Two Rivers 200 -Veterinarian's Choice Award
Yukon Quest 1000 -Veterinarian's Choice Award, Rookie of the Year, Challenge of the North
Copper Basin 300 - Humanitarian's Award for Best Dog Care as voted by the Race Veterinarian's
Yukon Quest 1000 - Veterinarian's Choice Award
Yukon Quest 1,000 - 1st
Copper Basin 300 - 7th
ACE 50 - 1st
Solstice 50 - 1st
Copper Basin 300 - 1st
Two Rivers 200 - 3rd Yukon Quest 1000 - 4th
ACE 50 - 2nd
Gin Gin 200 - 2nd
Copper Basin 300 - 7th
Yukon Quest 1000 - Scratch
Solstice 100 - 2nd
Copper Basin 300 - 11th Two Rivers 200 - 3rd
Yukon Quest 1000 - 3rd
Two Rivers 200 - 2nd
Copper Basin 300 - 14th
Top of the World - 9th
It all started when...
Matt Hall was born and raised in the small town of Eagle, located in the Bush of Alaska. Raised by his parents, Wayne and Scarlett Hall, he was submersed immediately into the life of a musher. He had a very sweet, yet modest upbringing, relying on the family's sled dogs for transportation, income, sport and companionship. Everything at the Hall residence was centered around the dogs.
Wayne and Scarlett Hall's interest in sled dogs sparked when a neighbor asked them to look after their dogs while out of town. Scarlett was immediately hooked, ironically it took some time for Wayne himself to jump on the back of the runners. Wayne's fascination with animals soon got the best of him and he hooked up a team for a test drive. From then on out, the Hall's took to the trail via dog teams. Wayne eventually ended up getting the racing itch and competed in the Yukon Quest three times. The family has owned and operated their own tour company, Bush Alaska Expeditions, for many years now.
Matt has been on the back of a sled ever since he was four years old. By the time he was old enough to control his own 8 dog team, his father would take him out to work their traplines. During this time of year the family would bunker down in a dry cabin located on top of American Summit. The trails in this area were some of the most technical trails they would see, forcing them to run their dogs in single file in order for them to fit down the extremely narrow, snow swept paths. Not only were the trails difficult, but Mother Nature was also a force to be reckoned with in the heart of the frozen North and father & son would experience her test of survival skills on more than one occasion. Many a time, an emergency shelter would be quickly fashioned due to unforeseen weather, forcing Wayne & Matt to bunker down on the trail to wade out the storm. Matt was 12 years old the first time this happened.
Once the trapping season was over, they would mush 15 miles back to the town of Eagle with their 40 dogs, then 6 miles over the frozen Yukon River and a mile through the woods to reach home. Here, all of their fruits of labor from the summer and fall months of preparation would be in order. The harvest from the garden would be canned or pickled and set aside in the pantry; the moose and caribou--quartered, hung out and tenderized; the fish that they all worked so hard to harvest out of the Yukon River with their wooden fish wheel would be cut and hung to dry as winter provisions for the dogs.
Matt was about 7 years old when his parents started Bush Alaska Expeditions. When he was 16, he was one of their main tour guides, chauffeuring his passengers through the cold backcountry of Alaska, down jumbled ice trails and overflow of the Yukon River.
By the summer of 2008, when Hall was 16, he started working for Alaska Icefield Expeditions. Hall started first as a handler, but his expertise behind the sled was soon recognized and was later given the chance to mush one day a week. This was the start to a long lasting relationship with the company and he has been working there as a musher every summer since. When Matt started his professional racing career in 2013, AIE was his first sponsor.
Smokin' Ace Kennels started back in 2008 with Matt's first litter of 8 Alaskan Huskies. This was when a true leader was born. Not only regarding Matt's uncanny ability to see the individual dog in a pack of dogs, or his practical mind set that allows him to see the trail end at the start of each new journey, but his main lead dog Keeper was born. The two would become inseparable during the many years of training to follow. The litter of 8, most of which are still racing with Hall to this day, were born and raised in the Bush in some of the best training conditions a musher could ask for. This proved to be invaluable experience come Quest time, when Keeper lead the team through dangerous overflow and open leads of the Yukon, no questions asked.
Matt's first race was the Top of the World 350 in 2012 and then he continued on to run two more qualifiers in 2013 in preparation for the following years Yukon Quest 1000.
2014 was Hall's rookie run in the Yukon Quest. He ended the race placing 3rd and proudly walked away with a handful of awards, but the most prestigious being the Veterinarian's Choice Award. Matt was extremely proud of earning this achievement, for it exemplifies his sentiment for the sport--the humane care and respect he has for his four-legged companions. 2014 was a successful race season for a number of reasons, but mainly because Hall reached his first goal with his kennel--to cross the 1,000 mile finish line of the Toughest Sled Dog Race in the World, The Yukon Quest.
The kennel is located in Two Rivers, AK, The Mushing Capitol of the World. Veteran mushers and new faces of the mushing scene are scattered throughout the neighborhood, making for a fantastic place to train dogs and learn. Smokin' Ace Kennels is now comprised of an A team of racing veterans, a promising B team of yearlings, and two expected litters of puppies on the way!
If you would like to be part of the Smokin' Ace team, click on the Join the Team tab for more details on sponsorship and helping Hall accomplish his goals! Stay tuned by liking our page, Smokin' Ace Sled Dog Kennels on Facebook!