25th Stage Stop Race will be the grandest affair yet

JACKSON, Wyo. — Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race organizers are excited about the 2020 race schedule and total possible payout of $165,000 in prize money. The “Wyoming Stage Stop” enters its 25th year when it kicks off this Friday night as teams race down the snow-packed downtown streets of Jackson as they have every year since the inaugural running in 1996.

Opening night will have plenty of fanfare. Festivities include prize giveaways, a food truck, live entertainment, and new this year – a laser light show!

And don’t look now but you might be caught on camera. To highlight the 25-year milestone, the race organizers contracted with Angelos Media of Park City, Utah to produce a documentary film showcasing this unique event, the dedication of the competitors, and the inspirational relationship they share with their dogs.

Race director Dan Carter noted, “This film project gives us the opportunity to present the story of the Stage Stop Race like never before. The sublime backdrop of the western Wyoming wilderness will, no doubt, be visually stunning and provide the viewer with an up-close, in-depth look into what it takes to put on and run in the Stage Stop Race.”

Cofounder and executive race director Frank Teasley came up with the idea for a “stage stop” race in Wyoming more than 25 years ago. He partnered with Wyoming Public Health in 1996 to bring even more depth to the race.

“This race promotes good health for all of us, and we also have a lot of fun doing it,” Teasley said. “The Pedigree Stage Stop Race format gives spectators remarkable access to the sport and all its athletes — two and four-legged.”

The ceremonial sendoff in Jackson is a chance for fans to get extremely up close with the mushers and their dogs

Race format and course

Some 25 mushers will compete in “stage” format racing for day money, overall payout, and the title of Stage Stop Champion. Hosted by eight western Wyoming communities with race courses spanning seven USFS Ranger Districts, the race routes traverse remote terrain encompassing nearly 250 miles of trails within six major mountain ranges.

2020 Race Dates and Schedule (All stages are 30 to 35 miles)

  • January 31 – Ceremonial Start – Jackson, Wyoming
  • February 1 – Stage One – Alpine, Wyoming
  • February 2 – Stage Two – Pinedale, Wyoming
  • February 3 – Stage Three – Kemmerer, Wyoming
  • February 4 – Stage Four – Big Piney / Marbleton, Wyoming
  • February 5 – Stage Five – Lander, Wyoming
  • February 6 – (travel day)
  • February 7 – Stage Six – Driggs, Idaho
  • February 8 – Stage Seven – Teton County, Wyoming
The 2019 competitor lineup. The last time you’ll see this group standing still. Courtesy: Stage Stop Race

Confirmed competitors for the 2020 Stage Stop Race

The sole local competitor is Bondurant’s Alix Crittenden. Allan Berge is the only other musher from Wyoming. Three Canadian entries make this a truly international event. Easterners? Yeah, we’ve got them as well—two racers from Vermont.

The youngest competitor is first-time stage stopper Elliot Rivest, 15. But watch out for 17-year-old Maria Torgerson, the daughter of longtime musher David Torgerson who finished 5th overall last year; she has mushing in her blood. At the other end of the age spectrum, Jeff Conn may be the oldest competitor at 67, but that didn’t slow him much last year when he finished 4th. Six of the 18 mushers are women.

  1. Lina Streeper, 35 – Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
  2. Austin Forney, 38 – Leadville, Colorado
  3. Chris Adkins, 51 – Sand Coulee, Montana
  4. Tim Thiessen, 36 – Leadville, Colorado
  5. Jeff Conn, 67 – Ester, Alaska
  6. Anny Malo, 48 – Quebec, Canada
  7. Fernando Ramirez, 34 – Peoa, Utah
  8. Alix Crittenden, 32 – Bondurant, Wyoming
  9. Allan Berge, 47 – Glenrock, Wyoming
  10. Linda Pierce, 61 – Okanogen, Washington
  11. Rachel Courtney, 27 – Caliento, Manitoba, Canada
  12. JR Anderson, 40 – Buyck, Minnesota
  13. Maria Torgerson, 17 – Red Lodge, Montana
  14. Elliot Rivest, 15 – St-Zénon, Québec, Canada
  15. Doug Butler, 65 – Middlebury, Vermont
  16. Bruce Magnusson, 56 – Newberry, Michigan
  17. Ben Barrett, 21 – Middlebury, Vermont
  18. Rafael Nelson, 29 – Wayland, Michigan

    In stage stop racing format, the priority is on the dogs and their health. Photo: Courtesy Stage Stop Race

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