Power couples: Familiar faces swap partners for Iron Dog 2020
15 teams take advantage of early registration
ANCHORAGE – More than 15 Pro Class teams took advantage of the early registration draw lottery for the 2020 Iron Dog. Included in those teams are former champions who are now running with different teammates.
2019 champs Chris Olds of Eagle River, 48, and Mike Morgan of Anchorage via Nome, 34, were the first to sign up for the 2020 race, and plan to defend their 2018 and 2019 titles again riding Polaris snowmachines. Olds has four Iron Dog championships, while Morgan has two.
Also back for the 2020 race are 2016 champs Tyson Johnson and Tyler Aklestad, but with new partners. Johnson of Eagle River, 40, will race with Brad George of Wasilla, 25. George finished second last year with teammate Adam Drinkhouse. Aklestad of Palmer, 34, is paring with Nick Olstad of Wasilla, 37. Olstad has three Iron Dog championships under his belt. Both teams will ride Ski-Doos.
Olstad’s long-time partner, Todd Minnick, is also returning to race in the 2020 Iron Dog after a brutal leg injury last year near Nikolai, but has not announced his partner yet. After multiple surgeries and months of rehab, Minnick is confident about his return to racing following a collision incident with Aklestad during a whiteout en route to the McGrath checkpoint.
The first 15 teams that signed up now have the advantage of drawing for the first 15 start positions. Racers will draw their start positions in Fairbanks during the pre-race banquet and will leave in their assigned order at 11 a.m. on Feb. 16 from Pike’s Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks. Racers will travel to Kotzebue, then Nome before finishing Feb. 22 at the Willow Community Center in Willow.
The 2020 Pro Class route effectively reverses the traditional course used in year’s past, and with a loop north from Koyuk toward Kotzebue then back to Nome, racers will travel a total of 2,409 miles in the 37thrunning of the Iron Dog.
The Kotzebue loops adds more than 375 miles to the course, and follows much of the Archie Ferguson/Willie Goodwin Memorial snowmachine race course. Added checkpoints for 2020 include Buckland, Kotzebue, Noorvik, Kiana and Selawik. The Willow finish line is also a new venue for the Iron Dog.
Recreation Class riders will leave Feb. 14 from Fairbanks and end their ride four or five days later in Nome, bypassing the Kotzebue loop.
Registration for Pro Class closes Oct. 31, 2019.
The Iron Dog board is comprised of the following members: Roger Brown, North Pole, President; Doug Dixon, Anchorage, Vice President; Keith Manternach, Anchorage, Treasurer; Jake Goodell, Anchorage, Secretary; Ginny Emmons, Nome; Steve Mattila, Anchorage; Micah Huss, Big Lake; Dennis Falldorf, Anchorage; Unch Schuerch, Wasilla; Danny Gueco, Wasilla; Howard Thies, Fairbanks; Dusty VanMeter, Kasilof; Claude Wilson, Kotzebue.
To register, or for more information, please browse www.irondog.org.
Iron Dog, Inc. | 7100 Old Seward Hwy, Ste C, Anchorage, Alaska 99518 USA
The Iron Dog race is a world-class snowmachine event that crosses the state of Alaska each February, impacting over twenty-eight Alaskan communities. The Iron Dog teams race from Fairbanks to Nome and finish in Willow. Racers travel over 2,400 miles of Alaska’s most remote and rugged terrain while surviving the harsh Alaskan winter conditions and sub-zero temperatures.
Iron Dog, Inc. is a proud leader in the community promoting snowmachine safety and outdoor education through trade shows, seminars and community events. Iron Dog, Inc. conducts yearly successful student exchange programs and through its annual raffle has donated nearly $250,000 to Alaska charities since 2011.
2020 Iron Dog early registration pro Class teams:
First Name Last Name Hometown State Make of sled Status Team number
Mike Morgan Nome AK Polaris Veteran 10
Chris Olds Eagle River AK Polaris Veteran 10
Zackary Weisz Wasilla AK Polaris Veteran 5
Brett Lapham Willow AK Polaris Veteran 5
James Tre West III Nome AK Ski-Doo Veteran 36
Daniel Stang Nome AK Ski-Doo Rookie 36
David Spain Willow AK Polaris Rookie 19
Travis Temple Soldotna AK Polaris Rookie 19
Andrew Gumley Wasilla AK Polaris Veteran 49
Klint Vanwingerden Wasilla AK Polaris Veteran 49
Konrad Schruf Wasilla AK Polaris Rookie 24
Luke Schruf Wasilla AK Polaris Rookie 24
Nick Olstad Wasilla AK Ski-Doo Veteran 7
Tyler Aklestad Palmer AK Ski-Doo Veteran 7
Kazimir Cizmowski Healy AK Polaris Rookie 21
Zachary Cizmowski Healy AK Polaris Rookie 21
Robby Schachle Big Lake AK Polaris Veteran 39
Cody Barber Wasilla AK Polaris Veteran 39
Christopher Collins Kotzebue AK Ski-Doo Veteran 34
Jesse Crumbley Kotzebue AK Ski-Doo Rookie 34
Tyson Johnson Eagle River AK Ski-Doo Veteran 6
George Brad Wasilla AK Ski-Doo Veteran 6
David Wagner Arnold CA Polaris Rookie 11
Pat Daniels Big Lake AK Polaris Veteran 11
Jeremiah Vanderpool Fairbanks AK Ski-Doo Rookie 24
Jerad Vanderpool McGrath AK Ski-Doo Rookie 24
Bryan Leslie Wasilla AK Polaris Veteran 14
Casey Boylan Palmer AK Polaris Veteran 14
Kelly Sommer Nulato/Fai AK Polaris Veteran 32
Douglas Patsy Nulato AK Polaris Rookie 32