Travis BealsHometown: Seward, Alaska
I grew up in Seward, Alaska. When I was young, my mom had a small sprint team on 2nd avenue right in the thick of town. As a toddler, I ran one-dog races and was often found curled up sleeping with my dogs in their houses outside. My parents divorced when I was young and shortly after we sold the dogs. I wanted to get back into dogs and even as a young boy felt that dog mushing was my calling.
I was fourteen when my mom said if I could pay for them, I was welcome to get my own dog team. I got my first job, working at a summer dog sled tour operation and shortly after got my first dogs. I’ve been racing and training my own dogs ever since.
In 2009 I ran Jr. Iditarod at 17 years old with a team of dogs I trained on my own. That year I finished in 2nd, behind Cain Carter who was racing Lance Mackey’s A-team that went on to win the full 1,000-mile race two weeks later.
In 2011, I met my partner Sarah. In 2012, we turned our kennel into a successful summer tour operation where we give summer dog sled rides. The following year we took over Seward Helicopter Tours and began offering glacier dog sledding tours — allowing summertime visitors the opportunity to dog sled on snow. I’m blessed to be able to do what I love for work.
I’ve raced nine Iditarods and each year have brought a competitive team to the event. For the past several years, we’ve spent winters in dry cabins and had to move our team around every 6 months. This year, Sarah and I welcomed our son, Elias. Being a father has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Because we welcomed a son, the dry cabin life style was no longer going to cut it. This year we bought a house in Knik with trail access and it’s been a game changer. I’ve always dreamed of winning Iditarod and, although I’ve always brought a competitive team, I’m starting to get to a point where the things in my life outside of mushing are in order to truly help make that happen.
I’ve received a sportsmanship award every year for the last four years from various races including the 2022 Iditarod. These have been truly meaningful awards for me and I’m proud to be recognized by my peers in this capacity.
I’m fired up for a great run in Iditarod 2024 and couldn’t be more grateful to my dogs and my family.
Here are the dogs currently training for my team:
If you’d like to learn more about my kennel or help support me getting to Nome, please visit my website: www.TurningHeadsKennel.com
Thank you to all our fans and sponsors.
Seward Helicopter Tours
Turning Heads Kennel
THK Mile Sponsors
THK Dog Sponsors
THK Checkpoint Sponsors
Special thanks to my handlers, Matt Reiss & Ibi Wemark and to my partner Sarah Stokey and our son, Elias.