Jessie Royer, Chamion Sled Dog Racer

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. - How do you keep warm?
A.
- I dress in layers starting with long underwear such as silk or thermax, polar fleece pants, wool sweater, windproof/waterproof layers that are breathable, gortex bibs and a gortex anorak (a pullover type of parka), a goose down coat for extra insulation if needed; the fur on the ruff on the parka is grizzly bear and wolf; and 2pr of wool socks with wool shoes called Lobens and NEO overshoes (they are light & warm)

Q. - Can you take an alarm clock?
A.
- Most definitely and a loud one.

Q. - How many dogs do you have on your team? (or how many does it take to run the Iditarod?)
A.
- In Iditarod, you can start with 16 dogs and must finish with 5. You can drop dogs at the checkpoints and they will be sent home but you cannot add dogs.

Q. - What are the names of the dogs on your team?
A.
- They are Kuling, Spider, Leo, Slurp, Sawyer, Dottie, Judd, Kate, Maya, Aztec, Bower, Peanut, Cypress, Tetsa, Toad, Muncho, Grace, Annette, and Buff

Q. - What do you feed your dogs?
A.
- They get a very high protein/high fat dog food (I use Purina Pro-Plan); also beef, buffalo, lamb, chicken, fat, canola & fish oils, pork, bacon, wieners, and salmon. They need a lot of calories in a race-over 10,000 calories a day.

Q. - What do you carry in your sled?
A.
- We have to carry a sleeping bag, snowshoes, axe, cooker & fuel, booties, promotional material, vet book, 8 lbs extra food for the dogs, plus snacks for the dogs, 2 headlamps, vet supplies, sled fixing kit, extra dry clothes (socks, gloves, boot liners, etc) 16 dog coats, shoulder and wrist warmers, a cooler to carry dog food and water in, 16 dog bowls & a dipper, a couple of extra harnesses and neck lines in case one gets chewed, my snacks, parka, sunglasses and a walkman.

Q. - How many Iditarods have you raced?
A.
- 2001, 14th place and Rookie of the Year; 2003, 20th place; 2004, 21st place; and 2005, 8th place; 2006, 11th place

Q. - What races have you won?
A.
- Just recently this February (2006), I won a 300 mile race--Canadian Challenge in Saskatchewan; also that race in 1998; La Grande Odysee in France in 2005; and in 1994, the 500 mile Montana Race to the Sky

Q. - How many dogs do you have and what are their names?
A.
- I have about 60 dogs including puppies and young dogs that aren't racing yet. Some of the young dogs are Cali and Phoenix, Jet, Phantom, Missile, Cruiser, Black Bear, Moon Bear, Sun Bear, Grizzly Bear, Charger, Viper, Shelby, Corvette, and Cobra.

Q. - Do you sleep alot before the race?
A.
- I wish I could but there is usually too much to do and alot going on the week before Iditarod starts.

Q. - How old were you when you started racing?
A
. - I was 17 years old.

Q. - How many days does it take to race Iditarod?
A.
- It takes from 9-11 days (some teams may be alittle longer) but that's pretty average.

Q. - Have you ever had hallucinations?
A.
- No, I may get pretty tired but I have never hallucinated.

Q. - How did you get started in racing?
A.
- I actually started putting a team together by putting a horse halter on my border collie and my goat and they would pull a small sled. A few years later, we went to a fun training race for some sleddog teams and kind of got started from there. I got one dog and then a few more. The next year, Doug Swingley asked me to handle for him and his brother Greg. I learned a lot from them. Later, I went to Alaska and worked for Jeff King. I now have my own place in Fairbanks where I raise and train my own dogs.

Q. - What do you do in the summer?
A.
- I have worked the last 8 years with the Riverboat Discovery and at Susan Butcher and Dave Monson's kennel in Fairbanks. I do talks and demonstrations about sled dogs to guests of the riverboat at the kennel. The boat then continues their trip down the Chena River and I meet them at the Athabascan Village where I do more in-depth talks about sled dogs. It's a great way to meet people and educate them on these great dogs and what they can do.

Q. - Are you married?
A.
- No

Q. - What are your hobbies?
A.
- I like horses and hunting. I have a 6 yr old gray mare named Cassie. I love to hunt moose and have even gone caribou hunting in the spring by dog team. I also like to draw and braid when I have time.

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