2004 Iditarod Sketch Pad

Jon & Jona Van Zyle's exclusive sketches, stories from the trail

Lighting the way
2004 Iditarod Poster
Jon Jona Van Zyle
Jon & Jona Van Zyle
Sneaking Out
2004 Mush Poster

Visit Jon Van Zyle's Iditarod Art

Main Page Meet Jon & Jona Introduction Bootie Call Drop Bag Delivery Day Vet Check Jr. Iditarod
3/7 Iditarod Restart 3/8 Trail Notes 3/9 Rohn to Takotna 3/10 Takotna a.m. 3/10 Takotna p.m.
3/11 Takotna 3/14 Unalakleet 3/15-16 Unalakleet 3/16 Unalakleet
3/17 Unalakleet to Nome 3/19 Nome 3/20 Nome Finish Line Group Photo
Jona's Reflections

3/4/2004 - Ellie’s team and race background

Ellie's Team | Ellie's Race Background

Ellie's Team

Vanilla Bean- “Nilla” 8 years old
Pup from Martin Buser’s kennel. Has led for Ellie from her 1st Jr Iditarod in 2000 when she was 14 yrs. old, to her win in 2003. Nilla is her go-to main man.

Romeo- 6 years old
Leader. Veteran of 2 Iditarod’s from Jeff King’s kennel, ran on Cali’s 2003 team and Jeff’s 2002 team. Romeo is a “hard keeper” meaning a finicky eater.

Bismark- 3 years old
Leader. Jeff King dog from Cali’s 2003.

Canyon-3 years old
Leader from Susan Butcher’s kennel ran with Ellie in 2003 for Jr. Iditarod victory and 2nd place in the 2003 Yukon Quest 250 mile.

Daisy-1 years old
Leader from Ellie’s own kennel-young but really great girl.

Team dog. Littermate from Ellie’s kennel.

Zephyr-4 years old
From Ellie’s Wind litter. Completed three Jr. Iditarods plus our recreational Nome trip.

Mendi and Asosa- 3 years old
Littermates from Ellie’s own breeding program named after villages in Ethiopia where Ellie volunteered for a summer with a youth teen missions. This is their first year of racing.

Talus and Tiga 3 years old
Littermates from Ellie’s kennel. Veteran team dogs.

Hardtac-7+ years old
Team dog originally from Joe Garnie’s kennel in Teller. Then Jeff King’s kennel. Veteran of 3 Iditarod races. The happiest most upbeat dog always ready to work. Diagnosed with mass cell cancerous tumor in fall of 2003 a couple of months after Ellie purchased him. He had major surgery, had his coat shaved, bounced back from it all, caught-up with training-finished the 300 mile qualifier in Michigan in mid-December and is on her Iditarod team for 2004.

A funny little elegant tiny female pup from Doug Swingley’s kennel.

Banjo- 6 years old
Leader from Hans Gatt’s kennel 2X Yukon Quest Veteran.

Mendoza- 6 years old
Leader from Hans Gatt’s kennel from his winning Quest team.

Race Background

Ellie feels the 8,000 mile road trip to Michigan and back was a real bonding experience for her and her team. Being 17 yrs. Old, she was unable to compete in Alaska’s 300 mile qualifiers.

Because of her Jr. Yukon Quest wins in 2001 and 2002, the Quest race committee let her run the 2003 Quest 250 in which she finished in second place and was Rookie of the Year.

Not only did she have to drive to Michigan-she had to appear at the required Rookie meetings on Dec. 6-7, 2003, then fly to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to catch up with her grandparents and her training partner Maegan Mackey and her 24 dogs. Maegan and Ellie each ran a 12 dog team finished 2nd and 3rd behind a Swingley leased dog team.

Other experiences that Ellie feels have helped her team jell are letting her dogs free run in her fenced dog yard, like we’ve always done. She and Maegan also bring dogs into their home for sleep-over. Each dog has that special one at a time and bonding.

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For more information about Ellie and her home at Ultima Thule Lodge you can visit their web site at www.ultimathulelodge.com

More information about Ellie Claus can be found on the Iditarod web site www.iditarod.com

Sled Dog Central

2004 Jon & Jona Van Zyle
All material in the Iditarod Sketch Pad remain the property of Jon & Jona Van Zyle and may not be reproduced in any manner.