KattiJo DeeterHometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
KattiJo Deeter is originally from northwest Wisconsin. She moved to Alaska in 2010 following years of traveling around the US working seasonal jobs waiting to find something that ‘stuck’. Her first job in Alaska was working for a dog sledding tour company in Juneau. While there she met her now-husband Jeff Deeter. Falling in love with Jeff, his dogs and the state of Alaska was enough to keep her from leaving. “Alaska is so big and mushing is so complex, there is always something new to learn” she says. But the interest in running Iditarod was not immediate. KattiJo says, “That seemed like too much. I didn’t know if I would ever have the skills to be able to do that and I didn’t know if I wanted to either.” Eventually though, racing became a natural progression after years of helping Jeff train his Iditarod team.
KattiJo loves the adventure, the scenery and the personal challenge of racing. She describes her relationship with the dogs as an “all-in lifestyle commitment”. She says, “It’s all we do. It’s all we have time for. It’s where all of our money goes. About once a year we get to travel so I guess that’s my only other hobby at this point. I love the beach and the ocean.” KattiJo and Jeff run a sled dog tour company from their kennel in Fairbanks. Their tours are designed to give small groups an inside look at the workings of a dog sled kennel. KattiJo says, “ I am really passionate about educating people about dog mushing. The modern world has moved so far away from this sort of human and animal connection. I want to remind people of what is possible. Sled dogs in particular are much smarter and more capable than society gives them credit for.”