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Pinedale Online > News > January 2008 > Junior Mushers give back to their Communities
Junior Mushers give back to their Communities
IPSSSDR youth program combines fun and service
by IPSSSDR media release
January 3, 2008

Select students from Jackson, Daniel, Big Piney, LaBarge, Afton, Lyman and Evanston, Wyo., representing grades 3-8, will participate in a sled dog race of their own at the 2008 International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race (IPSSSDR). The IPSSSDR Jr. Stage Stop takes place Saturday, February 2, at 3:00 p.m. during the final day of the race in Park City, Utah.

Host communities for the IPSSSDR are eligible to send two students to represent their towns in this short exhibition fun run. In order to participate in the race, students agree to perform 10 hours of community service work prior to the race, and donate $25 to the nonprofit Uinta County Community Youth Coalition.

The Jr. Stage Stop program was launched in 1999 by IPSSSDR co-founder Jayne Ottman and Jackson Hole Musher Maria Hayashida to broaden the race’s goals and improve the status of youth in our communities statewide. The Jr. Stage Stop provides an opportunity for youth to increase their self-esteem, social competency and community involvement while experiencing philanthropy.

Students do not need their own dogs or previous mushing experience to participate—equipment and dog teams are provided by the IPSSSDR. The 2008 Jr. Stage Stop is coordinated by the Uinta County Sled Dog Race Committee.

For additional information, contact Jill Smith at 307-783-6459 or


1. Caden Garland; 10 years old; Journeys School, fifth grade, Jackson

Caden will be volunteering at the local animal adoption shelter. He will walk dogs; clean cat apartments; feed, water, groom, and play with the animals; carefully observe the animals; and provide office assistance as needed. He loves dogs and cats and hopes to form a bond with the animals that he cares for.

2. Sam Dykema; 10 years old; Journeys School, fifth grade, Jackson

Sam is planning to volunteer at Browse “N” Buy which is a ministry of St. John’s Church in Jackson. He sorted toys and games for children for Christmas and helped with the display of these items. He also plans to help in the food pantry. He considers being a junior musher a great chance.

3. Alex Lang; 10 years old; Journeys School, fifth grade, Jackson

Alex volunteered to help at a local Christmas tree stand in Jackson. He selected this business because of its commitment to giving to those in need and for its assistance with Special Olympics. Alex enjoys math, science, art and writing. He likes to hike and ski.

4. Hannah Holik; 10 years old; Journeys School, fifth grade, Jackson

Hannah chose to volunteer at the Jackson Hole Land Trust. She thinks it is important to preserve land for the future. She likes skiing, painting and reading about horses. Her favorite hobby is riding hunter and jumper horses. Hannah and her mom enjoy competing in horse shows.

5. Isie McLoughlin; 8 years old; Pinedale Elementary School, third grade, Daniel

Isie attends school in Pinedale. She will be volunteering at the Sublette County Library where she will help with story hour, shelving books and dusting. She volunteers to serve dinner on St. Patrick’s Day and she helps the Bronx Senior Club. Isie loves dogs and hopes to become a veterinarian someday.

6. Hope Duncan; 9 years old; Big Piney Elementary, fourth grade, Big Piney.

Hope is from Arkansas, but now lives in Big Piney. She notes that since Arkansas doesn’t have snow, she can’t go dog sledding there; however, in Wyoming where snow is plentiful, she can go dog sledding. She considers this to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Hope will be volunteering in Big Piney.

7. Russell Kenney; 10 years old; LaBarge Elementary School, fifth grade, LaBarge

Russell has an interest in helping people. He plans to help at the Senior Citizens Center and other places in LaBarge. He is excited to be a junior musher and looks forward to meeting the world’s best mushers.

8. Ross Graham; 11 years old; Metcalf School, sixth grade, Afton

Ross will be volunteering at the Animal Humane Association in Bedford. He plans to help the animals at the shelter by cleaning and bathing them and giving them tender loving care. He has studied the Iditarod in school. Ross has a Siberian Husky named Kya.

9. Shelby Shoell; 11 years old; Osmond Elementary School, sixth grade, Afton

Shelby plans to volunteer at All Creatures Great and Small in Afton. She will walk and take care of the cats, dogs and horses; sweep and clean up after them; and gladly perform any other task that is asked of her. Shelby likes new challenges and is excited to be a junior musher.

10. Nicholas Demler; 10 years old; Osmond Elementary School, fifth grade, Afton

Nicholas considered a variety of ways to serve his community. He chose to volunteer at the Afton Police Department helping to sort food from the local food drive. Because Nicholas loves the feeling of cold wind on his face, he feels that sled dog mushing is the sport for him.

11. Hadley Hewitt; 14 years old; Lyman Intermediate School, eighth grade, Lyman

Hadley plans to volunteer at Locals for Locals tying quilts. This non-profit organization helped her family when her dad was injured in an accident. The Hewitts felt good that their community cared so much for them. Hadley wants to make others feel good too.

12. Thomas “Jacob” Walker; 13 years old; home schooled, sixth grade, Lyman

Jacob spent over 30 hours helping his brother with his Eagle Scout project. Jacob is an Eagle Boy Scout. He would like to learn everything there is to know about mushing, including the sleds, but especially the needs of the dogs.

13. Meghan Haukaas; 12 years old; Davis Middle School, seventh grade, Evanston

Meghan spent her 10 hours of community service ringing the bell for the Salvation Army; helping to wrap Christmas presents and stuff stockings; and helping with the Christmas dinner and party at the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston. She and her family take care of stray dogs because they want them to have a good home.

14. Cord Lowry; 9 years old; Aspen Elementary School, fourth grade, Evanston

Cord will volunteer to help with tasks at the Uinta County Fairgrounds and the Uinta County Complex. He loves dogs and the wintertime. Cord used to pretend to be in the sled dog race by harnessing his stuffed dogs and imagining being pulled across the snow. Now, he is excited to be a real junior musher.

Related Links
  • - IPSSSDR official website
  • Pinedale Online > News > January 2008 > Junior Mushers give back to their Communities

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