Here at Seavey’s Iditarod Racing Team our focus is on our family, both human and canine. We are home to five Iditarod racers over three generations and 100 champion sled dogs. Since Dan and Shirley moved to Alaska in 1963, the goal has been to win the Iditarod while working together as a family. Mitch is now the main racer, but his mother Shirley still helps prepare meals and gear for the races, and youngest son Conway (now 14) is out cleaning up and walking puppies every day. All four grandsons, Danny (29), Tyrell (27), Dallas (24), and Conway(15) were home schooled by Janine, and now the three elder boys have finished college, and are back in Alaska racing and leading tours.
Dan and Shirley Seavey moved to Seward, Alaska, from central Minnesota in 1963. They were intrigued by the “Sergeant Preston” radio shows, and came here just to mush dogs. After surviving the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, Dan began to raise and train sled dogs, in addition to teaching high school and serving with the National Guard.
In 1973, Dan Seavey helped Joe Redington, Sr. found the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a 1,000-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. Dan competed in the first and second Iditarod races placing third and fifth respectively. The three weeks spent on the trail to complete those first Iditarod races were huge tests of endurance and fortitude for both the mushers and the dogs.
Dan’s oldest son, Mitch, was a teenager when his father raced in those early races. Mitch helped Dan train the teams in the months prior to the Iditarod start, and his own interest in racing the Iditarod was born.
Mitch Seavey ran his first Iditarod in 1982, placing 22nd. After this race, Mitch and his wife, Janine, began raising a family of their own. As soon as their children were old enough to assist Mitch in his quest to win this elite sled dog race, the family’s attention once again turned toward the Iditarod race.
In 1995, Mitch ran his second Iditarod, and placed 20th. Mitch has competed in every Iditarod race since. He has finished in the Top Twenty in eight of those races. Mitch achieved his life-long goal of winning the Iditarod in 2004, crossing the finish line in a time of 9 days 12 hours 20 minutes and 22 seconds. In 2013, Mitch became the oldest to win the Iditarod at the age of 53 when he came first into Nome for his second championship.
Growing up, Mitch and Janine’s three oldest sons, Danny, Tyrell, and Dallas all raced in the 150-mile Junior Iditarod. They amassed 8 top 3 finishes, and Tyrell won the race in 2001. Their youngest, Conway, has finished 3 Junior Iditarods, and won in 2012. 2012 was a big year for the Seaveys as Dallas won the 2012 Iditarod.
Both Danny and Tyrell ran the Iditarod as they turned 18, and in 2005, Dallas became the 5th Seavey to finish the full 1,150 mile race. Tyrell ran his second Iditarod in 2005 with a second string of competitive dogs and followed Mitch and the ‘A’ team’s 3rd place finish with an impressive 16th. Conway, is already talking about his 2015 Iditarod run, and helps his dad Mitch train the Iditarod A team.
Janine is the “life manager,” coordinating everything from race logistical details and sponsors, to the boys’ home school curricula. In the summer, the family works together at Ididaride Sled Dog Tours educating the public about the Iditarod Race while training their dogs.
Dan Seavey has been mushing ever since he came to Alaska in 1963. His love for history led him to study the old Seward-Iditarod-Nome trail. This interest turned into a passion, and in 1971 Dan began working with Alaskan heroes like Joe Redington, Sr., Tom Johnson, and Gleo Huyck to put on a race across Alaska. After two years of hard work, Dan took to the trail with eleven dogs as one of thirty-six mushers in the very first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973.
The first race was not easy. The mushers and their teams often had to find and break their own trail. Dan, who lead for much of the race, took third. He was instrumental in getting the first mushers safely to Nome. He helped pave the way for the 602 Iditarod Mushers who have followed in the subsequent 38 years.
Dan went on to compete in the 1974 race, where he placed 5th, and in the twenty-fifth running of the race in 1997, in which he took thirty-sixth. Although he has not frequent the trail since those early years, he has remained an important part of the efforts to maintain and preserve the Iditarod National Historic Trail, and he has passed on his love for dog mushing to two more generations of Seavey’s.
Shirley Seavey grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota. She moved to Seward, Alaska with Dan and their three young children in 1963. When they first lived in Seward, the house had no electricity and water had to be hauled form the stream behind the house. The house was heated by a wood stove and there were no glass panes in the windows. They only had one car which Dan would take in to work and the nearest telephone was a drive away located in town.
Shirley has a wonderful sense of humor which helped get her and her family through the early years here in Seward and is a tremendous cook. She used to make 12 loaves of bread to keep the family in sandwhiches for the week. Although she no longer has to bake quite that much, the family still enjoys wonderful home-cooked meals from Shirley’s kitchen.
Mitch Seavey grew up mushing with his father, Dan in Seward, Alaska. As a young boy he learned the art of mushing, and in 1973, helped Dan train for the first iditarod. As Mitch grew older, he became interested in Iditarod himself. In 1982, at the age of 22, Mitch competed in his first Iditarod. He did very well for a rookie, taking twenty-second place.
Following his first Iditarod, Mitch turned his attention to raising his sons: Danny, Tyrell,Dallas, and Conway. In 1995, Mitch returned to the iditarod. However, rather than starting in Anchorage as the racers traditionally do, Mitch starteded in Seward and became the first musher in over 75 years to compelte the entire Iditarod trail from Seward to Nome.
Mitch has competed in every Iditarod since 1995 and has taken sled do racing a step beyond the days of his father. he has worked hard to be an innovator in every aspect of the sport, ranging from dog care to breeding to equipment. These innovations and Mitch’s attention to detail have helped propel Mitch into being one of the most competitive mushers out on the trail. Mitch won Iditarod in 2004 and each year remains a threat out on the trail.
Janine Seavey grew up in Cary, North Carolina where her parents still reside. She moved to Alaska in 1976 in search of something different and to seek adventure. She and Mitch met in 1979 and married in 1980. She and Mitch have four sons: Danny, Tyrell, Dallas, and Conway. The life manager, Janine is an excellent cook and has home-schooled all four of her children. She takes great joy in IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours as she loves giving people a glimpse into her family’s unique lifestyle. She’s enjoyed having a family business as it has ultimately given them more family time together and has provided a unique way to educate her children about the business world and the world beyond Alaska. Having grown up with all brothers and had all sons herself, Janine now takes great joy in having three wonderful granddaughters.
Danny, 29, grew up helping Mitch train and race the competitive teams much like Mitch did for his father, Dan Sr. After his first Iditarod, he studied business and language at the Universities of Alaska, Montana, and Salamanca, Spain. Now back in Alaska, Danny manages IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours in Seward.
Dallas is the youngest person to ever run the Iditarod, turning 18 the day before his rookie race. His main hobby is USA Wrestling and he is Alaska’s first and only national wrestling champion. In April, 2008, Dallas married Jennifer Podzemny, and they operate theWildRide Sled Dog Show in Anchorage. With the help of J.J. Keller, Dallas and Jen have now started their own kennel. Both raced in the 2009 Iditarod.
Jen, 21, grew up as a cowgirl in Montana and New Mexico, but always knew she wanted to run sled dogs. She came to Alaska as a handler in 2006, after producing a picture of her as a little girl with her stuffed animals aligned in front of a radio flyer wagon to make a dog team. We knew then she was dedicated. She’s been working with the Seaveys ever since, and married Dallas in April, 2008. They now run the WildRide Sled Dog Show in Anchorage.
Jen ran her first Iditarod in 2009 finishing 43rd.
Conway, 15, was the late addition to the family. His first blanket was a gift from a family friend that said “Conway Seavey, Iditarod 2015″ and he’s been training towards that goal his whole life. His dog, Eagle, was raised in the house and goes everywhere with Conway, except during races, when Eagle goes with Mitch and is one of the best dogs in the kennel. This past winter, Conway ran a number of junior races and cleaned up, placing first in the Junior Willow 100, Junior T, and several other shorter races.
The only artistic son, Conway also plays the piano, guitar and sings. Check out some of his music at his website: www.conwayseavey.com