About Us - Mark
& Karen Ramstead
Mark and I got our first Siberian Husky from Jackie and Chris Marshall of Meomar
Kennels in Invermere, BC in 1988. At the time Mark had been offered a job in Grande
Prairie, Alberta and wanted to pull up our stakes in Calgary and move. I wasnt keen
and as a bribe, he offered to buy me a purebred dog. It worked. I spend the next 3 months
researching the different breeds of dogs and deciding what I wanted. In a strange twist of
fate, within 3 weeks of deciding that it was a Siberian Husky that I wanted I ended up in
Jackie and Chris dog yard on an unrelated matter! Before leaving that day, I made
arrangements to purchase Meomars Miss Liberty, a 2-year-old black and white bitch.
Six months later, in December, I went back to get Libby bred. Come on, Chris
said, come on a training run with me. We double sledding behind a 14 dog team
and I remember every second of it! I seriously felt things clicking into place
this was IT for me. In February, our first litter was born. We kept 3
pups from that litter, enough for a team. They went on to become Ch. NorthWapitis
Bravo TT, NorthWapitis Charlie CD, SD, TT and NorthWapitis Alpha CD,
I well remember the night in the winter of 89/90 hooking up Libby and the 3 yearling pups
and going on a 1-mile trip around our subdivision. It took 1 hour, Mark and I took turns
riding and running beside the sled, but it was heaven! The following winter Meomars
Blunder came to live with us. He really turned our team around with his serious, focused
In looking for a stud for Libbys second litter, we met the folks who would go on
to strongly influence our lines and become our show ring mentors and good friends, Bob and
Loreen Bridges of Chuchinka Kennels in Prince George, BC. Libbys breeding with Multi
BIS, BISS CH. Chuchinkas Shawn Boy SD produced a litter of 7 including Ch.
NorthWapitis S.S. Minnow SDX, TT, Ch. The Professor of NorthWapiti
CD, SDU, TT (Spud), Ch. NorthWapitis Mr. Thurston Howl SDU, NorthWapitis
Gilligan SD, and NorthWapitis Little Buddy SDU. In 1992, we acquired a 10-week-old
pup from Bridges. From the beginning, I knew there was something about this pup!
Breezy would turn out to be very special indeed!
Throughout this time, we continued to run dogs mostly in sprint races. In 1994, Bob
suggested I try a 54-mile race in Quesnel, BC. You can imagine our delight when not only
did I have the time of my life we also WON!! The following year we moved up to
Quesnels 120-mile race finishing in 3rd spot. The next year was an
incredible one for us! In February of 96 we participated, and finished 4th
in the Race to the Sky 300 in Montana a basically, unheard of accomplishment for a
purebred team!!! In May we hit the show ring again. Breezy shocked the life out of us by
taking 2 Group 1sts and a BEST IN SHOW (owner handled of course!). During that
summer she went on to over 1 dozen more Group placings, including a second Best in Show.
She finished the year #6 Siberian Husky in Canada.
The next two years were not as kind to us. We struggled trying
to juggle 2 – full time jobs, the kennel, and other commitments.
Everything suffered. We realized we either had to ‘Go Big or
Stay Home’. So in spring of 1998 Mark obtained a job in
Athabasca, Alberta. We packed up the kennel, I closed my camera
shop, and we moved to Perryvale, a small community outside of
Athabasca. We were now committed and focused on one thing –
Iditarod!!! In 1999, chasing that goal, we went up to Alaska to
run 2 Iditarod qualifiers, the Knik 200 and Klondike 300. I
completed both and the Iditarod was within sight! In March of
2000, I became the first resident Canadian woman and the first
Canadian purebred team to participate in Iditarod.
Unfortunately, I had to scratch from the 2000 race in Shaktoolik,
but in 2001 we came back and accomplished our goal of getting a
big, strong dog team to Nome – finishing the 1151 mile trail in
14 days, 23 hours with 15 of the 16 dogs I started the race
with. Since then I have gone on to participate in another 6
Iditarods, finishing 3 more times.
Our kennel has now grown to around 70 dogs. In addition to our
original Meomar and Chuchinka stock, we also have dogs from Earl
& Natalie Norris (Alaskan), Vivian Delude (Kainai), Karen
Yeargain (Tumnatki) and Bob Chulpach (Chlout) – all blended into
a line that by now is uniquely ‘NorthWapiti’.
We continue to get out to shows. We have finished over a dozen
dogs achieving well over 30 Group Placements along the way, as
well as many placements at National Specialties, both in Canada
and the US.
NorthWapiti dogs are now in working/show homes around Canada,
the US and the world. It is extremely gratifying to us to watch
dogs from our lines do well on the trail, in the conformation
ring and in the obedience ring