Meet the Mushers

/Meet the Mushers
Meet the Mushers 2017-11-21T18:03:46+00:00

Marathon Mushers

Matt Schmidt | Grand Marais, MN

Bio is coming soon.

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

Nathan Schroeder | Warba, MN

Nathan Schroeder, 39, born and raised in Warba, MN. He graduated from Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in 1999 as a maintenance mechanic. He has worked as a millwright in Local 1348 for the last 17 years. Nathan was introduced to mushing at the age of 12, when he was given a ride at his elementary school behind a team of malamutes. He has been racing ever since. Nathan has completed many races all over the lower 48 states and has finished the Iditarod three times. He has entered the Iditarod in 2017 as well. He is a four time champion of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Nathan has 3 children, Gavin, 7, Sawyer, 4, and Kinley, 3. Outside of mushing, Nathan enjoys fishing, the outdoors, and being with his family.

Experience: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race, Races all over the lower 48 states and has finished the Iditarod four times.

Sponsors: Duluth Trading Company

Colleen Wallin | Two Harbors, MN

I would not be here today if it were not for my husband Ward and my sons Ian and Ero. Their support is great. Running and training my dog team is what I love to do. Our team this year is young and I am looking to new leaders to bring us accross the finish line. Those leaders are: Jazz, Marlin, Nemo, Miss Kay, Happy, Silas, Man Cub, Chickadee, Shypoke, Freeze. For all of you Waldo lovers, come see him at our truck.

Experience: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race, John Beargrease Sled Dog Mid-Distance, WaWa Gold Quest, UP 200, Can Am 250, Gunflint Mail Run, Esslinger Classic, Mid Minnesota, Wolf Track Classic, Empire 150, Great Trail Sled Dog Race, White Oak Classic, Gitchee Gamee Race, MidNight Run, Grand Portage Passage Race.

Sponsors: Julies Variety Hardware Store, John’s Sanitary, Betty’s Pies, Zup’s Food, North Shore Oil and Propane

Ryan Redington | Wasilla, AK

Born into the sport. My Grandpa is Joe Redington Sr, he founded the Iditarod race in 1973. Excited to be racing back in Minnesota this year. Looking for this race as a great training and build up for my team for the Iditarod in March. I want to thank all the volunteers that put on the John Beargrease.

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

Sponsors: Redpaw,, AlaskaX, John Nunnes, Mary Lee, Juliette Foulds Walters

Mid-Distance Mushers

Nick Turman | Two Harbors, MN

Nick is retired and lives in Two Harbors with his wife, Joy. They have 2 kids and 12 grand kids. He started handling dogs in 1988 and then running them in 1992.

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

Krystal Hudachek | Cornucopia, WI

Have been running dogs for 22 years but only started racing about 6 years ago. Excited for my second Beargrease.

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance, Midnight Run, Apostle Island Sled Dog Race, Mid Minnesota, Copper Dog, & Wolf Track Classic

Dusty Klaven | Togo, MN

I am returning for my 6th Mid Distance Beargrease, the dogs and I are super pumped to test our skills and training this year. I am a 28 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, Bain Yains 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: Bain Yains

Lynne Witte | McMillan, MI

Lynne is a retired elementary teacher who started skijoring in 2004, running dogs recreational in 2006, and is also a marathon canoe racer.

Experience: Midnight Run, CopperDog80, Yukon Quest 300

Sponsors: Dog Booties Company

Billie Diver | Cloquet, MN

I’ve been racing since I was 7 and currently co-own my kennel of 20 dogs with Richard Loucks.

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race and many races around Minnesota and Wisconsin!

Sponsors: Fond du Lac Reservation, Empire Wool & Canvas

John Ward | Duluth, MN

No bio available.

Experience: Wolftracks, Copperdog 80

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

Mike Hoff | Esko, MN

I am running a team of silver creek kennel canines. thanks to the Wallins for the opportunity to run them. Thanks to all who donate their time for the event.

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race (2010-2016), Can Am 250 (2016, 2017)

Frank Moe | Hovland, MN

Bio coming soon.

Martha Schouweiler | Irma, WI

Martha and son Chad operate Otter run kennel in Tomahawk WI… Irma to be a little closer and Skanawan even more exact. When Martha and husband Mark moved to Tomahawk in 1981 Chad was only a year old and his sister 3. Nordic skiing on groomed trails was on the rise. The Otter run was one of those trails and a favorite. Only the old timers will remember those days, but the dogs of the Otter run kennel over 30 years later must feel their joy of traveling over the hills and through the beautiful woods. Martha & Mark have 3 grown children besides Chad and 4 granddaughters. This is will be Marthas 14th year of racing.

Experience: John Beargrease Mid-Distance Race, Many midwest races over the last 14 years.

Liza Dietzen | Wallace, WI

When I was in kindergarten, my librarian read our class “Balto” and I said I was going to do that (the Iditarod) someday! She didn’t believe me, but that’s okay, she does now! We are 2/3rds qualified to go to Iditarod and hope to finish our last one up soon. The Seney300 is my trademark hat … I don’t know that anyone recognizes me without it! Musher photo by Gavin Gibson.

Experience: Tahquamenon 6 and 12 dog, Jack Pine30, Midnight Run, UP200, Apostle Islands 8 dog, CopperDog 6 and 10 dog, IronLine 4, 6, and 10 dog.

Sponsors: Northern Michigan University, Centerline Machining and Grinding, Jean Kays Pasties and Subs, Benish Consulting and Facilitation

Mike Bestgen | St. Cloud, MN

Still working at Miller Chevrolet in Rogers, MN. Married to Vicki, and we have 4 adult children, and 10 grand kids. No future mushers yet. Started Handling at the John Beargrease some 25 years ago. Ran the 6 dog race, and was hooked. I’ve done the Marathon, and now back to the Mid Distance. Looking forward to heading up the trail.

Experience: John Beargrease Marathon, John Beargrease Mid-DistanceWest Yellowstone Rodeo Run, Up 200, Midnight Run, Apostle Island, Gunflint Mail Run, Copper Dog, Iron Line

Recreational Mushers

Junior Mushers