Dr. Jerry Vanek is a veterinarian and a canine physioterapeut with many years of experience with hard working sleddogs and their medical problems.

He has been and still is a racevet on multiple sleddog races around the world and holds workshops and seminars worldwide.

He has focused on the sleddog’s most important tool, the harness and has studied harnesses at long distance races.

Jerry is also a founder and an active member of ISDVMA.

Arleigh Reynolds is a veterinarian and specialist in nutrition and physiology for exercising dogs. He has a PhD in both topics and was a professor at Cornell University before moving to Alaska. Arleigh lives in Salcha, outside of Fairbanks, with wife Donna and daughter Mia. Here Arleigh has his kennel and his lab where he has continued his research in working dogs. He keeps an open class kennel and has been in the top of the result lists for several years. Arleigh is a popular and competitive speaker and this is the third time we have the opportunity to take part of his knowledge.

Dr. Arleigh Reynolds is a veterinarian and specialist in nutrition and physiology for exercising dogs. Dr. Reynolds now takes on a new role as the Associate Dean of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, UAF.  Arleigh attended Cornell University, receiving his BS in Biology in 1983, and his DVM in 1986, and Ph.D in 1992.  He then became Board certified at the American College of Veterinary Nutrition in 1997.  His areas of research and teaching extend to Clinical Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, Metabolic Diseases of Domestic Animals, Energy Metabolism and General Physiology. 

Dr. Reynolds is very excited about the new department and the opportunities it will provide for Alaska students. He also looks forward to the opportunities that these students will one day provide Alaska especially in rural areas where more veterinarians are needed. Arleigh has been named director of UAF’s new One Health initiative. One Health is a holistic, integrated, multidisciplinary approach to studying, understanding and managing issues related to environmental, human and animal health. The concept has gained momentum around the world in recent years, with scientists and policymakers in the circumpolar North taking special interest in it.

Arleigh is an open class musher and had a very competitive team giving him the victory of the 2013 ONAC and Roxy Wright the victory of the 2017 ONAC.

Brent Sass is a dog musher and an adventure guide. He is a Yukon Quest Champion 2015 and 2019.

Brent is born and raised in Minnesota, but moved to Alaska and made this his home over 20 years ago. After falling in love with the trails of Eureka, AK, Brent took over a homestead established in the 70s and this is where he now lives with his family, his dogs, since 2012.

For Brent, mushing is a way of life and it is the life he’s eager to lead. It gives him a chance to get out and explore Alaska, go places he’s never been and places he’d probably never be able to go without dogs. Most importantly it is all about the dogs and the relationship he has with each and every one of them. Getting to know each dog’s behaviors and personality is what makes it such an adventure. Every day is exciting, whether it is traveling on a new trail or just learning something new about the dogs, there is never a dull moment. This is what makes it easy for Brent to keep moving farther and faster down the trail. Brent’s goals are endless, there seems to be a new one on his list each morning. This is what keeps the whole team driving forward. Goals are important to have in the first place and it’s even more important to carry them out. Brent’s main goals for Wild and Free Mushing have been to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, but there have been, and will be, many other goals surrounding each. Living his own dream and setting and accomplishing goals is what drives Brent every day, along with all of his fan support.


Thomas Waerner is the 2019 champion of both Femundlöpet 650 and Finnmarksløpet 1200. He was born in England and raised in Norway. He moved to a mountain in Torpa, Synnfjell, in 1991 because it was a perfect place for mushing and he had a cabin there. He had begun mushing in 1984 and had been dreaming about the Iditarod since he was a boy. He has been one of the top mushers in open class sprint, mid-distance and stage racing and won his first Finnmarkslöpet in 2013. He was the rookie of the year in the 2015 Iditarod Trail Race.

Thomas says he started with dog mushing at the age of 11 with a Newfoundland dog! “The dogs are a big part of my life. My reason for entering the Race is to have fun and see the great race from the inside!” Thomas is an electrician and owns his own Electric Company.


Jokkmokkguiderna. Matti Holmgren and Stina Svensson runs a tourist enterprise in Jokkmokk with both short day trips and long mountain tours.

How to plan, prepare and carry through mountain tours with sleddogs is the topic of their presentation. Matti also has lots of fantastic photos from the northern wilderness.

Matti is born and raised in Jämtland. Outdoor life has always been a big interest and already as a 14 year old he started to go on longer tours by himself in the forests and mountains of Jämtland. As a 16 year old he did his first longer mountain tour solo with a dog team.
Matti has great respect for the nature and its might. He rather takes the safe way than the uncertain. In 1991 he moved to Jokkmokk to study ecology and in 1995 he started Jokkmokkguiderna.

Stina is born and raised in the southernmost parts of Sweden, called Skåne.
Animals have always been one of Stinas biggest interest. In her youth she spent several years at a riding-school and in the horse stable. Today she has switched from horses to a big pack of siberian huskies.


Per Sverre Simonsen and Hege Ingebrigtsen will show us beautiful photos and tell us about the stage race Norway Trail.

Per Sverre is always seen with a camera hanging on his breast and most of you have seen his fantastic dog images.

Hege and Per Sverre runs Fun Racing Kennel on the mountain side above the city of Narvik.

Hege is the musher and got her first dog, a siberian husky in 1980 and started mushing in 1987. Hege has been racing in sprint and mid-distance since then with lots of champion titles on both snow and dryland. She is 3 times World Champion, 10 times European Champion, 4 times vice World Champion and36 times Norwegian Champion.

Per Sverre is the utility-man and superhandler, president in Handler-Forbundet. He has been around dogs all his life and had a search and rescue dog for many years.

Lars Lindh is a true dogman and a very scilled photographer. He started mushing as a teenager by helping his teacher who had Greenland huskies. He was 16 when he raced his first race Nordic Marathon Nome, a long distance race in the Kiruna Mountains. Lars got his own dogs in the beginning of the 90-s and raced mid distance and sprint and was very competitive with a long row of Swedish champion titles.

Lars spent the winter of 2013 in Canada driving Streeper kennels second team. He had a co-operation with disabled musher Taina Teräs and became European champion in 8-dog sprint 2016 and World champion in 2017.

This year Lars spent a month in Alaska helping out Iditarod musher Mats Pettersson. We look forward to a gorgeous slide show from Alaska and inside Iditarod.

Lars lives in dog crowded Laxforsen with his wife Petra and a bunch of german pointers. Petra is also well known in the mushing community as an athletes delegate in IFSS.

Mushers Dinner & Entertainment with Hobo Jim

Hobo Jim is an Alaskan legend, and in 1992 the Governor of Alaska and the legislature of Alaska honored Hobo Jim by naming him "Alaska's state balladeer.". Music critics have called him..." the Woody Guthrie of Alaska"....." The Bob Dylan of Alaska "...."The Jimmy Buffet of Alaska ".....and the " Ramblin' Jack of Alaska "....But Hobo Jim is none of these..... He is simply Hobo Jim.
For over 40 years Hobo Jim has been known for its hard-drivin', rowdy, backwoods, Alaskan shows. A foot-stompin, stage-breaking, powerhouse performer, HOBO sings his original songs of his life as a commercial fisherman, lumberjack, cowboy, woodsman and even songs of his early days of hitchhiking and freight riding.
Hobo Jim is as much a part of Alaska as Alaska is of him. His songs are sung across the last frontier and his famous Iditarod Trail song is curriculum in the Alaska school system that has inspired many of today's mushers into following that great sport. Legendary arctic/Antarctic Explorer and dog musher Colonel Norman Vaughan once wrote..." the words Hobo Jim and Alaska personify one another, he is the greatest musical treasure we have in Alaska".


Saturday night at Scandic Hotel Ferrum. Included in conference fee.


- Thomas Waerner

- Hege Ingebrigtsen & Per Sverre Simonsen

- Lars Lindh

- Matti Holmgren & Stina Svensson, Jokkmokksguiderna

- Brent Sass

- Dr Arleigh Reynolds

- Dr Jerry Vanek

-Mushers Dinner & Entertainment with Hobo Jim