Meet the racers from our inaugural 2018 event. Mushers are listed based on their race results.
Jessie grew up on a Montana cattle ranch. Her first team was her dog Bear and her billy goat, Billybob. At the age of 15 Jessie saw her first “real” sled dogs at a race close to home. Some of the mushers took her on rides and she was hooked. Jessie got her first sled dog, Nelson, a couple weeks later. The next year she went to that same race with her own 11 dog team at the age of sixteen. At age 17 she became the first female and youngest person to ever win Montana’s Race to the Sky 500-mile race. Running in races like Minnesota’s John Beargrease 500-mile marathon, Wyoming Stage Stop, and Canada’s Northern Lights Challenge, it wasn’t long before Jessie moved to Alaska to train and race. Living in Alaska for 14 years, Jessie competed in almost every big race including the Iditarod. In 2001 Jessie finished her first Iditarod in 14th place, earning her the Rookie of the Year Award. For the next 10 years she would finish this 1000-mile race in the top 20 and the top 10 three times. For the years 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 she was the highest placing female.
“With a big love for the great outdoors, there just is simply no better way to travel and see the countryside than on the back of a dogsled or a horse!” says Jessie.
Monty is a carpenter who is new to racing. He is sponsored by Young Living and races Alaskan Huskies
Great Falls, Montana
Brett Bruggeman was born in Cleveland and raised in Idaho. He has been a dentist for the last 20 years. Brett explains, “My youngest son, Spencer, 16, has a birth defect which caused one leg to not develop muscle. He competed in traditional sports until he was 11 and then started looking for other sports in which he could be competitive.His brothers always told him his skinny leg had no limits. We started our kennel, Skinny Leg Sled Dogs, in honor of Spencer’s leg.We have been fortunate to have several great mushing mentors such as Terry and Chris Adkins who introduced us to the sport, and Doug Swingley, the source of our foundation bloodlines, helping us in the beginning. Jessie Royer has been a close friend and taught us so much about mushing and dogs. The Iditarod as always been in the back of our minds, and I look forward to traveling across Alaska with our dog team.” Brett has run Montana’s Race to the Sky every year since 2013 and the Oregon Eagle Cap Extreme since 2014. His goal is to run the Iditarod in 2018 and again in 2020 with Spencer.
Laurie started handling for her oldest son, Garrett and helping train his first year of mushing. She also helped out when her second son Trevor got a team. Her sons encouraged her enter a race; she did,was hooked and the rest is history. Laurie describes her best times mushing as running with her two sons on moonlit nights,sharing a sport that the three of them love. Laurie is currently working to qualify to run the Iditarod in 2019. She has completed two of the three qualifying races and needs one more 300-mile race to qualify.
In 2015 Madeline went to Alaska to handle dogs for Jodi Bailey’s Dew Claw Kennel in Chatanika where she was exposed to training dogs for long distance races like the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. She ran the Alpine Creek Excursion Sled Dog Race 2015. Madeline has served as a volunteer for the Race to the Sky.
Josi got a Siberian husky when she was 10 and then dreamed about training her to pull a sled! She read everything she could find at the library on sled dogs and went to Priest Lake Sled Dog races to watch and ask questions. After that,“I just kept adding dogs,”she said.Josi describes her mushing highlight as being a handler for Aaron Burmeister during the 2011-2012 season and winning Best Cared For team at the 2016 Race to the Sky 300 in Montana. Josi is also hoping to qualify for and run the Iditarod in 2019.
Trevor states that in 2010, he got into sled dog racing thanks to his brother Garrett. He works with his family in the Warren Kennel, raising and training their dogs. Trevor recently won the two-day race in the Eagle Cap Extreme 100. Trevor describes his mushing highlight as every time he runs a team under a starry or moonlit night.
As a junior musher he ran in the Wyoming Stage Stop race in 2000. He ran four dogs over a three mile course and was hooked for life. He started racing in 2014 at the Canadian Open Sled Dog Championship. Dylan gets great pleasure from watching lead dogs grow up and gain confidence. He would like to run the Iditarod, the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and the Yukon Quest.
Great Falls, Montana
Spencer was looking for a sport which he could do competitively with a birth defect – “the skinny leg.” He read “Call of the Wild” by Jack London and knew dog sledding was his sport. He says his wonderful mom gave the thumbs up and now they have 44 dogs and the Skinny Leg Dog Sled Kennel. He is the youngest racer to complete the 100 and 300 miledistances in the Race to the Sky 300 and is making plans to run the 2020 Iditarod.
Miriam got her start in mushing in 2006, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, guiding backcountry sled dog tours to Granite Hot Springs under the guidance of Iditarod musher Frank Teasley. She has worked as a dog sledding guide in Skagway and Willow Alaska and as a professional dog sled handler for a number of Alaskan Kennels. She participated in the Nadzehda Hope race in Chukotkaz, Russia in 2014, and the Serum Run 90th anniversary from Nenanna –Nome in 2015. Miriam ran the 2016 Iditarod as a rookie and placed 56th. Her goal is to run the Kobuk 400 in Seward, Alaska and be able to hunt caribou in the Brooks Range with her dog team.