Jeff King (Alaska)
Jeff has been working with Howling Dog for many years now. We are very happy to have him aboard! He is often recognized as the “Winningest Musher in the World.” He holds four championship titles for the 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1993, 1996, 1998, and 2006. Jeff took first place in the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest in 1989 in addition to earning twenty-four other first-place titles in races across Alaska and other parts of North America. Jeff was inducted into the Iditarod Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2006, at age 50, he became the oldest musher to win the Iditarod. Jeff King has twice received the prestigious Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for exemplary care of his dog team. He has logged more than 150,000 miles on a dogsled over the past thirty-five years.
Jeff King has captured worldwide media attention for decades. Associated Press, BBC, CBC, ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” ESPN, CNN, Discovery Channel, National Public Radio and Mushing Magazine have regularly featured Jeff in race coverage of the Iditarod and international news reports. From his scientific methods of feeding and training dogs, to his calculating trail strategies and innovative sled designs, Jeff has been the one to watch, year after year.
“For years, the inventive King has cut his own mushing path with notable success…he has trained his dogs by having them swim during the summer to build stamina, he’s tinkered endlessly with nutrition…” says the Anchorage Daily News. Lee Larsen, president of the Iditarod Trail Committee, calls King a “champion in many, many ways.”
Jeff moved to Alaska in 1975 in search of adventure. He quickly became interested in dog sledding and Alaskan huskies, devoting all his spare time and money to building his own team, while developing a construction business. He began racing in 1980. His competitive nature and athleticism had found a new outlet, and Jeff set his sights ever higher, entering his first Iditarod just one year later. In 1992 he decided to devote his full time and energy to training and racing, setting aside his construction business. He won his first Iditarod the following season.
Jeff enjoys living just outside of Alaska’s Denali National Park and sharing his life with his sled dogs. In the summer months, Husky Homestead welcomes visitors from around the world to watch his sled dogs in action, hear stories of adventure, learn about Alaskan Huskies, the tradition of dog mushing and the life and spirit of Alaska, the last frontier.
A natural-born storyteller, Jeff shares a lifetime of adventure stories in public speaking engagements and in his book Cold Hands Warm Heart. Since the release of his first collection of stories, fans have been begging for “More!” In the fall of 2011, Jeff produced a newly expanded edition with additional stories and photographs and a deeper look into a life well-lived.
Visit Jeff’s Husky Homestead web site: http://www.huskyhomestead.com/
Aliy Zirkle & Allen Moore (Alaska)
Howling Dog was very proud of Aliy’s performance last season; highlighted by finishing second in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race! Boy, and what a race that was! Same goes for last season’s Yukon Quest, where Allen also finished second in another super close race. Good job, guys!
Aliy and Allen are the proud owners of SP Kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska. And this year the SP Kennel dogs are ready for the mushing season! “What a great group of talented dogs we have here at SP Kennel”, says Aliy. “There are 38 racing dogs between the ages of two and nine years. When you add the seven yearlings into the mix, my goodness we are busy!” But, winter is the busy season at SP Kennel.
Early dog training miles involve the dog teams pulling ATV 4-wheelers across various terrains in and around Two Rivers. The heavy four wheel drive machines allow the dogs to venture across rough trails and up and down steep grades. This is great training for the entire squad. Allen says, “We show the dogs all the crazy trail situations that they will encounter in our upcoming Alaska and Yukon Territory races.” Until there is at least 12 inches of good snow base to secure a dog team with a snow hook, all dogs will train pulling 4-wheelers.
“As well as varying the terrain, we try to vary dogs’ speed during our early season training” Aliy says. “We will incorporate speed intervals into our training calendar. Normal training runs are kept at a slow steady pace. By adding short burst speed intervals into the routine, the dogs expand their lung capacity to a maximum. This leaves the team temporarily winded, but after several training sessions their lungs rise to the challenge.”
The SP Kennel racing season begins with back-to-back weekend events. The Sheep Mountain 150 starts on December 15 and the Two Rivers 100 begins December 22. ”We’re looking forward to starting the season with a bang!”, says Aliy. The preliminary race schedule for the year also includes the Kusko 300, Don Bowers 300, Yukon Quest 1000/300 with the season culminating in two teams running the Iditarod. ”It’s going to be a great year!”
Visit SP Kennel blog for trainig and racing updates: http://spkenneldoglog.blogspot.com/
Amanda Vogel (Minnesota)
This will be Amanda’s second season representing Howling Dog. And she does a great job doing that!
Originally from Bay City, Michigan, Amanda Vogel has made her home in Ray, Minnesota. Amanda and her team are racing up the ranks running distance races across the United States. Watch for Snomad Racing this season at the UP 200 in Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Gichigami Express on the North Shore, Minnesota, and likely the Beargrease Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and the Can-Am Crown 250 in Fort Kent, Maine. Also, for a great cause and great fun, Amanda and her team like to wrap up the season by raising money for breast cancer research at Mush For A Cure on the Gunflint Trail.
To follow Amanda and her team, subscribe to her public updates at www.facebook.com/snomadracing.
Ami Gjestson (Alaska)
Howling Dog is very proud of Ami’s accomplishments. She owns a “micro-kennel”, yet she competes at the highest levels head to head with larger kennels, quite often beating them. It shows exactly what an awesome dog person Ami is! She is exactly the type of musher Howling Dog is proud to support!
Here is what Ami has to say about herself and her dogs: “I have a small kennel of seven race dogs and seven retired dogs. All of the dogs live off chain unless I’m gone and most have access to the house through a doggy door. I really enjoy seeing their personalities and confidence grow while making their own decisions when left loose. While I think the basis for the bond between musher and sled dog develops mainly from running them as a team, being with them pretty much 24/7 greatly enhances that bond.
I’m looking forward to 2013 after coming off four wins, two second place finishes, and an ISDRA Gold Medal for 2012. I plan to race most of the limited class championship races in Alaska and my team has been selected as the number one pick to represent Team USA in the six-dog class of the IFSS World Championships being held in North Pole, Alaska. Hopefully with the home town advantage, a little luck, good training, and providing the dogs with the best food, supplements and gear, my team can place well against the world’s top sprint mushers. My main leader, Fergus, is seven years old (that’s getting up there for running fast) and I would love to hang one of those medals around his neck.”
Good luck, Ami! We are definitely rooting for you!
To meet Ami’s dogs, visit her kennel page: http://www.dogtec.com/kennel/nordskogen-sprinters
Martin & Kati Dagenais (Quebec)
Kati and Martin Dagenais are the newest members of Team Howling Dog. It is nice to have found such a nice “representative” in the musher friendly Quebec province! Welcome aboard, guys!
Here is what Martin has to say: “We own a small kennel specializing in limited class racing. All our dogs are a mixed breed of English and German pointer crossed with Alaskan husky. They have very short coats and they are kept in an indoor kennel that is heated in the winter time. All our dogs get to free run every day in our fenced in lot. We believe in treating our dogs with love and respect and we feel that this is the key to racing success.
Over the years we have been blessed with awesome dogs that have helped us achieve many of our racing goals. In 2008 we won the ISDRA gold medal in the 8 dog class, in 2009 gold in the 6 dog class at the IFSS world championships in Daaquam, Quebec and in 2012 we materialized a lifelong dream of going to Alaska and winning the Limited North American Championship in the 6 dog class. In the year 2013 our goal is to go back to Alaska to race in the IFSS World Championships in the 8 dog class.”
Visit (and Like) the Dagenais Kennel page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dagenais.kennel