JEFF KING (Alaska, USA – long distance mushing)
Howling Dog Alaska has been one of Jeff’s main sponsors for many years now. And we are mighty proud of it! And here we are, with yet another season ahead of us!
Jeff King 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 and the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. 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 website.
Jeff’s harness of choice is our Hybrid Light Weight Harness.
ALIY ZIRKLE & ALLEN MOORE (Alaska, USA) – long distance mushing
Here they are! The famous wife & husband duo, known not only for their outstanding race performance but also for dog care that is second to none!
Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore own and operate SP Kennel – a premier Alaskan Husky sled dog kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska. They are dedicated to their individual dogs through excellent health, nutrition, training, and care.
Aliy races the Red Team and Allen races the Black Team. The goals and strategies for each team vary from race to race so any dogs may run on either team at any time. They strive to be the best they can through complete dedication to their canine teammates and to the sport. They are also committed to the Alaskan community that has given them unwavering support and incredible encouragement through the years.
SP Kennel is a “dog first” Kennel. Aliy and Allen put the care and safety of their dogs above everything else, including competition results. Their breeding program is highly selective. They breed only for the dogs they want to raise, train and race. They do not breed in order to sell dogs or lease dog teams. Their dogs are bred for their team. They keep every dog they breed for its entire competitive racing career.
After a racing career – whether it be long or short – their dogs retire and are placed in carefully screened and selected homes. The dogs than live out the rest of their lives in situations and homes that are suited to their personalities and traits. Many of the dogs transition to a “couch life” easily. Active dogs who still need to run — but not the number of miles involved in our racing program — are placed with highly qualified “dog first” recreational mushers world-wide. These retired Iditarod and Yukon Quest veterans spend the rest of their lives doing what their genetics have taught them in a relaxed, enjoyable “pet home” atmosphere.
Aliy and Allen are both Yukon Quest Champions. Allen has won the Copper Basin 300 six times and Aliy has placed in the top five in the Iditarod for the last five years (placing second three consecutive years: 2012, 2013 and 2014). Howling Dog is thrilled to have Aliy and Allen aboard for another season!
Check out SP Kennel’s new website.
The SP Kennel’s harness of choice has been our Distance Harness for many years now.
MELISSA STEWART & JASON STEWART (Alaska, USA) – long distance mushing
Jason and Melissa Stewart own and operate Owl Creek Kennel in Knik, AK. Owl Creek Kennel’s origins go back to the mid-80’s and was started by Melissa’s parents Mike and Patricia Owens in Nome, AK. Jason’s and Melissa’s goal for this season is for Jason to compete in his first Iditarod and cross under the Burled Arch in Nome. Jason and Melissa welcomed their newest member, Ellen Patricia, to Team Stewart in August of 2017. Jason also has a son, Caswell, who is 12.
Melissa Stewart, 28, was born and raised in Nome, AK. She moved to the Mat-Su Valley in 2009 to attend Northern Industrial Training and decided to stay. She later earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Charter College. Melissa has wanted to run the Iditarod as long as she can remember. Her dad ran the Iditarod the year she was born, and mushing is in her blood. After completing four Jr. Iditarods and winning in 2005, Melissa ran her first Iditarod in 2008 and at the age of 18 she became the youngest female competitor to finish the Last Great Race. In 2017 she crossed under the Burled Arch for her 3rd time at 19 weeks pregnant. Melissa will be taking a year off from racing while taking on the new challenges of motherhood, but look for her out on the trails soon enough. Melissa also operates her own home-based business, Alaska Soaps & Scents, making and selling soaps and other personal care products,
Jason Stewart, 42, was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. Served Honorably in the USMC Infantry from 1993-1997. He received his Associates of Arts Degree from Hagerstown, Maryland in 2002. When he was 12, he had started spending summers in Alaska visiting his dad and his brother, Since, he got tired of feeling homesick whenever he left Alaska, he left Maryland permanently in 2004 and moved to Alaska. He got started running dogs on an overnight camping trip in 2000. In 2011 he became a handler for another musher. In 2012, Jason met his future wife, Melissa Owens, and began getting as serious about her as he was about dogs. He ran his first race in 2015 and hasn’t stopped since. Jason has worked as a Corrections Officer for the past three years. He is also an Advanced Glock Armorer. He enjoys building dogsleds in the offseason and helping his wife with her business ventures.
Here at Howling Dog, we have a special “soft spot” for Melissa and Jason, as the lineage of the majority of their dogs goes back to dogs bred in our Howling Dog Kennel.
Connect with Melissa and Jason through their Owl Creek Kennel Facebook page.
The harness of choice for Melissa’s and Jason’s dogs is our Tough Skin Harness ULTRA.
AMANDA VOGEL (Minnesota, USA) – mid-distance mushing
Amanda is originally from Bay City, Michigan, and now lives in northern Minnesota, just south of the northwest Ontario border. Amanda was introduced to the sport of mushing in 2003, and after a few years of learning the basics from a recreational dog sledding club, she began building a kennel that would allow her to race professionally.
Today, Amanda is the owner and operator of Snomad Racing. She was awarded Rookie of the Year, earned a 4th place finish, and passed another Iditarod qualifying race. All while competing in her first nearly 400 mile, 2013 John Beargrease Marathon.
Snomad Racing also travels for exhibitions and speaking engagements, works on TV, film, and modeling projects, and puts winter and mushing products to extreme tests for sponsors committed to making the toughest gear and equipment on the market. When Amanda is not training and racing, she is found volunteering for the Kabetogama Fire and EMS departments, raising pups, exploring woods and waters, and laughing with good friends.
NEW THIS YEAR! Snomad racing will be offering sled dog rides during their fall training season in the comforts of a fully enclosed and heated 5 seat side by side!! If you’d like to meet her dogs and learn about training, contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to meet Amanda’s dogs or to learn more about the training of canine athletes, visit Snomad Racing Facebook Page.
Amanda’s harness of choice is our Distance Harness.
KATI & MARTIN DAGENAIS (Quebec, Canada) – sprint mushing
Dagenais Kennel is a premier sprint racing kennel located in Quebec, Canada.
Martin got introduced to the sport of mushing in 1986 and Kati began racing in 2008. Kati’s first year of racing in was in the 4-dog class. In 2009 she entered the IFSS World Championship in the 6-dog class. Kati’s team won almost every race they entered from the beginning of her racing career. Kati & Martin traveled to Alaska where she won the Limited North American Championship in 6-dog class (her team broke the track record on relatively slow trail conditions). Kati also won the IFSS World Championship in North Pole, Alaska in 2013 in the 8-dog class. In 2015 Kati & Martin and their team traveled to Germany to compete in yet another IFSS World Championship. They returned home with a bronze medal!
This racing season Kati & Martin plan to race the Québec sprint circuit and maybe some Mid-West races in the 6-dog class. Their challenge for this year will be the European Championship in Italy in January.
Team Dagenais looks strong, as there were a few young dogs added (dogs Kati and Martin raised). All the youngsters look very promising! It should be an interesting season for all, the humans and the dogs alike! Good luck guys! Make Howling Dog proud!
Visit Dagenais Racingsleddogs Facebook page.
The harness of choice for Team Dagenais is our Light Weight Harness.
JULIE BLOCH (France) – sprint mushing
Julie is NEW to Team Howling Dog! We have known Julie since she was a young girl and we are happy to have her aboard! Julie is an accomplished sprint 6-dog class racer.
In 1977 Julie’s parents Miriam and Thierry Bloch, started mushing with Greenland dogs, some Siberians, and later, with Alaskans huskies from Terry Martin (Idaho), and Jim Welch. Since the beginning, they have been involved in the sport as a family, so when Julie was old enough, her older sister took the main team and began to carry the family flag in the world of mushing. The kennel’s roots are built on Jan and Lollo Swenson’s and Taina Teras’s bloodlines. Both kennels are located in Sweden and Julie’s sister Karine spent a winter there in 1999.
Julie took her sister Karine’s place in 2002. Even now, the team still consists of Jan’s, Lollo’s and Taina’s bloodlines. There were also some Ellis/Lundberg dogs added to the mix. Julie works with the dogs on a lot of obedience. She spends as much time to work them in individual training as she spends on the time passing on a team. It is really important for Julie to have dogs that are happy in their everyday “normal” dog life, but also in their working dog life. Such approach shows positive results, as Julie’s team became the World Champions in 2015 in the 6-dog class. Julie also holds multiple French Champion titles (since 2012).
The kennel is now built with 10 dogs including 2 retired ones. Only 6/7 dogs are trained to be part of the main racing team. All of Julie’s dogs were born in her kennel and the result of a very specific breeding selection.
Julie is very grateful to her sister Karine and her boyfriend Sebastien for all their help and support.
Check out Julie’s Facebook page.
Julie has been supplementing our Staminex to her canine athletes for many years now.
RICH KISSELOFF (Illinois, USA) – skijoring, scootering & bikejoring
Once again Rich has teamed up with us for yet another racing season! We have supported grassroots Windy City Mushers Club and Rich from the start of his racing career. We have provided Rich with technical support and offered quality and functional gear to him and his grassroots club members.
Rich introduced his new Greyster pup Guinness to the mix last season and he took on the role as Riche’s main dog. Guinness quickly surprised and impressed Rich at such a young age. He showed great poise and a fearless attitude!
The 2016-17 season saw Rich finish no worse than 2nd place, not counting the World Championships where he was unable to use Guiness due to age restrictions. In every other race they only finished 2nd a couple times against teams using two dogs. There were many highlights last season. The most meaningful was winning the Skijor One and Two Dog National Championships. Rich and his dogs were the top team at the Canadian National Championships in the 1 dog scooter, 2 dog scooter and bikejor. Rich did do canicross too but only for fun. The other highlight and signs of things to come were finishing in a top select group in the relay Skijor leg at the World Championships.
The 2018 season will be an exciting one. Rich is planning on attending races in Europe and possibly Quebec or Colorado. We look forward having Rich represent Howling Dog Alaska at the highest level!
Within the last couple of years, Rich has introduced many new people to the sport of mushing through Windy City Mushers.
The harness of choice for Rich’s canine athletes is our Second Skin Harness.