2015 Iditarod 4th place finisher!
Growing up on a Montana cattle ranch, Jessie Royer had a love for animals from an early age. She rode horses for as long as she can remember with her pet border collie close behind. From about the time she was 10 yrs. old she would hook up her border collie “Bear” with a horse halter as a harness and he would pull firewood to the house and hay to the goats. Jessie’s first team was her dog Bear and her billy goat named Billybob. At the age of 15 she saw her first “real” sled dogs at a race close by. Some of the mushers took her on rides and she was hooked from then on.
Jessie got her first sled dog named Nelson a couple weeks later and ended up going to those same races a year later with her own 11 dog team at the age of 16. She started racing and at 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 moving to Alaska to train and race was next on the horizon.
Living in Alaska for 14 yrs., she has 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 yrs. she would finish this 1000 mile race in the top 20 and even top 10 three times. For the years 2008, 09, 10, and 2011 she was the highest placing female. In 2009 Jessie’s lead dog “Kuling” received the Golden Harness Award for being the outstanding lead dog. Kuling went on to finish 9 Iditarod’s on Jessie’s team and even completed her last one at the age of 12 on a 10th place team before retiring to the coach. In 2013 Jessie finished the Iditarod in 18th place, in 7th place in 2014 and 4th place in 2015.
Currently Jessie is living back in Montana working with Triple Creek Guest Ranch in Darby, MT giving rides to guests and teaching them how to drive their own team. With a kennel of 60 dogs to train and care for, this is certainly a lifestyle not just a job. It is a labor of love! Jessie still enjoys her horses as well and loves to work cows and go on pack trips in the mountains with them. She also enjoys hunting and competing in mounted shooting events with her horses. Basically, if it has anything to do with dogs, horses, or guns you will probably find Jessie trying her hand at it. 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!
Dr. Jerry A. Vanek
BA (SUMMA), BS, MS, DVM, CCRT
Dr. Jerry Vanek has devoted his medical career to sled dogs and it has taken him from the southern tip of Chile to the arctic cap of Norway to the southern cape of Africa; from the forests of Maine to the prairies of Minnesota to the mountains of Montana; down the mighty Yukon from Whitehorse to Nome; and to Antarctica. He has served as a Chief or Trail Veterinarian on over 100 races and expeditions on four continents since 1992, including 8 Iditarods, 5 Yukon Quests, 12 John Beargreases, 7 UP200s, 7 Empire 130s, and multiple times on the White Oak Classic, CanAm Crown, Race to the Sky, Apostle Islands, and Great Trail, as well as the Eagle Cap, Grand Portage Passage, Red River, IFSS World Sprint and Distance Championships in America, Norway, and Italy, the South African National Championships, Norway’s Femundløpet and Finnmarksløpet, Sweden’s Amundsen, Polar Distans, and Tobakløpet, the Šediváčkův Long in the Czech Republic, and numerous Midwestern North American sprint snow and dryland races.
In 1993, Dr. Vanek was the veterinarian on the Mount Vaughan Antarctic Expedition and in 2007, 2009, and 2011, a veterinarian on the 1925 Diphtheria Serum Run reenactment across 1000 km of Alaskan wilderness from Nenana to Nome. In 2012, he was the veterinarian on the “Sled Dogs to Saint Paul” people’s expedition. A musher since his teens and a former sprint race competitor, he still drives dogs whenever he can—even giving sled dog rides to tourists in Sweden and Finland as recently as 2014. He is an honorary life member of both the North Star Sled Dog Club in Minnesota and the Northwest Sled Dog Association in Washington state; a recipient of both the Maeb Bayers’ Lifetime Achievement in Mushing award and the White Oak Classic Musher Tribute award; past President, Life Member, and charter Board Member of the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association, and past Treasurer and former Board Member of the American Canine Sports Medicine Association.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Vanek has presented or published roughly 190 lectures and publications on sled dogs and sled dog medicine to veterinarians and technicians, mushers, school children, and the public from Kiruna (north of the Arctic Circle) to Colesburg (in the Southern Hemisphere). Most recently, he gave an invited presentation at the esteemed Harvard University Alumni Travellers Club in Boston. He is the co-inventor of the Ultimate Wrist Wrap for sled dogs and the Van LauraDon Harnometer, and he is a certified canine rehabilitation therapist (CCRT).
Dr. Vanek divides his time among his grandfather’s 1881 homestead in Minnesota’s northern Red River Valley, his Minnesota lake property on the northernmost tributary of the Mighty Mississippi River, his retreat with partner Jill on the shores of Gitchigami in Grand Marais, Minnesota, and his travels around the globe working on behalf of that most superlative and astonishing of all athletes—the sled dog.
When he can spare the time to relax at home, he enjoys mushing, skiing, snowshoeing, cycling, hiking, camping, and canoeing, as well as writing, photography, and reading real books written by real authors with real ink on real paper from real trees sold in real bookstores.
Please Note: While dogs are welcome at the fair, they MUST be leashed at all times and please come prepared to pick up after your dog.
Campers must be pre-registered. Go to our lodging page for more information.
The Northern New England Sled Dog Trade Fair & Seminars is only a month away!
WANTED -- Volunteers - Admission is free for workers! Contact Amy @ 866-364-2668 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JOBS -- set up tables and chairs Friday afternoon, sell raffle tickets, break down tables and chairs Sunday afternoon, help set up rig race Sunday morning, break down rig race Sunday after race and register racers Sunday morning.
Anyone CAMPING on Friday night MUST PRE-REGISTER, DEADLINE TO RECEIVE YOUR CHECK IS SEPTEMBER 27TH, if your plans change your money will be refunded! Go to lodging page for more information or contact email@example.com
Vendors don’t forget to send in your applications to confirm your space!
As the weather cools and mushers' thoughts turn to training their teams in the crisp fall air, there is mounting anticipation for the Northern New England Sled Dog Trade Fair and Seminars. This most highly awaited two-day event on the first weekend in October marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall training in earnest. Held for the past 19 years, this annual fair gives a shot of adrenalin to mushers planning their winter season.
With exceptional, world-renowned motivating keynote speakers and practical seminars, the NNESDTFS has something for all levels. From beginners with one husky and a scooter to veteran mushers with many highly trained experienced sled dogs, there is always something new to learn or new equipment to demo. Vendors carry items specifically for mushing -- everything from sleds, dryland training rigs, and related sled dog equipment to t-shirts and warm winter clothing.
Families and just plain dog lovers will also find many exciting things to do and see. Saturday afternoon's raffle drawing is always a fun time with many, many wonderful prizes. Sunday morning's dryland race is always a huge success and great crowd pleaser.
Mostly however the Trade Fair is a wonderful gathering of mushers and dog lovers -- a place to see old friends and make new ones. There is a pot luck barbecue dinner on Saturday night with entertaining dog competitions following. Kick off your season with this fun, educational event.
Written by: Loranne Carey of Snow Star Farm