Meet Your Hosts
Your tour experience will be with real mushers,
Iditarod and Quest finishers.
Vern has completed 18 Iditarod Races and 6 Yukon Quests. He is a Quest Champion and a multiple top five/top ten Iditarod finisher. He has logged well over 300,000 miles of racing and training sled dogs.
Vern grew up on a farm in South Dakota and came to Alaska forty years ago right out of law school. He worked for the State of Alaska as a law clerk, a magistrate judge and a public defender but sled dogs became the center of his life. His friend David Monson, who married four time Iditarod Champion Susan Butcher, inspired him to run his first Iditarod.
Vern is the current Mayor of the Mat-Su Borough, an area the size of West Virginia with a population over 100,000. The Borough is run by a seven member Assembly with the Mayor as the leader. It has 19,000 school students, a half a billion dollar budget and is responsible for roads, fire fighting and ambulance service.
Susan was awarded the “Challenge of the North” award (best care, best musher) for her rookie race in the 1987 Yukon Quest. She is also a multiple finisher of the Iditarod. She was the third woman to complete both the Iditarod Race and Yukon Quest. Susan has run the Wyoming Stage Stop Race many times along with numerous 200 and 300 mile races here in Alaska. She likes to be by herself with the dogs in the wilderness.
Susan graduated from Michigan State and originally taught school here in Alaska. She graduated from Alaska’s police academy and was a police officer in Unalaska / Dutch Harbor. Susan graduated from veterinary school at Washington State. She has practiced veterinarian medicine for many years now and she is also certified as a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist for sled dogs. With Susan and our Vet Clinic, the dogs at Dream a Dream are in very good hands!
Susan is a crafter and loves to spin, knit, and weave. She works with wool and often adds our dogs’ hair along with other fibers. Susan also does woodworking with her lathe. You will find Susan in her basement workshop most of her spare time. Walking in the woods is also a favorite past time for her.
To date, Cindy is the only female (1 of 3 people) who have both summited Mt. Everest and completed the Iditarod.
Driving our Dream a Dream Dog Team, Cindy completed the very tough 2015 Iditarod winning the Red Lantern Award. In the 2017 Iditarod, Cindy won her second Red Lantern Award, and broke the fastest Red Lantern finishing-time, in the 45-year history of the race, by more than 25 hours!
Cindy summited Mt. Everest in 2010 after she found out she had a rare disease – Wegener’s Granulomatosis. She now races the Iditarod to raise awareness of rare diseases which often go undiagnosed. Cindy and her husband Larry are recently retired Professors from Cal State Fullerton.
Challenging herself and others by being out on the Iditarod Trail in March each year is now part of her life. Our sled dogs simply love her! She is a great role model. You can learn more about her at www.reachingbeyondtheclouds.com.