About Us

Sam and Jess live with their 30(ish) dogs on an airstrip near the Iditarod trail in Knik, AK.  We are currently preparing for Jess to run the Iditarod in March 2019.

Contact Us

Website © 2023 by Tailwind Kennel.  Logo created by Lanie Barsy - www.laniemccarryart.com

Jessica

Jessica Klejka, 28, was born and raised in Bethel, Alaska. She grew up mushing with her six younger siblings and her family’s dog team. Her love for dogs started at a young age and grew with the help of her best friend - a street mutt named Jed.

 

She started mushing small teams from her father’s recreational team, going out with her brothers and sisters while her dad was at work. When she was 12, she became obsessed with dog racing and after watching mushers in the Kusko 300 each year, decided that someday she’d run the Iditarod. Jessica spent her childhood and high school years training with a sibling or two in her sled and entering as many of the local Kuskokwim 300 races as she could. Her first long distance race was the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee’s annual 100 mile campout race when she was 12 years old. She realized that the strongest bond you can ever have with a dog is when you and the dog are out on the trail for multiple days together.

 

While still in high school, she won the Jr. Iditarod and decided she wanted to go to UAF in Fairbanks so she could continue mushing during school breaks, flying home for dog races and dog sitting the Fairbanks local teams. She worked her summers on Norris Glacier for Alaska-Helimush and was lucky enough to take her dog team down with her every summer.

 

After graduating from UAF, Jessica went to Washington State University's Vet School to learn the science and medicine behind caring for and racing sled dogs, and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2016 and currently works at Big Lake Animal Hospital. Jessica enjoys running, hiking, camping, flying with her husband Sam, and caring for their hobby farm of chickens and Flemish Giant rabbits.

Colby Spears - Jr. Musher

Colby Spears (right), 15.  A local Knik resident, Colby has been helping in our kennel and running dogs since he found us at the old treehouse in 2016.  He placed 2nd in his first Jr. Iditarod (and first race ever), and 4th place in 2018.  

Anna Coke - Jr. Musher

Anna Coke, 15.  Newest up and coming musher at Tailwind Kennel.  Her favorite things seem to be: dogs, Burglar, dogs, violin, and dogs.