Jeff DeeterHometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
Jeff Deeter, 31, moved to Alaska with his parents at the age of five. His mom, who always wanted to move to Alaska, took a job teaching in Noorvik. He says he went to the start of the 1998 Iditarod as a ten year old and knew then that he wanted to compete in this event someday. At age 15, Jeff started running sled dogs and ran his first Iditarod in 2008 at the age of 19. His next run was a decade later in 2018 with an entirely new, young group of dogs. Jeff says, “This race is the ultimate test of man and dog and their unique and primitive bond. I love the challenge of bad weather and rough trail, and that challenge keeps me excited about this race.” Jeff climbed 28 places in last year’s Iditarod to finish in 15th. “Finishing in the top 20 with a group of two and three year old dogs was a complete surprise! I am excited to bring those same dogs back to Iditarod 2020, just as they hit their prime and are ready for more competitive racing.” When asked what part of racing the Iditarod is most challenging for Jeff, he insists it’s not the dark, the cold, the sleep deprivation or those famously technical sections of trail. “It’s the dog care. It’s up to the musher to ensure every dog on their team is in peak health. We have to be constantly vigilant to make sure we’re detecting any change in their status. That definitely keeps me awake on the runners. Having a happy, healthy team come across the finish line is the most important thing to me.” Jeff and his wife, KatieJo, own Black Spruce Dog Sledding, a home-based tour business that introduces people to the unique lifestyle of mushing in Alaska. They share a love of dogs and mushing and encourage fans to follow their kennel’s adventures through Facebook and Instagram.