Recreation People

[UPDATE] Chippewa Falls Native Mid-Pack at Beginning of Iditarod

Dan Kaduce is taking on The Last Great Race right now

McKenna Scherer |

HOMETOWN MUSHER. Dan Kaduce, Chippewa Falls native, arriving to Finger Lake checkpoint – roughly 100 miles from the race's start – before sunrise on March 6. The 51st Iditarod began on Sunday, March 5. (Photos by Dave Poyzer)
HOMETOWN MUSHER. Dan Kaduce, a Chippewa Falls native, is shown with his team on March 4, the ceremonial beginning of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The race officially began the following day. (Photo via Facebook)

[UPDATE ] – Chippewa Falls native Dan Kaduce and his team completed the 2023 Iditarod at 3:23pm local time on Wednesday, March 15. They placed 12th out of the 29 remaining teams, completing the nearly 1,000-mile route in 10 days and 23 minutes. This year’s winner, Ryan Redington, had reached the finish line in Nome, Alaska, the previous day.


Chippewa Falls native Dan Kaduce is no stranger to the legendary Iditarod sled dog race. After a fourth-place finish in 2022 the four-time competitor and 2010 Rookie of the Year is considered a top contender in the 51st Iditarod, which kicked off Sunday, March 5.

Kaduce, 53, moved to Alaska in 1993 but was born and raised in Chippewa Falls, having graduated from Chi-Hi in 1988. He began mushing one year after moving to Alaska and has participated in races in Alaska and Canada since, including the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest in Canada.

Dan Kaduce and sled team at start of race.
Dan Kaduce poses with future mushers. (Photo via Facebook)

As of Tuesday afternoon, Kaduce was in 13th place out of the 33 teams that started the race, though one musher has already dropped out. Kaduce mushes with a team of 14 dogs: Phoenix, Titan, Kimchi, Sushi, Viking, Fried Rice, Manson, Lena, Egg Roll, Bundy, Dahmer, TomYom, Holmes, and Wonton.

In odd-numbered years like this one, the Iditarod follows the roughly 1,000-mile “southern route” from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. According to the official Iditarod website, the first musher is projected to finish this year’s race on about Tuesday, March 14. However, the race only concludes once the final musher crosses the finish line in Nome.

 

Kaduce has collected some honors during his Iditarod career. He won an award in 2021 as the fastest finisher on the stretch between Safety and Nome, Alaska. In 2022, he took home the Leonhard Sepal Humanitarian Award, which is given to the musher who demonstrates the most exemplary dog care and is determined by trail veterinarians and veterinarian judges. That same year, Kaduce also made Iditarod history by placing fourth with his full 14-dog team.

It’s a rare feat to complete the race without dropping any dogs from a team: In fact, the race’s chief veterinarian said that Kaduce’s finish last year was the highest he could remember for a musher with all 14 dogs

“Getting them all here — I’m just crazy proud of them,” Kaduce said of his team after finishing the race last year.

Kaduce and his wife, Iditarod veteran Jodi Bailey – who was first rookie in history to run both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year back in 2011 – own Dew Claw Kennel in Chatanika, Alaska. Their kennel also offers “learn to mush” winter camping trips and dog sledding.

Get a look at Kaduce’s current standings on the Iditarod website.