I’m a little late to the ball game in posting our 2018 race roster. This year, Travis and I went at training and preparing his race team without the help of a handler. Between caring for a kennel of 55 dogs, living off-grid, running a few mid-distance races, and preparing for Iditarod, we haven’t had much time online. In fact, we’ve posted a lot fewer updates about our season this year than we would have liked, but we were so busy living life and running dogs that we didn’t have time to talk about the fun, marvelous adventures we’ve had this season. For that, our apologies!
Our theme this year whether on the trail or off the trail has been “work hard and let your success do the talking.”
This year’s line up is primarily veterans along with (2) two-year-olds.
Krum – Granger
Gremlin – Blue
Havoc – Mongoose
Dolly – Kip
Fidget – Wrangler*
Flo – Zeus
Check – Rowdy
Wanda* – Cash
Meeting Travis Beals’ 2018 Iditarod Team
Krum has graduated to the main racing leader this season. She’s a rock solid dog up front who is frisky, fun, and knows how to get the job done. She’s one of the younger dogs on the team at only 3.5 years old but she finished in the 2015 and 2016 Iditarod with Travis and ran to a 7th place Iditarod finish last year with Ray Redington. When Krum isn’t leading the team, she can often be found lounging on the couch inside. Krum is joined by her sisters Granger and Havoc on the team! I expect Krum and her sister Granger will lead a majority of the race!
Granger is a reliable lead dog alongside her sister Krum. Granger is a very affectionate dog. When she comes inside the house, she forgets her size and pretends that she’s a lap dog. She has her own designated spot on the couch and is perfectly content to come in after a run and sit there for hours — that is until she decides that she MUST lick your face right NOW. In the team, she’s a steady dog who works hard . She’s happiest paired with her sister Krum but is a very laid back dog and happy to run with anyone in the team.
Blue! She’s the young gun of the team at 2 years old. She’s done an impeccable job all season, finishing in every race she’s started without a problem. In fact, she’s so good she can be easy to overlook once she’s in the team because she is so smooth and steady. We expect big things from Blue in the years to come, for now, her primary goal is to get as far along in the race as possible, ideally the finish line. I expect if she has any issues, Travis will drop her immediately due to her age. Though she may be small, this little lady is fierce!
Gremlin is 6 years old and one of the smaller females on the team. She has raced and finished in every Iditarod with Travis. She’s a dependable little dog who works hard and knows how to get the job done. Gremlin loves belly rubs and the occasional stint indoors where she can visit with her sister, Goblin. She’s a funny little dog who is like the energizer bunny: she just keeps going and going. Gremlin typically runs in swing but can lead if called upon. I don’t expect her to do much leading but she gives a boost of confidence to the lead dogs when they know she’s right behind them.
Havoc is a quirky, expressive dog who graduated from Sarah’s 2016 Iditarod team and believe me, she’s come a long way since then! Havoc wasn’t always a hard worker — she’d travel down the trail well enough but she didn’t pull. Not anymore! She’s learned how to work hard while still maintaining a fun, carefree attitude. Havoc stands out for her extremely expressive “Yoda” ears and her gentleness. This lovely lady is a real gem!
Mongoose or “Goose” has always been excited to run every day of this season. He’s put on strong performances in the 2016 and 2015 Iditarod. Now at 4 years old, he’s a dynamite force, a solid leader, and a dog capable of charging the team with an electric current of excitement! Goose is also a dog that constantly makes us laugh. He loves rubbing up against things. He also has a very goofy toothy aligator grin. He’s a little on the shy side and prefers to be around people he knows and works with routinely. At dog mushing events, he’s the dog whose feet you can see sticking out from under the trailer.
A graduate off of Sarah’s 2016 Iditarod team, Dolly is a phenomenal leader and all around go-getter. She’s one of the most excitable dogs in the team. She’s 4 years old and has single led some of the tougher portions of the race thus far. She’s a fun dog but can be a total pain in the butt: she’s good and she knows it and can sometimes be a little ornery with her teammates. I expect Dolly will do big things for Travis on the coast. She’s always been a real stand out to me, though it’s taken time for Travis to come around to her and let her train with his team. I expect she will be the dog he didn’t know he needed on the coast!
Kip, like his brother Mongoose, has been ready for Iditarod all year. Each training run he greats with so much enthusiasm that even though he runs in the middle of the team, we often have to hook him up close to last. His excitement spreads quickly to the other dogs. More importantly, Kip is a steady worker who always gives his best. He’s a gentle soul and a rather agreeable dog so he often runs with Dolly as he can put up with her sassy attitude.
Fidget is THE leading lady, the go-to girl. She has been there every step of the way for Travis in every Iditarod and is the leader he has always been able to count on. When the going gets rough, Fidget gets tough! This amazing lead dog will single lead through the nastiest conditions Alaska can offer and do it with an attitude that says BRING IT ON! This is one tough dog. She’s pretty well known in Iditarod circles because she is THAT good. Travis felt a pang of pride at vet checks when one of the guys on the insider crew asked: “Where’s Fidget? She’s my favorite dog on the race.”
Wrangler is the biggest dog on the 2018 Iditarod team and likely the most lively. This dog loves to show off his excitement by jumping. The only thing Wrangler enjoys more than running down the trail is the snack he gets when he arrives at the checkpoint. Though he’s a whopping 70+ lbs, Wrangler is a gentle giant. He loves giving hugs to people. He is a happy dog, a strong single leader, and is a great puller.
This hardworking girl is a dynamite up front. Headstrong and intelligent, this little leader isn’t afraid of single leading through a storm. She’s a competent dog who is enjoyable to be around and what she lacks in size she makes up for in heart. She’s led most of the training runs this season but is not the main race leader. Flo had a slight injury prior to the start of the Iditarod and given the tough trail conditions I wouldn’t be surprised if she had to get dropped sometime late in the race.
At the dog truck, everyone always wants to know who Zeus is. He’s the supermodel of the dog team with beautiful black and grey fur and stunning glacier blue eyes. A real looker. If there’s a dog getting photographed on our team, it’s usually Zeus. He’s a spitfire in harness and knows how to get the team going. He’s a good dog up front and ran lead a lot this winter. He’s a hard pulling dog who sometimes overexerts himself in his desire to get down the trail. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t see the finish line.
Check is goofy. He’s a happy go lucky carefree dog. He reminds me of someone with headphones in, grooving to their own beat, walking down some city street. Check does his own thing with a smile on his face. He isn’t the hardest working dog in the team but he is the type of dog who will always find the finish line. Check will lead if he has too, but his carefree attitude and march-to-my-own-beat style don’t always make him a good fit up front.
Rowdy is, well, rowdy. Although he is one of the smaller males on the team, what he lacks in size he makes up for in sheer enthusiasm. At the end of a run, Rowdy will be the first dog on his feet saying “WHY ON EARTH HAVE WE STOPPED!” Rowdy will be the dose of pep to the team that they need when the trail gets long and tough.
Cash is a new addition from Wade Marr’s kennel. He ran last year with Wade, though he did not finish. Cash is a peculiar dog. He loves running but often isn’t as expressive as some of the other loudmouths on the team. He is, h0wever, gaining more and more confidence and trust in his teammates and Travis. Cash is 3 years old and we expect that he’ll be twice the dog he is this year, next year.
Wanda is, admittedly, not the best dog on the team. What she lacks in skill, she makes up for because she’s sweet and because Travis enjoys her company. I expect that she will grow into a heck of a dog with age as she’s already done some leading this season.
Which Dogs Has Travis Dropped?
Dogs are dropped on Iditarod for a number of reasons if their musher feels they can’t continue on. If you’d like to learn about why mushers drop dogs, check out our blog post on dropping dogs. Dropping dogs is a part of practicing good dog care out on the race trail: we only want to take those teammates who want to go down the trail and are capable of safely doing so!
Wanda is already back at the kennel. She has been prone to fits of diarrhea all year long while running. We’d thought we’d gotten a good handle on it through changes in feeding and dietary supplements, but apparently not. I know how disappointed Travis must have been in dropping her. Before he left, he knew there was a risk in taking her and thought that some of the dogs he was leaving at home were stronger candidates but “I really like her,” he said. “I enjoy having her on the team.” So he decided to take her after all running dogs is about, first and foremost, the dogs and having fun together!
The second dog he dropped was Wrangler. Wrangler is the biggest dog on the team weighing in at a whopping 72 lbs. His bigger build than his teammates, the fresh snow, and Travis’ starting position was the perfect alignment of bad trail conditions for a bigger dog like a Wrangler. Due to weather, he still, unfortunately, hasn’t made it home but it sounds like he made a late flight to Anchorage last night!