Meet the Mushers

/Meet the Mushers
Meet the Mushers 2018-09-27T14:20:04+00:00

Marathon Mushers

Erin Altemus | Grand Marais, MN

Erin and her husband Matt have 35 dogs and a one-year-old daughter. Erin has done the marathon two times, but it has been a couple years. We have been racing for 8 years. Mush Lake Racing is located in the deep woods outside of Grand Marais, MN.

Experience: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race

Frank Moe | Hovland, MN

Sherri and I live in Hovland, MN with our 40 dogs, cat, mouse and a pig named Petunia.  This will be our 8th Beargrease, 4 Marathons and now 4 mid-distance.  We missed last year and are excited to be back.  Thank you to all the volunteers that make this race possible and to our sponsor NutriSource Performance Dog Food made right here in Minnesota.

Ryan Redington | Wasilla, AK

Ryan Redington, 36, was born and raised in Knik, Alaska, and has been running dogs since he could reach the handle bars. Ryan and his family, wife Erin and children Eve, 4, and TJ, 3, now make their home in Skagway, Alaska and spend time in Northern Wisconsin training and racing. Ryan has run many races across Alaska and the lower 48 states. Ryan is the Champion of the 2018 Beargrease Marathon and is looking forward to running the race again as it is a great and challenging race.

Experience: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race (2nd Place in 2017 Race),  and 14th in the 2017 Iditarod.

Sponsors: Redpaw Dog Food,, Alaska X, AFS, Bruce and Tammy Caison, Sue and Dave McCarville, Bryan and Kay Gabbard, Laurie Thomas.

Mary Manning | Hovland, MN

I live in Cook County, Minnesota and have been running dogs for 20 years. I bought a used sled and got a “free” dog – I thought it was a cheap way to spend some time in the wilderness! My dogs and I have camped and raced from the BWCAW to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to West Yellowstone, Montana. I am thankful for the organizers, sponsors and volunteers who allow me to have amazing and wonderful race adventures!

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race, Gunflint Mail Run, Midnight Run, Copper DogWolf Track, Apostle Islands, Taquemenon, Yellowstone Special, Hinckley Great Trail, Mackinaw Wilderness

Blake Freking | Finland, MI

Blake and Jennifer own Manitou crossing kennels and enjoy the lifestyle with their two daughters, Nicole and Elena.

Experience: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race, Iditarod, Yukon Quest, Race to the Sky, UP 200, Can-Am, Hudson Bay Quest

Jennifer Freking | Finland, MN

Jennifer and Blake Freking own Manitou Crossing Kennels near Finland, MN where they raise and train their Siberian Huskies for competition in long distance sled dog races. Jennifer is a veterinarian at the Ely Veterinary Clinic. She has been raising sled dogs since she was 8 years old, and enjoying sharing her love of animals and outdoors with her family and friends. She would like to wish everyone a safe and wonderful experience in this years Beargrease Races!

Experience: John Beargrease Marathon, John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race, Iditarod, UP 200, Can-Am 250, Hudson Bay Quest

Sponsors:Wintergreen Designs Ely, MN

Beargrease 120

Nick Turman | Two Harbors, MN

Nick has been running the Beargrease races since 1992. He has also run the Apostle Islands race, Mid-Minnesota, Esslinger, and the Grand Portage race.

Experience: Beargrease Mid Distance, Beargrease Marathon, Apostle Island, UP200 and Midnight Run.

Matt Schmidt | Grand Marais, MN

Matt and his wife Erin and daughter Sylvia live with their 40 Alaskan huskies off grid in the deep woods outside of Grand Marais, MN. Matt ran the Beargrease last year for the first time and didn’t think he’d be back so soon, but the hills are calling his name.

Experience: Beargrease Marathon, CanAm, UP 200

Lynne Witte | McMillan, MI

Retired from teacher after 40 years in a primary classroom now to train and work with sled dogs.
I compete in marathon canoes thrpughtout United States and Canada. Currently serving as president of the Michigan Cnaoe Raicbg Association.

Experience: Midnight Run, CopperDog80, Yukon Quest 300, 2018 Beargrease Mid Distance


Dusty Klaven | Togo, MN

I am returning for my 8th Mid Distance Beargrease, the dogs and I are super pumped to test our skills and training this year. I am a 30 year old musher living in Togo MN, with a 30 dog kennel. I enjoy the relationship I have with my dogs and value what they teach me, both in the kennel and on the trail. Currently, I work as part of the bar staff at Fortune Bay Resort Casino. I’d like to thank my sponsors WanderLust Essentials LLC, Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Barn Yarns and my awesome handlers. We got this!

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance, Tahquamen, Mid-Night Run, White Oak Classic, Apostle Islands, Wolf Track Classic

Sponsor: WanderLust Essentials LLC, Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Barn Yarns

Alex LaPlante | Esko, MN

Alex has been running dogs for Maple Ridge Kennel for the last nine years. She has participated in the Beargrease Mid several times. She loves playing with the dogs and the puppies.

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race

Darcy Stanley-Nord | Milaca, MN

Teacher by day musher by night. Gonna play with the big kids this year if we can get in the training(fingers crossed) This race continues to be a favorite. Its the race that I can see all my musher friends and hero’s all together in the same room. Looking forward to another great race.

Experience: John Beargrease Recreational Class Race, Wolf track classic, Winter Warrior, Apostle Island, Mid-MN, White Oak classic, City of Lakes Loppet

Beargrease 120 Junior Class

Julia Cross | Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

My name is Julia Cross and i am 16. I have been mushing dogs since i was 5 years old. I love anything with dogs, and one day want to run the Iditarod. I also enjoy cross country running, dog agility, and hiking. I am very thankful for all my sponsors, without them i wouldn’t be able to run this fabulous race!!

Experience: John Beargrease Junior Class Race, John Beargrease Recreational Class Race, Mid Minnesota 2017, Dog Days of Winter

Sponsors: Gear Up for Outdoors, Georges Market, Nutrisource Dog Food, Northern Ontario Sportsman Alliance, K&S Contracting, Milanis Outdoor Fabric


Alice White | Ely, MN

I have been running dogs for a number of years and handled and raced with Manitou Crossing Kennels for multiple seasons before branching off to build my own team. I currently have a small kennel of Siberian huskies in Ely, Minnesota, where I work as a veterinary technician.

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race, John Beargrease Rec Race, UP 200, Wolftrack Classic, Apostle Islands, Casper Mountain