2018 NL150 Musher Bios
Kathleen Frederick became smitten with sled dogs the moment she first stepped on the runners in Maine in 1997. She moved to Alaska in 2002 with her first sled dog and in 2006 started Shameless Huskies Kennel. Kathleen, over the years, has participated in numerous mid-distance races (Knik 200, Knik 100, Sheep Mountain 150, Don Bowers 200, Taiga 300, Klondike 300, Goosebay 150, Quest 300) and in the Iditarod in 2010. Her dogs in recent years have finished the Iditarod with mushers Kelly Griffen (2013), Newton Marshall (2014) and Jimmy Lebling (2017). When not out mushing, Kathleen serves as the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the State of Alaska. Eric Kelly, in the NL300, is Kathleen’s kennel partner and hopes to finish his Iditarod qualifiers in 2018.
Sponsors: Bill Estelle
TJ Shrader has been running dogs for 15 years. TJ is looking to improve his times from last season. He and his wife live in Willow, AK with their 40 sled dogs.
Sponsors: Chris Curtis
Sponsors: Glenn’s Wild Game Processing, MyPeePants.com
2018 NL300 Musher Bios
Sean Underwood was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where he enjoyed the sweltering heat and vibrant nightlife. Sean’s introduction to Alaska came in 2015 when he landed a job working for his aunt and uncle on their fishing boat in Kodiak. Last fall, after a series of introductions, Sean found himself face-to-face with Jeff King inquiring about winter work. Sean has now been working for Jeff King and Husky Homestead for over a year and is getting ready for his second winter in Alaska. He ran the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race last January and is now on track to qualify for the Iditarod.
Sponsors: Husky Homestead, The Alaska Collection, Alaska Industrial Hardware, American Dehydrated Foods (ADF), Howling Dog Alaska, Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites, Kaladi Brothers Coffee, Redpaw, and Usibelli Coal Mine.
Ellen Halverson is working towards success with her dogs. Her dogs love running and she would like to be prepared to have a great time with them on the trail.
Stephanie Johnson’s kennel, “Almost Heaven Huskies”, is located about 8 miles outside of Nome near the Snake River. She has been running dogs recreationally in Nome for about 10 years and with each year she attempts to “step up” her game. The learning process, she says, for her and her dogs in never-ending.
The majority of the main dogs have been born in her kennel and are of the Burmeister bloodlines. Aaron is Stephanie’s neighbor in the summer months and has provided many answers to questions related to feeding, training and overall health of the dogs. Stephanie appreciates his guidance.
Her goals are simple. She wants to run her dogs to the best of their ability while maintaining superior health and attitude. She and her dogs want to have fun on the trail and enjoy the magnificent beauty of Alaska.
Stephanie is a Mental Health Clinician and has served the folks of Western Alaska since 2005. She loves helping people and takes a strength-based approach in the work that she does. She enjoys witnessing people realize their own potential and begin to build their lives on the positives. The people of Western Alaska are among the strongest, most resilient and most inspirational people she knows.
Stephanie grew up on a farm in West Virginia and she loves to travel back there every chance she gets to visit her parents, Sam and Patti Masters, and her sisters, Nancy and Jill, along with her 8 amazing nieces and nephews. Her kennel name comes from the John Denver song lyrics, “Almost Heaven West Virginia”.
Stephanie would like to thank her husband, Lance, for his constant support of her passion. She is grateful for Cynthia Berrand who helps her train dogs. She also wishes to acknowledge the Evans Family (especially Haley), Chrystie Salesky, Kirsten Bey, Alan Maxwell and Karen Trop for their assistance with her kennel at various times over the past few years.
Charlie Bejna first came to Alaska in 1991 with his dad and toured most of the state. He is currently the owner of Charley’s Landscaping Co. for the past 27 years and is still currently operating it in the summer months in Addison, IL. Charley is also the owner of 30 sled dogs, which includes several retired ones. The kennel is located in Knik, Alaska. Charley has been a type 1 Diabetic (insulin pump dependent) for the past 17 years. It is definitely a challenge on a daily basis managing his Diabetes. He is entering the Northern Lights 300 to enjoy the race, spend time with his dogs and see how the dogs perform as they prepare for the Iditarod. Charley has competed in every NL 300 since it has begun. He sends a big thank you to his dogs, his family, his friends and everyone else that supports him in running the race!
Other races that Charley has competed in include 5 Iditarod, 4 Knik 200, 2 Copper Basin 300, 1 Willow-Tug 300, 1 Gin Gin 200, 1 Alpine Creek Excursion, 1 Aurora 50/50.
Sponsors: Butch Bejna, Charley’s Landscaping Co., Jason Tranchitella, Jay Radhakrishnam, John and Alison Hitzker, Berdella Bogard, G.B. Jones, Stacey and Janson Cardy.
Eric Kelly is originally from Vermont and moved to Alaska in 2008 from Arizona. He first got involved in mushing while helping Newton Marshall prep for the 2014 Iditarod, which lead to a partnership with Kathy Fredrick and her Shameless Huskies Kennel. Eric is now trying to qualify for the Iditarod with hopes of running the race in 2020.
Sponsors: Sponsored in part by employer, Taylor Fire Protection Services.
Jeff and his wife, Katti Jo, own and operate Black Spruce Dog Sledding in Fairbanks, AK. Together they run tours and train dogs out of their home. Their focus is building a competitive kennel for the future. Jeff signed up to run his second Iditarod in March.
Sponsors: Polar Mining (AK), Marilyn C. Roswell (NM), Clifford Family (TX), Darryl and Pam W. (GA), Melissa M. (WA), Fowler Family (GA), Doug and Arlene P. (WA), Caleb K. (AK), ML and Paula (CA), Zanetti Family (PA), Anne and Charlie (MT).
Tom Schönberger and his wife own and operate the TouchMeNot Siberians Kennel. They are a small, working-showing kennel of AKC registered Siberian Huskies located in Chugiak, Alaska. They named their kennel after TouchMeNot Mountain located in Northern New Mexico. When Tom is not running dogs he enjoys hiking with this dogs and fishing. Tom is a member of the National Eagle Scout Association, Phil Mont Staff Association and the Siberian Husky Club of America.
Sponsors: Veterinary Specialists of Alaska, Yogi’s Bar and Grill, Monte and Tamara Budahl, Gretchen Dietrich, Samantha Werner, Rachel Werner, Leia Werner, Craig Donnelly, Bruce and Joanne Barnes, Candace Hanscom and Anders Worsley, Chad and Natalie Smyre, Sheila and Glen Laughton, Bob and Cindy Vance, Lauren, Tim and Julie McIlwraith, Mike MacNeil and Family, Jan Algren, Kathy Putney and Family, Cheryl and Troy Zachary, Jim and Delinda Davis, Chris and Michele Vogel, Louie Gonzales and Leanne Lounsbury, Jon and Christianne Hamel, Matt, Lauren and Charlie Vos, Marie Sarisky-Lamb, Siberian Husky Club of Greater Detroit, Simonne, Andre and Jocelyne Roy, Karen Morin, Sue and Michael Striebich, Chuck, Cheri and Raz Cubbison, Kathy Rasmussen, Monika “Nika” Glennon, Tony and Denell Angelo, North Jersey Siberian Husky Club, Theresa and Bill Przybylski, Nicole and Rene Eliste, Anne Grant, Siberian Husky Club of the Niagara Frontier, Best In Show Training, Laura Beland, Mark and Lynn Garner, Siberian Husky Club of Greater Greenville, SC, Squadron Officer School Class 97C-Flight B25, Denali Real Estate; Margaret Nelson, Siberian Husky Club of Greater Chicago, Kathleen Hartig, Katie Stevens, Dan and Laura Brodigan, Dog Booties.com, Tina Joynson, Danny and Margit Brand, Denali Dish Diva, Garden State Siberian Husky Club, Ron and Ellen Godden, Pat Schue, Rodney Roosevelt and Bobbi Baker.
Katti Jo Deeter
Katti Jo Deeter is originally from Northwestern Wisconsin. She moved to Alaska and began working with sled dogs for the first time in the summer of 2010. She met her husband, Jeff Deeter, working for a tour company in Juneau. Together, they now have their own tour company in Fairbanks. This will be Katti Jo’s first season of racing.
Sponsors: Polar Mine (AK). Individual dog sponsors include Marilyn C. (NM), The Clifford Family (TX), Darryl and Pam W. (GA), Melissa M. (WA), Doug and Arlene P. (WA), The Fowler Family (GA), Caleb K. (AK), ML and Paula (CA), The Zanetti Family (PA and AK), and Anne and Charlie (MT).
Pam Aviza got interested in mushing by volunteering for the Iditarod in 2004. She started to learn how to be a musher handling for Ramey Smyth in 2007. In 2009, she helped Becca Moore during the Yukon Quest. She has ran the Eagle River classic in 2011 (5th place), Earl Norris Memorial in 2009 (15th place) and 2011 (7th place), as well as the Alaska Excursions in 2009 (last place).
Sponsors: Buffalo Wool Company, Fox River Socks, Alaska RV Park, and Kristin Bacon.
Tara Cicatello, age 26, was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She moved to Nome, Alaska in 2013 and it was there that her mushing ventures began. Tara currently resides in Big Lake, AK. She will be running dogs of Bacon’s Acres Kennel.
Sponsors: Bacon’s Acres Kennel, Husky Homestead, Mike and Carol Fritz, Dick and Rebecca Soverns, Kent Waite of Gotta Wanna Expeditions, and her NY Family and Friends.
J Dot Shelley with Team Jdot is based out of Skagway, Alaska. J has been mushing for about 7 years and learned by handling for Ryan Redington and has ever since loved and had a passion for dogs and mushing. J is very excited to follow a dream of running the Iditarod. He owes a very big thank you to all of the community of Skagway; he would not be able to do this without them.
Sponsors: Community of Skagway, Alaska Y, Skagway Brew Co., Skagway Day Trips, “Shakey” Pizza Station, Fairway Market in Skagway, and the biggest thanks goes to Jess Callies who has done all of J’s marketing and fundraising.
Beckie Hacker has been involved with sled dogs since 2003, vetting and volunteering as much as she could while in the Lower 48. In 2012, she started learning how to run dogs and in 2014 she moved to Alaska and started her own kennel of Alaskan Huskies. Beckie now has 30 dogs, mostly youngsters, and is building her own team to run the Iditarod and The Quest. She sends a big thank you to her family and friends that have supported her in following her dream!
Sponsors: George’s Auto Repair, Johnson Vinyl Graphics, Windigo Outfitters, All Creatures Veterinary Clinic, Alaska X, Natural Healing Solutions, and Snowhook Kennel.
Ryan Santiago hails from the bay area of California. He has been mushing dogs since 2015, which has taken him from Michigan to Colorado and now here to Alaska.
Sponsors: Seavey’s Ididaride, Glenn and Nora Baker, and Prestige World Wide.