JESSIE HOLMES

Originally from Alabama, Jessie spent his youth dreaming of living like Jeremiah Johnson in the woods and living off the land. Jessie was and remains extremely inspired by his grandfather, Gene Richmond who was an avid dog-man, hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman. By the time he was 20, Jessie was making this dream a reality. Throughout his early 20s, Jessie lived all over the western U.S., Canada and finally made his way to Alaska, where he eventually landed in Nenana to settle down with his dogs and start his racing career. He subsequently won the Yukon Quest 300, the Kobuk 440 and began his Iditarod career in which he placed 7th place his first race (2018) making him Rookie of the Year. He has since moved to the premier dog training site in Alaska, the Denali Highway, and started the homestead from scratch along the beautiful Brushkana River. In addition to training and racing Alaskan Huskies, Jessie finds passion and joy in distance running, building up the homestead, hunting, trapping, tending to the garden, and romping around the beautiful country with our Jack Russell Terrier, Rosie. Since moving to Brushkana, Jessie has finished three more Iditarods and will be coming back for his fifth this winter for the 50th anniversary of the big race!

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JULIE AHNEN

I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I enjoyed the winter lifestyle, cross country skiing often with my pet dog Jackson. I was always interested in the Gary Paulson and Jack London stories, and my 5th grade teacher had us follow the iditarod race in school. After graduating college in 2017, I was traveling around and hiking around the western states, and ended up working for Danny Beaulieu and Susan Fleck in the Northwest Territories of Canada where I helped train and care for their sprint dogs. I fell in love immediately and moved to Alaska to chase the Iditarod dream. This is now the 4th year I have worked for Jessie Holmes, helping him train for Iditarod and working with the young dogs. My team will consist of dogs from his kennel where we train on the Denali Highway. Running the Iditarod is the ultimate dream for me, to travel through the interior of Alaska and see some of the most beautiful country in the world with my best friends - the highest adventure and a true test of both body and spirit.

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ANNIE DARGAN

I hail from Charleston, South Carolina and have somehow been blessed enough to have found my home in the great white North with a bunch of amazing dogs and people! I have always loved the outdoors and have lived all over the world searching for home. Moving from Spain to Alaska in 2019 changed my life in ways I didn't even know were coming. I began working with sled dogs down on the Juneau ice fields and immediately was enamored and needed to learn more. This took me to Jackson, Wyoming to run sled dog tours. Sharing that winter with the dogs only furthered my yearning to be with huskies and travel the miles by dog team, so I moved back to Alaska to commercial fish for the summer and start working at a racing kennel. This is when I found myself at Jessie's. Working with the dogs is my greatest blessing yet. The never-ending spirit of these dogs and the peace of the trail have transformed me in inexplicable ways. I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to know, care for and race these amazing dogs!!