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Florida Teen 42 Days to Train Driver to Alaskan Musher Huskies Save Her Life 2023 Jr. Iditarod

Updated: Jan 21

Sarasota, FL 5/2/23

Florida Native 16-year-old Lacy Kuehl had 42 days to train for the 2023 Jr. Iditarod race in Alaska, a 150 Mile race across Alaska's frozen wilderness and terrain with conditions that can change in a matter of minutes, from Moose encounters to freezing temps of -20f.

Lacy Kuehl had never seen snow or temps below 30f degrees. Lacy would be on Team PETIT, with Nicolas PETIT, a 13-year veteran of the sport of Mushing.

Trainers Artyom Krutikov, Kaiden Foster and mentor Lou Schrader.

On Jan 15th, Lacy Kuehl stepped off the plane and was introduced to SNOW.

The snowflakes were falling, and temps were a pleasant 17f.

Fox News 13 Tampa Bay by Mark Wilson

Jr. Iditarod Race Meeting:

We had the musher meeting at the Iditarod Headquarters the day before the race. I met all of the fellow mushers that I would be racing against. We went over the rules of the race and drew our bibs. I drew bib number 8 but was hoping for 4 since that is my typical racing number.

2023 Jr. Iditarod Lacy Kuehl Bib #8

After the meeting, I got a call from Nic PETIT. He told me to meet him at Knik Bar, so we drove over to meet him. Nic and I talked about race plans and what I would do for tomorrow. We concluded that the plan was to stop and camp for roughly 2 hrs after Eagle Quest, our first checkpoint. Nic told me that around 2.5 miles after leaving the checkpoint, there is a beautiful outlook that goes off the trail where you can look over the river, and that was where I was supposed to camp. After camping, I was to head to Yentna, do my 10-hour mandatory stop, and head back to Knik Lake. I was possibly going to camp, but it would depend on how the dogs were at Eagle. After we talked at the Knik restaurant, he took me on a snow machine with 16 dogs attached and showed me some points on the trail and how to get the dogs not to head home.

Starting Line up at Knik Lake, AK.

2023 Jr. Iditarod 150 miles. 10 hour Layover at (75 miles) Yentna Station.


1 Honorary Musher- Lance Mackey (10:00a) 2 Bristol Huffman (10:02a) 3 Keira Irish (10:04a) 4 Jace Cogdill (10:06a) 5 Emily Robinson (10:08a) 6 Tara Crossman (10:10a) 7 Nelson Wappett (10:12a) 8 Lacy Kuehl (10:14a) 9 Isaac Redington (10:16a) 10 Katie Henry (10:18a) 11 Leif Anderson (10:20a) 12 Tietje Paveglio (10:22a) 13 Makenna Vanderhoof (10:24a) 14 James Shawcroft (10:26a) 15 Ellen Redington (10:28a) 16 Morgan Martens (10:30a) 17 Jordan Bishop (10:32a)

2023 Jr. Iditarod 17 Mushers

Day off race 150 Miles to Yentna Station and back to Knik Lake. Elevations to 3,000 feet Temps in the mild 20f's


Today was the start of the race. I've had 42 days of training and was confident in my team and their abilities to finish and compete with the others. We got to Knik Lake, pulled the sled out of the trailer, and started to organize it more. We added some straw to my sled so I could camp and check over my gear. I was ready to go. I started harnessing some of the dogs and preparing them to be hooked up. Nic, Kaiden, Arty, and I began to booty the dogs 15 minutes before I had to start. I was a little nervous. I knew it would be a long time on the sled, but I trusted in my dogs and the people around me that trained me on what

to do with the knowledge I gained from them. Everyone started to hook up dogs to the gang line. I put on my parka and started to get ready. Everyone grabbed a dog, and we headed toward the start line and headed toward the start. I was ready, and the dogs were ready. I was excited and could tell the dogs were happy and wanted to go.

They told me 5 seconds to go, so I got ready to pull my snow hook and go.

I pulled the snow hook, and we were off. We went about 3 miles, and Isaac passed me. He was faster than me, so I let him by. We made it to 7-mile lake, and I saw two mushers in front of me messing about. They both kept passing each other and slowed each other up. I caught up to both of them, and they both stopped in the trail side by side. I approached them slowly, and then the person on the left told the girl on the right to go. I had a tangle because I had to stop for both of them. I started to fix it and pulled halfway off the trail. Right as I did this, my whole team got tangled. We began to fix our tangles, and I had to fix one of the dog's harnesses since he got all tangled.

Then I continued on my way and came up to another musher. I was faster than him, so he let me by, but when I passed him, he left right away, so his team started to chase me and stayed right behind me. I made it to the hill, and then I got stuck. James ended up helping me get up the hill, and we stuck together for about another 10-15 miles. Nothing happened then, and I left him at the big swamp. Something happened to him. I have no idea what it was, though.

I was alone for about 10 miles until I caught up to another two mushers. I caught up to who I didn't know was Makenna. I was about 40 feet back from her when there was another trail that intercepted ours. A snow machine was coming from the other trail and was going about 60. They never slowed down until about 20 feet before her. She got off her sled and started running, and she almost got hit by the snow machine. It was insane. I asked her if she was ok, and she said yes. Makena and I stayed together the whole way, even till Eagle Quest.

We snacked the dogs and passed another musher. When we got to Eagle Quest, I went in front of her. She had some issues she had to fix.

As instructed, I was to camp out and rest the dogs, so that's what I did.

Two miles after the Eagle Quest checkpoint, I started my camp. I said bye to Makena, put down the straw, and started my cooker. It was so nice overlooking the Yentna River. I watched as my snowmobile team rode up to Yentna Station, the 75-mile halfway checkpoint. I got a bite to eat myself and fed the dogs. I then started to booty them and got out of there. I camped for 2.5 hrs and started on my way to Yentna.

Yentna River, Alaska

I was alone, and it was going dark. The sun was setting, and the temps had dropped to -17f. I had no idea that no other had not rested as I had. We assumed they would. It was super quiet as well as weird. I kept thinking I was closer to Yentna than I was. I was still an hour away and thought I was 5 minutes from the dang place. I finally made it to Yentna and was relieved it took forever.

I got there, put the straw down, started my cooker, then proceeded to remove their booties, take their tug lines off, and switch them to their necklines. I fed the dogs and then laid down my mat and sleeping bag. I crawled inside the sleeping bag and went to sleep beside my big dog, Gold!


The Next Day, after the 10-hour mandatory rest, then 75 miles back to the finish

at Knik Lake.

I slept about 6 hours, woke up, got my stuff together, and snacked the pups. Put their booties on, and we were ready to leave. I got an official Emily so she could guide me on where to go.

As I was leaving, I went to grab my snow hook and tripped and ended up tipping the sled and getting dragged on my size 10 feet. I got the snow hook out from under the sled and left YetnaStation

The team and I were ready. It was frigid, minus -21f. We made it about 2 miles, and I got super dizzy and passed out on the sled. I approached one of my dogs, fixed a tangle, walked back to the sled, and tried to open my emergency tracker. I was confused and dizzy and when I went to open it, I couldn't. I should have cut it with a knife. I got back on the sled and found a trail that looped back. I got the team turned around and told them to return to the checkpoint. They brought me back to the checkpoint with no help.

Shubby and Bandsaw, my lead dogs, saved my life!

There were multiple turns in between there. When I got to Yentna, there was a hill that you had to go up and turn left. When I got there, the sled tipped over, and I got the sled up again while the officials took care of my team. While walking up the hill, I passed out in one of the official arms of Emily Dingus.

She called my dad over, and they carried me into the Yentna station. I woke up confused about how I got into the cabin and what had happened. They started to give me fluid and food and then checked my blood sugar.

Dakota, the race marshal, mushed my team back to Eagle Quest landing so we could pick them up. I flew on a bush plane with one of my dogs, Gold, who I didn't want to run to Eagle Quest. We landed at the Knik airport, and Nic PETIT was there to pick me up.

We chatted about how the dogs were, how happy they were, and what we learned.

"Nic said do you want to try this again?"

My answer is YES. I'll be back for the 2024 Jr. Iditarod.

Shooby and Bansaw BLUE HARNESS AWARD

BLUE HARNESS Award, voted by Lacy's peers for best lead dogs.

In all of his 13 years of musing, Nic PETIT has never had one of his lead dogs receive this prestigious award.

Thank you to the Barrington Twins Anna and Kristy for donating the sled for the Jr. Iditarod

I want to thank the many people that donated their time and money. Without you, all this does not happen.

Huge thanks to all that supported Lacy's journey.

Digital Bros Studios

Tyren Torkelson & family, Mike Dillard & family. Junior Iditarod, Green Zebra Cafe, Team Petit Racing, Tork Memorial Foundation, Alaskan Dogstead Mushing Company, Doug Hestes & family, Mary Pariseau, Diane Coy, Michael Krimsky, Big Lake Family Restaurant, 107.1 KHITZ Big Lake, AK, Big lake Thrift shop (Chris), Nick Means with 49th Eagle PCS LLC, Digital Bros Studios, Janssen Funeral Homes, Matt Brown, Operation Children First, Knik Lake, Sled sponsors The Berington Twins Anna and Kristy, The Villages Motor Racing Fan Club, Kristy, Lacy, and Anna

Lacy's trainers; Nicolas Petit, Kaiden Foster, Artyom Krutikov, sled helpers Doug Sheldon, Josh Robinson, AK Little Dipper Craft, Kelsey Akers, Lou Shrader, Heidi's Italian Bistro Rick Hamm & Rick Partridge, Citrus Speedway Camron Ray & Tony Modica, and the Drive for Diabetes Awareness, INC team Sevin Christian, and long time supporter Curtis Houston.

Drive for Diabetes Awareness could always use more support, so please share their story to help them along in their mission and make a kind donation and share with your community today.

Thanks to Digital Bros Studios for all the philanthropic work you have done and continue to do.

We look forward to seeing the documentary and Lacy's return in 2024 for the Jr. Iditarod.

Stay tuned for the release date of this Documentary,

"From Florida Driver to Musher." Release date Summer of 2023

Also, check out this great news story by Jace Harper ABC 7 Sarasota

My Suncoast ABC 7 Sarasota by Jace Harper

If you would like to support Lacy Kuehl and Drive for diabetes awareness for the 2024 Jr. Iditarod or her motorsports career.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us today.

We are always looking for Ambassadors and partners.

"Drive for Diabetes Awareness."

Media Contact: President/Founder:

Brent Kuehl Email:

Phone: 941-447-5929


©2014- DRIVE FOR DIABETES AWARENESS, INC - 501 c 3 EIN# 47-2243582

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