Junior, who’s ‘a little energy ball’

a musher poses with a blonde dog outside
Junior and musher Matt Hall at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start on Saturday, March 2, 2024. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

Junior is the youngest dog on Two Rivers musher Matt Hall’s team, and Hall says he’s “a little energy ball.” 

“Kind of like the Energizer Bunny of the team. I guess that’s part of being the two year old,” Hall said. “You know the whole rest of the gang is chill like, ‘Hey, we’ve got 1,000 miles to run.’ And Junior is like, ‘Woah! Woah! Woah! C’mon guys! C’mon guys!’”

This is Hall’s sixth Iditarod, and Junior’s first. Hall names his dogs in alphabetical order, so Junior is from the “J litter.” He has four sisters: Jana, JoJo, Journey and Java. Hall named him Junior because his dad is Dyea, Hall’s main leader.

Hall said he has been training Junior to follow in his dad’s footsteps, as a lead dog. But, for this race, Junior will likely run in swing — the position behind lead — as he learns the ropes from his elders.

“His energy is fun for the old guys,” Hall said. “And we’ll see if he can keep that for 1,000 miles.” 

Junior is part of our “Dog of the Day” Iditarod series. Previously we met Paul, Ralph and Mussel.

Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

Previous articleFormer employee of Dillingham’s Curyung Tribe accused of embezzlement
Next articleWith unease, Anchorage Assembly calls for Israel-Hamas cease-fire