John Baker, 38, was born and raised in Kotzebue, Alaska. His interest in sled dogs began at the age of sixteen yet a racing career was put aside while Baker, a commercial pilot, flew for and managed the family’s air taxi business in Kotzebue. Finally, in 1992, he decided it was time to pursue a dream he had always longed for and began to build a kennel of sled dogs with the goal of winning the Iditarod. Baker raced his first Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 1996 and has been a top finisher each year since.
He has worked hard toward accomplishing his aspiration and says, “The harder I work the closer I get to reaching my goal and having my vision become a reality. When I’m out on the trail–just me, the dogs and the moon, and we’re moving closer to the finish–I feel their power and that gives me strength. That’s what its all about.”
Baker is proud of his Inupiat heritage and the overwhelming support he receives from family and friends all across the state. Besides running with his dogs, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Iva, and son, Alex, who both share his commitment to their team. When Baker isn’t running his dogs he enjoys visiting schools and talking to young people about setting goals and following their dreams.
When he shares his dream with the students he says, “My dream is to win the Iditarod and while I’m on the trail I rely on that vision to keep me focused and give me the strength I need to travel each mile of my journey. But even if I don’t walk away with the trophy, I am still a winner-I dream. I try. I win.”