meet the musher
Damon Ramaker is the owner of the Deep Root Kennel hailing from the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota, where a team of 16 dogs running down the road is met with looks of bewilderment and curiosity. He lives with his wife, 3 children, and many dogs in a yurt they built in 2016 near Wykoff. Damon's full-time occupation is as an emergency department nurse at St Marys's Hospital, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, for the last 11 years and prior to this, he worked at Fairview Medical Center in Minneapolis. Damon and his family founded a Deep Root CAUSE which is a 501(c) non-profit, in 2018 and focuses on helping others discover their strengths and potential through inspiration, education, empowerment, and experiences.
While dogs have always been part of Damon's life, his interest in dog-powered sports started in skijoring with his rescue and hunting dogs in 2007. Damon spent the last 10 years learning and working with 15-time Iditarod race finisher Cindy Gallea from whom he caught the mushing bug. On their first encounter, she warned him that once you step on the runners of a sled, there is no turning back. She advised him to consult his wife before doing so. His wife only wishes she would have fully understood the financial and time impact of this decision, which she thought was inconsequential at the time.
Damon and his team completed the 1049 miles of the 2020 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 13d 20h 28m 37s. They also have run the Gunflint Mail Run 100 in Grand Marias, MN (2018, 2019, 2022), Race to the Sky 300 in Lincoln, MT (2018, 2019), John Beargrease 300 in Duluth, MN (2019, 2022) and the Percy De Wolfe 200 (2019) in Dawson City, Yukon.