six acres in Springdale, AR.

Beth just retired from teaching after 35 years in education. She now has more time for cooking and just plain fun stuff! Enjoyable activities include shopping at flea markets, bird watching, gardening, caving, sewing, traveling, and listening to books on tape. Her next big adventure is riding along with a musher in the ceremonial start of the 2017 Iditarod!

Lars Monson




William is the grandson of volunteer Charlotte.  They are from Uvalde, Texas.

William will be IditaRider with Scott Janssen.  William is an 11 year old 5th grader.  He loves swimming, working cattle and deer hunting. His favorite classes in school are PE and art.

 Dave Branholm


Hampton Hunter Williams



Hampton Hunter Williams (age 19) is a Freshman at Loyola University studying Business with preparation for entrance into Law School.  He is already working for his father who is a prominent toxic tort attorney.  Hampton has been acknowledged by his teachers for his citizenship and leadership roles bringing students together and fostering inclusion of any new students into the student population.  He is a graduate of De LaSalle High School in New Orleans.  Hampton is the perennial hunter and fisherman with a profound love of the outdoors.  He is an avid duck hunter and fishes both with line and bow and arrow. He has ridden in motor cross competitions and is preparing to certify in Scuba diving. There is no outdoor adventure that is too great for him.  This is his second vacation in Alaska where zip lining, canoeing, white water rafting, and a helicopter ride to the Punchbowl Glacier with an introduction to mushing put Alaska at the top of his list for return visits.  Hampton is a wonderful role model for his little brother and sister and excited that all are IditaRiders in this 2017 ceremonial Iditarod.  

Nathan Schroeder

Patricia Williams


Patricia Williams regards her two most precious titles as:  Grandmother of five and Mother of two.  Her family is her treasure and she spends much of her vacation time with her grandchildren supporting their various talents and interests.  She has succeeded in winning the bids of four mushers and will ride as an Iditarider with three of her grandchildren.  In her professional life, she is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and holds a doctorate in Anatomy from Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans.  She serves as an expert in toxicology in toxic tort litigation, including the BP Oil Spill litigation, and also in the area of drugs and alcohol as witness for the prosecution for numerous District Attorneys and the Criminal Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Louisiana.  She has taught for many years at the LSU Medical Center in New Orleans and Shreveport and at the University of New Orleans.   She served for 11 years as the Director of the Occupational Toxicology Program of the Department of Medicine at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport.  Patricia has traveled to Alaska four times bringing members of her family to see the wonders of Alaska’s wilderness.  She has a love for dogs, especially as co-owner of her brindle boxer Radon with her grandson, Eric.  She is certified at both the Beginner and Advanced levels in Scuba diving and loves snow skiing and has supported this interest in her grandchildren.  She zip-lined, canoed, rafted, and mushed with her grandchildren on a summer vacation and has brought them back to experience the beauty of winter in Alaska.  

Larry Daugherty