WARNING:  This is only a personal "fan" support page for SP KENNEL and its superb website/blog - Iditarod Trail South and North maps  blown up here.

Photos from SP Kennel as well as vihillsddeo.
Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" video (l).  Ernest Hemmingway's early novel,"The Sun Also Rises" portends 2014 season...So is racing season over yet?  Spring travel plans around Alask blue a for SP Kennel?  Romping in the fields and hills sounds like an idea that works!  The Red Team reaches Kaltag very wet in second place...West Coast here here.  And now, the Blueberry Hills, maybe the most beautiful part of the race.  "Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do" a rock and roll classic - and so the racing season ends (altho' folks in Galina are flooded out by ice melt on the Yukon)...

SP KENNNEL racing season 2012-2013 over but mushing isn't!  SPK HISTORY, where Bettles, AK played a really big role - found on the OFFICIAL SP KENNEL  WEBSITE
We encourage you to visit the official website, which has complete and accurate information about SP Kennel;  our own Iditarod "out-takes" 2013 here;  2012 here.




Musical dishes (turn up the sound)
Uncle Ranger asks Violet if, at 4 wks old in this picture, she was able to grasp these arithmetical concepts.  Downpours, colder weather arrive!!!  Spark at 5 wks.


The Big 'O' (Olivia) and Nacho of SP Kennel are the parents of these eleven puppies, who lived through the danger from a really big wildfire (in the womb) and were dubbed "The Fire Litter."

Just arrived in the mail today from Two Rivers, Alaska...
Birth announcement for ChaCha's newest grandchildren!!!  Violet 2nd from right, top row, center.  Violet's brother "Spark" gets some nose time with Mom.  Still pretty small, FIRE pups get some rest...

Super Leader Olivia with Aliy during this years Iditarod;  next, due date soon;  Olivia thinks "How did my mother ChaCha do this four times?"  For those who might not recall, Dingle and Tug are from ChaCha's first litter (2006), The Car Guys (2007) are from the second one,  Honky Tonk names from the third (2008) and finally, The Outlaws, in 2010.


Born July 20 - July 21, 2013 to Olivia (daughter of ChaCha) and Nacho (son of Zorro) ELEVEN (11) puppies!!!

Crews attacking new wildfire east of Fairbanks
Fairbanks New Miner
Matt Buxton/mbuxton@newsminer.com | Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 5:06 pm

FAIRBANKS — Updated at 11:55 p.m. — An aggressive 350-acre fire sparked east of Fairbanks on Sunday afternoon, adding to an unusually busy late fire season.

The Caribou Creek Fire was reported about 2:45 p.m. Sunday on state land about 24 miles east of the Stuart Creek 2 Fire and just north of the Salcha River.

Initial reports put the fire at around 350 acres.

“The fire is burning aggressively, the situation is unfolding and we have a robust initial attack,” said interagency spokesman Jim Schwarber. “It’s already up to 350 acres and is crowning and spotting with the continuous feeding of fuels.”

The cause of the fire was not immediately available Sunday afternoon, but there were no reports of lightning in the area.

Schwarber said crews deployed a heavy response with multiple air tankers and smoke jumpers because the fire is on state land.

“This fire is receiving quite a bit of attention,” he said. “It is in a full protection area so it’s a fire we respond to with as heavy an initial attack as we have resources for.”

After about six hours of fighting the fire, Schwarber said crews had made “some progress” with fighting the fire. He said the initial all-out attack on the fire will continue through the evening...




Basic planning info on Fairbanks
From WIKIPEDIA page;  photo above from SP Kennel of latest fire in the neighborhood.  According to some other posters on the SP Kennel message board GOOGLE EARTH has this particular fire shown - AS BIG ALMOST AS THE AREA OF WESTON, CT.

Two days after summer solstice SP Team practices howling at the moon...or was that Beethoven again - this time, the Ninth?

News from SP Kennel below, and report in the CT POST at upper right on how it is hotter in CT than Alaska on June 19, 2013.  And SPKennel Mom provided a link to the aerial fire brigade story!

Aircraft play important role in controlling Interior Alaska wildfires
Fairbanks News-Miner via SP Kennel link
Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 8:50 am, Wed Jun 19, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — People living between 15 and 17 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road, as well as those parked alongside the road waiting for the road to open, were treated to an impressive air show on Monday night as the state Division of Forestry employed a squadron of aircraft to battle a wildland fire in Two Rivers.

Retardant tankers, water-scooping airplanes, helicopters slinging water buckets and small, fixed-wing aircraft performed an aerial ballet of sorts as they battled a fire that threatened homes in the area, as well as one of Fairbanks’ finest restaurants, for several hours.

“Oh man, every three minutes there was a chopper flying over,” said Martin Gutoski, who lives on Breeze Road at 15 Mile. “There was no silence between any flight. You always heard the drone of a plane either coming or going.

“They were right over the top of the house, probably only 50 feet higher than the spruce trees,” he said.

Most impressive, he said, was the small, fixed-wing plane that was being used to scout the fire and guide the retardant tankers and water scoopers.

“The spotter plane was the lowest one,” Gutoski said. “They were doing some cool, banked turns.”

The state Division of Forestry used nine aircraft for about six hours to help battle what turned out to be a 120-acre blaze that started near 17 Mile about 5:30 p.m. There were two Convair 580 retardant tankers; two water-scooping CL-215s, known as ducks; four helicopters, at least one of which was equipped with a bucket; and a small, fixed-wing plane to serve as a “bird dog” to guide the tankers and water scoopers in.

“It was a pretty impressive aerial array,” Gutoski said.

Jack Studer was watching the action on the opposite side of the fire at 17.5 Mile.

“Those guys in those water scoopers put on one helluva show,” said Studer, who lives on Little Chena Drive at 17.5 Mile, just up the road from where the fire started on Wright Lane. “They would dip down over Wright Lane, and we could see the steam when they dropped their loads.

“If they hadn’t been around, that place would still be burning,” he said.

It marked the second day in a row that the state has called in heavy aircraft support to help douse wildfires in residential areas on the outskirts of Alaska’s second-largest city. On Sunday, the state responded in aerial force to a 20-acre wildfire on Old Valdez Trail near Harding Lake, about 35 miles southeast of Fairbanks.

Using an aggressive aerial attack in combination with a quick ground assault enabled firefighters to chalk up two major victories. No structures were lost in either fire, and nobody was injured, even though both fires burned right up to the front doors of some homes.

“Bringing in those big guns are a major key at the beginning of these fires,” said information officer Maggie Rogers with the state Division of Forestry. “We’ve been heavily relying on aircraft, in terms of initially taking some of the heat out of fires that are moving fast. Those (retardant) tankers make a big difference.”

The water-scooping ducks, which hold 1,200 gallons of water, and helicopters with water buckets also were effective in battling the blazes, in part because they had a short turnaround times from their water sources. On Sunday, the aircraft were dipping water from nearby Harding Lake, which was right across the road from the fire. On Monday, the ducks were getting water at the Fairbanks International Airport float pond, a 15-minute turnaround, while the helicopters were scooping water from local ponds and lakes in the area of the fire.

Despite being in Kanuti Fire's path, Two Rivers Lodge mostly avoids damage
Sam Friedman/sfriedman@newsminer.com
Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 8:50 am, Wed Jun 19, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Smoke still hung over the Two Rivers area Tuesday evening, but it was a gray, hazy smoke from smoldering flames, a shadow of the thick black smoke visible from Fairbanks the day before.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the footprint of the Kanuti Fire was about 120 acres, measuring no growth since the estimate given Tuesday morning, said Alaska Division of Forestry spokeswoman Sarah Saarloos.

The fire, originally named “Kaouti,” started about 5:30 p.m. Monday and spread west and south from the north side of 17 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road, though it didn’t spread much to the south side of the road.

It is classified as “human caused,” which means it was not caused by lightning, Saarloos said. More specifics about the fire’s cause are under investigation.

The Two Rivers Lodge at 15.9 Mile was in the initial path of the fire, and there were rumors in the first few hours that it was lost to the fire. On Tuesday afternoon, light smoke hung around the restaurant, where the Division of Forestry had set up a staging area in the parking lot. Pumps carried water from ponds outside the restaurant to a series of hoses, and a lone helicopter, a small fraction of the aerial bombardment used the night before, dumped water on hot spots.

Business owners Jon and Kim Burns came by the restaurant with daughter Kimberly Gray to survey the damage. The fire did smoke damage inside the restaurant and also took out a septic system so they estimated it will be at least a few weeks before they can reopen.

Despite the losses, the family was in relatively good spirits, joking about serving dishes that had been “smoked” by the fire and a fire photograph that also showed a sign advertising their Father’s Day barbecue buffet.

The fire left the business’s road sign untouched despite raging between the road sign and the business. It also spared an American flag put up on Flag Day and blooming flowers in hanging baskets, though after feeling the soil, Kim Burns said it looked like they needed some water.

“I thought, as old as this building is and as dry as it is, it ain’t going to be here when I get back,” Jon Burns said.

“Those firefighters did an amazing job to save this place. They deserve all the credit they can get and more.”

A day before, they had been preparing for a party of 17 and another party of 11 coming in from a rafting trip when the fire began blowing their way.

About that time, they got a call from a customer who wanted to know if the dining room was open and didn’t seem to care much about natural disasters.

“I go, ‘Well it is right now, but there’s kind of a big forest fire coming down towards the place so I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be open,’” Jon Burns said.

“They go, ‘But the dining room is open, right?’ I said, ‘Yeah, sure, why not.’”

They’re not sure if the customer came by, because a few minutes later the fire got much closer and the Alaska State Troopers ordered everyone to leave the area.

NOTE:  Photo of grizzly from our files.

Grizzly bear sightings prompt state to close Angel Rocks trail
Fairbanks News Miner
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 4:15 pm | Updated: 7:16 pm, Mon Jun 17, 2013.
Tim Mowry tmowry@newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS - A popular trail in the Chena River State Recreation area east of Fairbanks was closed Sunday night after rangers received multiple reports of grizzly bears on the trail within a mile of the trailhead.

The gate to the Angel Rocks Trail at 49.5 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road was closed at 8:30 p.m. and signs were posted alerting people about the bear sightings, ranger Nikki Potter with the northern region of Alaska State Parks said. Troopers and park rangers received “at least” six reports of bears on the trail, she said.

“People identified them as a sow with one or two cubs on the trail within the first mile,” Potter said.

All the reports she got were that the bears were grizzlies, she said. The bears did not act aggressively or defensively.

“There were no bluff charges or anything I heard of,” Potter said. “Nobody has been injured and I don’t want that to happen so I closed the trail for a couple of days.”

The trail will remain closed until the bears move on and rangers feel it’s safe, she said.

Alaska State Troopers received multiple reports about the bears Sunday afternoon but Potter, who was dealing with a wildland fire near Harding Lake, didn’t hear about it until about 3 p.m. She and an Alaska State Trooper responded to the trailhead at around 8 p.m. Sunday and talked to a group of hikers who had just come off the trail.

“They said the bears were just down the trail,” Potter said. “They walked down the trail, saw the bears and were coming back.”

The ranger and trooper didn’t investigate further and instead Potter closed the gate to the trailhead parking lot and posted signs saying the trail was closed due to bear activity.


Two-legged and four legged Grandmas are happy to be back together!

"SPIN" cycle this summer!  That stands for "SP (Kennel) Interesting News" and so far we've learned about the summer academic testing for sled dogs, Chemo, Waylon, Viper, Honda, Rambler, Nelson, Lester, Tug, Dingle, Beemer, Spicy, Spoog, Scooter, Willie, Outlaw and Boris  Younger dogs, mature dogs and very experienced dogs in this group. Of the sixteen participents, we count twelve children and grandchildren of ChaCha!  They'll help out the research of professors from lower 48 university (Oklahoma).

If winter in Alaska means very little sunlight, then summer in Alaska means...very little nighttime!  How many Alaskan Huskies does it take to make a lot of noise?

Read story of SP KENNEL effort here.

Flooding tests the people of Galena
Fairbanks News-Miner
By SAM FRIEDMAN sfriedman@newsminer.com | Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:13 am

FAIRBANKS — Everyone who’s been through this week’s flood in Galena has a story about the experience. For the man who’s cooking for most of the relief workers, the story involves 10 hours spent on a homemade raft with his wife, two Saint Bernards, a Rottweiler and two cats.

Rand Rosencrans has lived in Galena about 15 years and is the cook at the Galena Interior Learning Academy. Until it was wrecked by the flood, he owned the only Harley Davidson motorcycle in the remote community of about 400 people.

On Monday, Rosencrans built a raft out of 2-by-12s, Styrofoam insulation and timber screws when he heard rising water washed out the road between his home and the airport.

The raft was about 21 feet long by 15 feet wide and was able to support about 1,500 pounds in passengers and gear.

“I built it quickly. It wasn’t built for longevity or to be towed; I built it strictly for buoyancy,” he said.

The water continued to rise the next day, reaching ankle and then knee level inside the house. Fumes from diesel spilled by the flood also worsened so Rosencrans, his wife and all the animals tied the raft to the house and got on.

For the first few hours, the raft setup looked like it would work. They had 20 gallons of water and plenty of Meals Ready to Eat. Neighbors were passing through the neighborhood from time to time on boats.

“They evacuated the elders and the kids, but we were going to try to float it out for a while,” he said.

The water level eventually reached a depth of about 4 1/2 feet inside the home. It knocked the garage off the foundation and washed away a guest cabin, he said. A major surge of water came through “like a wall of water” and snapped several phone poles closer to the river. 

Their radio had run out of batteries, but Rosencrans was able to summon help by firing three shots with a .44 pistol.

Another Galena resident brought them a new radio and a helicopter started to come down to help until Rosencrans urgently radioed the pilot and asked him to be careful.

“The chopper came over and I gave them the thumbs up and I think they thought I wanted them to lift me,” he said. “He came down toward us and I thought he was going to break our raft up.”

Rosencrans credited fellow Galena residents Charlie Green and Ed Thurmond with coming to his aid during the flood.

“Those guys are true river boat people,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for them I don’t know what we would have done.”

Thurmond brought Rosencrans, his wife and the animals to Galena’s former Air Force station, which now contains the civilian airfield and the boarding school, the only dry place in town. There, an Air National Guard C-130 took them to Fairbanks.

Rosencrans didn’t have long to rest away from the flood area. School is out of session, but Rosencrans’ kitchen and the nearby dormitories at the Galena Interior Learning Academy are being used for the cleanup and reconstruction effort. Rosencrans is back at work cooking three meals per day for hungry workers.


Older photo
Pingo was enjoying birthday cake today, perhaps, and relaxing with his 2-legged and 4-legged family!

L-R:  Meghan, Aliy, Allen and Moira
Happy trails to all and have a great summer!  Much less activity in the Spring as 4-legged team members, some with a much as 5000 miles on their paws, wind down.  Some will be starting new families, all will be playing in the sun and enjoying the life of normal, everyday dogs - maybe even playing "fetch" or chasing chipmunks or even wrestling in a friendly fashion with eachother...and now it is time to start finding out who has had a new family!!!

Back to K-8 school!  ChaCha is all dressed up in her best coat for the lecture...then strips to racing outfit, and checks out her grandchild (???).

The question asked (l) is "Would you like to be a musher?" 
ChaCha counts the "yes" and  "no" votes for Aliy - then it's off to the gym and ChaCha goes to work...and on Mother's Day 2013, ChaCha acts motherly!!!

Doing P.R. for mushing and dog-friendly hotels...SP Kennel -WOOF!!!

At the "Dock at the Block Party" - Dingle and Honda salute the U.S.S. Anchorage, which they thought was bigger than some mountains they've seen!. 



Building community 4 legs at a time - WOOF!  ChaCha in the mix as racer and grandmother!!!

Just when ChaCha thought she was no longer needed...another racing opportunity!
We noted that there would be competitive racing for all age-levels this last weekend in March, for 2-legged and 4-legged participants!  I didn't think ChaCha would be asked to participate, but I was wrong!  Woof, woof, woof!!!  "Someone has to teach the youngest among us the 'rules of the road/trail'" ChaCha opined;  above, Scruggs asks Scout - "Next year, how about trying out for 'musher' positions?"


Did SP Kennel field more than one team?  YES.  Scout looks happy (see story above), Scruggs reveals his feelings...wants to be a "bad" boy next season and rock the yard!!!


Similar version of photo was subtitled by Sheep Mountain "still perky and ready to run" - Ranger had just asked Beemer "Were we in a race?"  Considering that Beemer has approx. 5000 miles on his paws this season, and thus more competitive experience 2012-2013, his answer was "Hey, Ranger, until we know the line ups, we're saving our best stuff for the Two Rivers Funale!!!" 
As it turned out, the Car Guys didn't run in the "Funale" but instead were on the team in Bettles that did a two-day speed race.  This is not the usual strength for SP Kennel dogs, as they do distance races...however, as reported on the SPKDOGLOG:

Pingo happy to find out about Bettles trip!

Allen and Aliy just came home from the last race of the season: The 34th Annual Koyukuk River Championship.

The race was a two day sprint race held during Spring Carnival in a village just north of the Arctic Circle. Two villages hosted the event. Allakaket, which is an Athabascan Indian village on the Koyukuk River (population 100) and Alatna, a smaller Eskimo village, on the other side of the river (population 35.)

Aliy spent many of her formative years of dog mushing in and around this area nearly 20 years ago. In fact, her first dog race ever was an Allakaket Christmas Race. Many of the dogs in the kennel today are related to a dog named "Fats" who originally came from Steven Bergman of Allakaket.

The Koyukuk River Championship or KRC is held annually in different villages along the Koyukuk River. The dog teams, race marshall, time keepers and handlers come from villages as far as 300 miles away for the event. Transportation is all by snow machine or airplane and accommodations are the cozy, friendly cabins of the locals. Hot coffee, caribou stew and beaver meat were on the stove in every home for visitors.

The KRC was in memory of three great men who passed recently. One of those men was a dear friend to Aliy and Allen. Harvey Williams. He will be missed. Aliy raced the KRC in his honor.

The KRC is a sprint race. SP Kennel has DISTANCE dogs. The two do not usually go hand in hand! The race was a two day event running an 18 mile course each day. The course was hard packed except for several miles of wind blown river trail. Aliy borrowed a sprint sled and hooked up a 14 dog team: Olivia, Quito, Nacho, Beemer, Scout, Scruggs, Chica, Mac, IV, Ranger, Willie, Sissy, Fang and Biscuit and averaged over 15 mph. Aliy and Allen were shocked at how fast they raced. The team came in 5th place out of 9 teams.

*  Our unofficial analysis showed that  SP Kennel might have won the race if it had been a three-day event  (JMO).

The Car Guys needed a speed workout!!!  What this means is that the dogs ran 240 miles and then RACED the next 60 miles as if it were a sprint!!!


"Beemer and Ranger will lead the team out on Tuesday morning, followed by Boondocks and Rambler... Sissy and Viper... Lester and Chemo... Mac and I.V...yearlings Felix and Nelson...Tug and Tatfish in wheel" according to the website!   Check out photo above - sure looks like the R.&B.boys up front!!! 
And poster child for SP Kennel adventures, Felix!  Any more like you at home?  You  bet!!!

THE CAR GUYS, ChaCha's boys, are out in force!  Fastest proven leaders (Quito and Olivia) not required here, with I.V., who can be a speedy lady, however, on the team!  And we note that ChaCha's daughter from the Honky-tonk litter, Boondocks, is there to inspire confidence in Rambler if he happens to be up in lead toward the end, if any passing moves are required (JMO).  And look at Mac - back in the mix after his first Iditarod about two weeks ago!!! (His mom, Chica, is home at rest.)

Rescheduled from earlier in the season when there wasn't enough snow to hold down the signs along the trail, IIRC...in any event, this first nice race of this season was  cancelled and now comes back to life as a 200/300 mile couple of races on new trails - snow in the forecast for the next few days - as they say, better late than never! 
Musher signups...and Tuesday the race begins!

"Who's who" of Iditarod greets 62 year old , native Yupiaq from Western Alaska, and professional sobriety counselor.


Tatfish, Bonita in wheel said "ZZZZ" - Spicy, alert, proud after matching sister "Spice Girls" Rose & Nutmeg with six finishes of Iditarid!..RED TEAM VIDEO!!!

BLACK TEAM rests;  Olivia and her 2-legged musher/couturier  share a brief moment...I still think Olivia looked SO sharp in her double-layer outfit!

Lots of "pets" for awesome athletes - massage, too, upon request.

ZZZZZZZZZZZ....that's rookie Mac, or "MacDaddy" on the left - what do you think he's dreaming about?  Passing and repassing 4-time Iditarod champ's team in the last third of the race?  More massage...different muscles.  Or learning to blog, or perform in a ballet with Happy?  Some "out-takes..."

(We note that both Red Team (2000) and Black Team mushers have now won the Yukon Quest 1000.)  Interesting comment on comparative difficulty between Yukon Quest and Iditarod from a foreign musher.  We note that no one asked for a 4-legged team member's opinion!


Official Iditarod logo (l) and photo by Sebastian Schnuelle (r), cropped.  "Moonlight Sonata" video of SP Kennal dogs on a long run.  Just when you thought the competition for mushers was over...  "Long dog journey home" story (r) about May.
Susan Butcher Day, 1st Saturday in March, declared by Alaska State Legislature & Gov. Sarah Palin. 
Libby Riddles, won in1984, walked her team in a snowstorm for insurmountable lead; Susan Butcher, 1986-88, 1990, set the standard.  Second place for Red Team in 2013...


...You find out early, though. Barring an actual photo finish, there's almost no scenario in which the end of an Iditarod can be surprising. The mushers are half-mad and starved and frozen and the dogs have run 1,000 miles in a week; the sleds are going maybe 7 miles an hour; no one's making up much ground under those circumstances. When the PA guy, after we've been standing around for an hour, says, "Mitch is three miles out," it means Mitch has won, only you end up waiting another half-hour for him to finally arrive. In the end, Mitch pulls in at 10:40 p.m. and Aliy's 23 minutes behind. It's head-twistingly close by Iditarod standards, but Mitch has plenty of time to sob and embrace loved ones and commune with dogs and have camera lights pointed in his haggard frost-mustached face and shake hands for official photos and still clear out of the chute a good while before Aliy arrives.

He’s the oldest winner in the history of the Iditarod, Mitch, at 53. Last year, his son Dallas became the youngest champion when he won at 24. Now they’re bookending all the other winners, agewise, a fact that will lead most of the newspaper coverage tomorrow.

There’s such goodwill at the press conference. Mitch and Aliy eat cheeseburgers and crack jokes. There’s no sense that one of them just suffered an agonizing defeat; instead, there’s an air of conspiratorial wonder, like, Oh wow, can you believe we made it? As the sporting event that most closely mimics the experience of sustained brutal catastrophe, the Iditarod is maybe uniquely designed to amplify sport’s natural euphoria-making power with basic human relief. Which is one of the most thrilling things there is, if you think about it. Imagine if Game 7 were played on inflatable rafts in a shark tank; afterward LeBron would be all, That happened! I survived!

Everyone in the room gets this: fans, volunteers, media. It’s a close-knit world; people know each other. So when Mitch says —

“The brain kind of stops working somewhere along the Yukon. I offered Aliy a cough drop this morning and she decided it was too complicated to unwrap it.”

— the laugh that rolls through the room is not the brittle pre-deadline laugh of reporters being fed good copy but a delighted and leisurely laugh of people who’ve been there, or know someone who’s been there, and who just want to share in the moment.

What are you going to do tomorrow, someone asks.

“Probably hang out with my dogs and my family,” Aliy says.

“I’m going to sleep and eat,” Mitch says. “My family can hang out with my dogs.”

They’d both had hallucinations. Near the end, kind of beautifully, each had visions of the other. Aliy thought she saw Mitch’s yellow sled floating somewhere ahead of her. Whenever Mitch looked behind him, the world kept turning into Aliy. “I saw the raven Aliy, I saw the fuel-tank Aliy. And the upside-down-boat Aliy,” he says. The way he says it, it’s like something from a myth. They share a look, like, hello, vast and terrifying cosmos...

Ceremonial Start

THE FINISH: RED TEAM AND BLACK TEAM; finishers banquet Sunday, March 17, 2013.

Re-Start, Day One
Day Two,
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight  SP Kennel has personality!!!
Day Nine    On to Nome after 8 hr rest!  And while resting, here's news of the Black Team progress...
And then it was over on
DAY TEN - congratulations to all divisions of the SP Kennel Red Team for their magnificent performance in Iditarod #41!!!
Day Eleven dawns and here comes 2013 Yukon Quest * champ Allen Moore and the Black Team
...SPK video here!!! - and now the Black Team has finished in 33rd position with 13 happy, healthy dogs who, many of them, including sister and brother I.V. and Chemo, and one of ChaCha's sons by Lieutenant, Clyde, the youngest on the team (under two years old) who never ran a REAL race before!!!  Link to Burled Arch phoho.


Chants of "Aliy, Aliy, Aliy" as Red Team finishes...Quito, in single lead, not pictured in photo at right, pic  here...

SO COOL THEY DON'T NEED SHADES...Poquita surely doesn't!  And above, her other side profile!
Looking sharp, SP Kennel
Red Team finishes second;  Quito
(r) in bright lights, looks, perhaps, disappointed - but she shouldn't be!  She should take the longer view and come back next year and have an even more perfect race - which Quito deserves - even ChaCha, who doesn't hand out compliments casually, says "Poquita is the best."

A picture for the ages.  A story from Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ (r) noting the difference - 23 minutes - separating first and second place finishers after 1000 miles.

Armchair Musher photo.
RED TEAM SLED in the dog yard in Nome!

Congrats, finishers!!! Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof!!!

The Southern Route in 2013 - wind in their face off the sea!!!  We are now down to the final third - somewhat longer than the Copper Basin 300!!! 


2013 NOTE:  Check out how the Black Team is doing!!!  With 13 still on the line, and appropriate rest for young dogs, they are pealing off the fastest times!!!  This is known as TEAM BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE!!!  BTW, musher for Black Team tore his ACL near the early part of the 1000 mile race - and kept going!!!

27, 48 - SPK numbers in 2013!

Think #27 & #48 -
ADN interview, the "parade" or ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage!  But here's the text of terrific interview from ADN

Iditarod kicks off with fan-filled ceremonial start
1,000-mile sled dog race begins today
New London Day
By RACHEL D'ORO Associated Press
Article published Mar 3, 2013

Anchorage, Alaska - Mushers and their dogs took a leisurely jaunt through Anchorage on Saturday in the ceremonial start of Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.  The 1,000-mile race kicked off in a festive mood as 66 teams posed with fans and sailed their sleds 11 miles on streets covered with trucked-in snow. Each sled carried an Iditarider, a fan who won the short ride at auction.

"Today is fun, with a capital F," said smiling veteran musher Aliy Zirkle, the runner-up in last year's race. "If you don't have a good time on Saturday with your dogs and all these fans, you're not in the right sport."

The event comes ahead of the real, competitive start of the race today in Willow, 50 miles to the north. This is when teams leave the big crowds behind for remote terrain shared mostly with their dogs.

"Today we have fun. Tomorrow we're serious," defending champion Dallas Seavey of Willow said Saturday between chatting with spectators and signing autographs for fans, including Bunky Nistler of Beach, N.D.

Nistler said the Iditarod was on her bucket list following her husband's death of cancer a year ago.

"I've been in love with the Iditarod for over eight years," she said. "This was my dream of a lifetime."

From Willow, where the race clock starts ticking, mushers and their dog teams will begin making their way through unforgiving wilderness toward the finish line in the old frontier town of Nome on Alaska's western coast. Before reaching their destination, the teams will cross mountains, frozen rivers and forests before hitting the wind-pummeled coast. They'll sign in at village checkpoints, sometimes stopping for mandatory layovers.

The winner gets a new truck and $50,400. The rest of the $600,000 purse will be split shared by the next 29 mushers across the finish line.

Participants in the 41st running of the race include six past Iditarod winners, including Seavey and his father, Mitch Seavey. Dallas Seavey also is among six past winners of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, held just weeks before the Iditarod.

Lance Mackey of Fairbanks - the only musher ever to win both races the same year - just scratched from the Quest in February because of a team of ailing dogs. He is going for a fifth win in the Iditarod, this time taking mostly young dogs and only four veterans from the Quest.

At Saturday's ceremonial start, fans regularly stopped by to wish him luck.

"This is like a pregame warm-up," Mackey said of the party-like atmosphere.

Today will bring a more highly charged approach among contenders.

"It's game time, and you get your game face on," Mackey said. "Put some blinders on - and go race."

Associated Press writer Mark Thiessen in Anchorage contributed to this report.

Aliy nuzzles rookie, Mac;  Viper bucks up ChaCha's young son Clyde...

IDITAROD START TONIGHT AT 6PM EASTERN STANDARD TIME:  This year we signed up for "Insider" reports and videos...in addition to following SPKennel Blog.

In past years we have done the as it happened posting, latest first.  This year we'll try something different.  Since Aliy herself admits that in the past she has been overly careful with coddling her racing dogs (our words), this year she will try to combine her care for her dogs with trying to find her inner Alaskan Husky. 
And they're off - we watched online at Iditarod "Ultimate Insider" live as all 65 or so teams left re-start in Willow Sunday evening.  By Monday morning Allen zoomed ahead with the Black Team into @6th place (from his #48 start position - 2 minutes separate the teams in Willow restart).  Aliy moved up to @14th place from her #27 startposition.  Using the "tracker" and data there, it was said that Aliy had rested the team more than three hours early, and Allen had not.  Trying to figure out the speed of the teams in mph...which of course is available as data points, but we were exercising out little itty bitty math skills.

We connect here to the story of May, the sled dog who got lost near Nikolai and made her was home - an "anti-Iditarod", as ADN said in an article.  VIDEO 2013!!!

That's Clyde getting checked by vet.  Map of telling area of race (c);  photo from Nikolai as SP Kennel arrives.  FIRST VIDEO FROM SP KENNEL RED TEAM IDITAROD #41 - Rainy Pass.  Geography lesson!!!

DAY TWO dawns and Red (out) and Black (in) pass each other in Rainy...Pass.  15 dogs now on both Red (Tug, Beemer's girlfriend) and Black (Sissy - young daughter of Ranger).  Those who are in the know at Iditarod Insider say the leg of the trip to Nikolai will be telling...and look!  While no one was watching, TUG rejoined the team! 

Tug, previously reported to be dropped, must have declined the invitation to fly out of Rainy Pass, and instead used hot compresses herself and hitched a ride on a plane to rejoin the Red Ream in Nikolai.  Sort of the "Rosie Ruiz" of dog mushing!  From online record of Iditarod #41, below.  FYI - Two hours later, it is back to 15 dogs.

Shelf ice is a floating mat of ice, but unlike a pond or a small lake that freezes over, the shelf is not a uniform sheet of ice. Created by the wind and waves, the shelf ice is a jumble of ice chunks, pushed onto each other. It is as if you took a pile of rubble and pushed up against a wall. The more you push, the narrow the pile becomes, and it rises in a ridge. But there is nothing stable in the pile. The individual pieces (ice in the case of shelf ice) are not initially connected; they only float upon the water surface and rest upon each other. Many become jammed together but throughout the structure, there are pockets of air. Since each piece of ice developed independently, each is of a different thickness, creating variations in strength, density, and depth.

As DAY TWO  comes to a close, as we noted above, Red Team is at 15 dogs (that is 60 feet).  "Too cool for school" veterans of Allen's victory in the Yukon Quest are tryong to tell Aliy - "don't worry, be happy."  And an additional note at the end of the day, one more dog dropped prior to leaving Nikolai (14 dogs remain on Red Team - perhaps those who did the Yukon Quest?):
Tuesday Afternoon Update - Nikolai (From SP Kennel website)
Aliy is out of Nikolai in second position, she left at 1.13pm after just over four hours rest. On the "Insider" video of her arriving she said she had a fun run from Rohn to Nikolai - she said it is great to have a team that listens to you in that section as there were a few challenges along the way such as glare ice, glaciers and the section known as "The Farewell Burn" (this was the site of Alaska’s largest forest fire, a million and a half acres in the summer of 1978)!

There is a great picture of Aliy in the Nikolai checkpoint with her down slippers. I remember when she was packing to leave and she was tossing up whether to take them - she said it was a bit of a luxury and that maybe she shouldn't. I am so pleased she decided to put them in, it must be nice to have a tiny bit of luxury out on the trail!

We do know she has dropped one dog in Nikolai and although there is some video of her and the team leaving it is just too difficult to tell for certain who the dog is so we don't want to speculate at this stage and get it wrong. We talked with the Dog Drop HQ and from Nikolai the dogs are flown to McGrath checkpoint and will travel back in a larger plane on an, as yet, unscheduled flight so it is possible they won't be back to Anchorage until Wednesday evening or even Thursday morning. Please be assured we will let you know as soon as we know who it is - there is no way we can know for sure until we go to pick them up.

Allen arrived into Nikolai at 3.01pm and at the time of writing is in 28th position. I'm pretty sure Allen won't be carrying any "luxury" items in his sled. As some of you may know, Allen likes to travel light, taking only the essentials - so much so that we kid him about it often. At the start line in Willow he was deciding whether to put an extra lip balm in his bag - he chuckled, pointed out that it weighed 4.8g and threw it over his shoulder saying "that's just too heavy!"

Beemer is very fond of Tug; and Sissy gave it a go - she is a daughter of Ranger.

Footnote: We picked up Tug and she is great! A little sore but she was really happy to see us. She and Sissy spent some time catching up and telling trail stories before having a massage, a fish and kibble snack and a sleep.

Tug waits for a ride, covered in a lovely green blanket.

DAY THREE BEGINS...how will the weather play a role this year, if it does?  Light snow in the forecast everywhere (the stops along the trail of the Southern route) but "mild" temperatures...the weather did for sure, as all those who finished stated (3-15-13)
Red Team in 6th, Black Team 25th this morning, as both now have 14 dogs.  It is mushy (our word - perhaps "punchy" is the more formal one) and snowing.  Don't know the other dogs dropped (yet).  Aliy seems to be staying in Takotna for her 24hr break - JMO.  At an airport, so maybe we'll get more news from SP Kennel website - but one never knows about the weather in Alaska (link above not too helpful at this point, because we're not sure if Takotna is clear enough for planes to land...).  Remember - the Iditarod Trail is largely in uninhabited parts of this vast state.  And also remember that the end of the race, Nome, has been iced in any number of times...so that the only folks who get to visit are mushers!  And their 4-legged buddies.  "Iron Dogs" or snow machines can do it too, but since they require fuel to go, they are not as flexible as the woof, woof, woof crew!

Before getting to Takotna, there is the McGrath check point (above) which Aliy slips through in a matter of seconds!!!  And away they go!  On to Takotna and...the mandatory and welcome,24 hour rest.

 Wednesday Morning Update - Takotna
Both Aliy and Allen are in to Takotna and it very much looks like Aliy elected to take her mandatory 24 hour layover there. She "declared" it as she came in to the checkpoint; we're unsure if Allen did the same and of course, we never REALLY know for sure until they actually leave but we do know that currently they are both resting here.

It is during their 24 hour layover that the starting time differential is added so the earliest Aliy could leave is 10.55pm on Wednesday (if I've done my sums correctly) so the team will get a 25 hour, 20 minute rest. If Allen is here for his 24 hours the earliest he could leave is 6.09am Thursday morning after 24 hours, 38 minutes rest.

During this time they will spend a lot of time tending to the dogs: feeding several meals and snacks and giving full body massages, including every foot, with Algyval. They will walk them around on a leash every now and again to keep them moving a little but mostly ensuring they sleep to recharge their batteries. It will be important for themselves to sleep and eat also so they will be making time for that.

The video of Aliy pulling into Takotna shows a happy team and she looks and sounds great herself! It appears she still has Quito and Beemer in lead.

Note: We are aware that Allen has dropped someone in Nikolai but we have no way to know who it might be and why so we will contact the Dog Drop HQ at the Millennium Hotel this morning to check when they are likely to arrive in Anchorage. The flights are very weather dependant and we understand that there is some questionable weather on it's way. We will let you know as soon as we find out.


Red Team on the road again @3:45am!  Above, Joe Runyan's c.v. from Iditarod Insider;  Beemer gets some Z's here.

@6PM, DAY FOUR BEGAN...at Takotna, where both the RED and the BLACK TEAMS were doing their 24 hour rests. 

And then the Red Team is ready to go!  Woof, woof, woof!!!

Allen filled reporter Joe Runyan in on a few things re:  SP Kennel while waiting at Takotna! 

This year, the commentator has figured out that the smaller, slim dogs of SP Kennel are built for speed and Yukon Quest-type (read severe hills) trails.

"Fast" females and "cool" doggies, that's the Red Team

See how cute Mr. Runyan is in his cap and shades (see photo above) - he's of my generation!  Since he has authored both Lance and Jeff's autobiographical tomes, he is fully qualified to know all about their tactics and is, of  course, in this "inbred" world of mushing, now giving some due (see part of his blog entry devoted to SP Kennel, below), where deserved, to the

And thank you to Mr. Runyan for the observation of how animated the Red Team was at the end of their 24!!!  That meant a lot to me!

...By 12 noon, our time back in CT, 8am on the Iditarod Trail, the Red Team was out of Ophir on the way to the historic village of Iditarod (see article above).  Remember, this is the Southern Route, and in odd-numbered years, the winds hit the teams in their faces, making for slow going...

In sympathy with the mushers, Mother Nature has blanked Weston for Day Five...

Iditarod Trail from the air and the faux Iditarod Trail out my window in Weston. The Red Team is ahead of the trail breaker in pursuit of the leader!

DAY FIVE begins...
Depending where you look for your information, SP Kennel Red Team may be in...second place!  Or Red Team has disappeared from the paprazzi radar...run-rest cycles look like Yukon Quest - where the trails are about 200 miles long each between check points.  (I said this befroe retiring last night - yup, that's what the experts say this morning!)

The cat and mouse game about to begin, in the dark of night!  Lots of action behind...watch out for Dallas and his skipoles...

FRIDAY: Went to bed Thursday and this was the situation (l). Iditarod Insider photo (c) and the Friday 11:45am (in Weston) GPS position (r).  "Insider" brings experience with the water supply in some check points as explanation of race order...defending champ to break out his racing sled and skipoles in Anvik...someone say Dallas is back there?  "Let's get cracking, Aliy" advises  one of ChaCha's kids!  Guess what?  Water quality an issue in the old village of Iditarod (see story below)...
From the "Iditarod Insider"...Anvik
Posted by Joe Runyan
Date: March 8, 2013 3:28 am

With Martn’s impressive entry to Anvik, let’s take a look at the competition...

Martin talks about water in Iditarod (that's leader Martin Buser, friend of former Governor Sarah Palin)

Martin declared an eight hour rest in Anvik and took the liberty to answer questions from the press while enjoying each course of the Millenium guormet meal.

Martin admits to making a mistake in Idiarod.   After 26 Iditarods he knew that slough water from Iditarod was not good to mix with the ration.  Normally everyone melts snow water.  But, volunteers from one of the iditarod sponsors had punched a hole in the ice and transported water by bucket for the mushers.   Even some of our camera guys observed that the water had that brown, partly decayed, look of stagnant water.  Martin took advantage of the water but realized up the trail that it had affected his dogs.  He suspected that other mushers staying in Iditarod may have the same problem.  He is feeding dry dog food and thinks that the dogs will tighten up, but one can imagine the damage to the pack if other mushers used the water.

I raced in the 80′s, thirty years ago, and was aware not to use swamp water in Iditarod—always melt snow.  But that kind of knowledge even goes deeper.  On the trapline, I remember being told by Athabascan friends of mine not to use swamp water for the dogs.  Even a lake on the tundra often has that brown, stagnant, mossy flavored water that still has that taste with tea and surgar.   Its better to chop ice or just melt snow, even though it takes more effort.

Contemplating this news, I think that Aliy Zirkle probably did not use the water from iditarod because she rested outside the checkpoint.   If the reason Aaron Burmeister is pulled over parked, and Mitch Seavey is shown to be parked in Shagelulk, is water at iditarod—-then its a total bummer.  I hope it’s not the reason.

Inexplicably, I notice that Aaron Burmeister’s tracker shows zero speed at a point short of Shageluk.  Could his team be affected by the bum water?  Somehow Seavey and Berkowitz, who started AFTER Aaron from iditarod, are now ahead resting in Shageluk.  This is a big mystery...


DAY SIX begins...think Aliy is wearing the beaver mitts to nap in? 

Surprise Gift for Aliy Zirkle being first Musher to Grayling
Posted by Sebastian Schnuelle
Date: March 8, 2013 3:00 pm

There is perks to being first in the Iditarod. Not only do you have a freshly broken trail, now well, that is not always a perk, but any how, coming into Grayling in first place, Aily Zirkle was the recipient of some beautiful hand made beaver fur – moose hide mitts locally made by Sue Nicholi. What a treat they are. And boy just the smell of natural wood smoke pulling them out of the bag for a picture! A truely nice gift to remember, thank you Sue!!!

(Comment by this website...Do we think Aliy and the Red Team will take their 8 hour rest here?)  YES, and they did declare it in the middle of the night! 

As of the morning, Red Team was on the trail to Eagle Island...and got there, took a rest of two hours and  was off to Kaltag (next stop on the Southern Route - where it meets the Northern Route...).   Woof, woof!!!  From one of the Iditarod Insiders @1pm our time...

Woof, woof, woof!!!  ChaCha has done the math, and she is proud to say 20 - x =12 means Aliy gained 8 miles or 40 percent on Martin!

WHAT TO DO IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY (ESPECIALLY AFTER RUNNING 8 hrs.)? ZZZZZZZZ.  Last third of the race begins...

DAY SEVEN...naps for Olivia (or her high stepping brother brother, Scruggs) just before Kaltag @10 miles out...Willie (or Puppet.?) ZZZZZ...


Brother and sister Dingle and Kipper, dropped earlier, arrived home today. 

Red Team now down to 11, as two more dogs dropped as they passed thru Kaltag;  Red Team is in sixth place at @10am...YouTube link to get post-race video that gives some explanations of this year's race and the individuals on the team...then there were 11 dogs (44 paws) left in harness for the Red Team.



The chase pack became the lead pack Saturday in the 41st Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and now it’s anyone’s race. Martin Buser’s lead went from huge to modest to tenuous before vanishing completely when Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle snatched the lead from him in Kaltag. Not that the move put Zirkle in command. Seven mushers, including Zirkle and Buser, are on the move to Unalakleet and the final one-third of the 1,000-mile race to Nome..."  (9 March, as morning began, here in the East.)

"Let the games begin" as the saying goes!  From where we sit, here in Weston CT, the surprise end of winter snow storm that dropped at least 8 inches Friday is evaporating.  And from trail reports, the Iditarod last third will be run in mushy snow, possibly...

Time to turn those Rally ("Racing") Caps around - red or black - and start woof, woof, woofing!!! 

Olivia resting after a lovely massage in Unalakleek (as she says, "rhymes with feet")...and speaking of Olivia, check out how the sky has chosen to honor thie "Big 'O'" on the Western Coast.

A little - or more accurately, a LOT of - TLC, massage and snuggles and the 4-legged members of the Red Team
will be ready for "Iditarod 300" THE RACE TO NOME!!!

We quote from the Iditarod's "Armchair Musher..." - please note the puddles.

The Challengers have piled into Unalakleet.
Posted by Sebastian Schnuelle
Date: March 10, 2013 2:28 pm

Teams have been arriving in rapid succession.
..(Photos below:  ski-poling on arrival at check point, dog care, and musher smiles - those w/o credit to Armchair Musher except for great shot of Red Team leader, 2-legged dept.)

Aily Zirkle came in all smiles, but was honest, that her team did not do well after leaving Kaltag. She initially had wanted to run to Tripod Flats cabin, but decided to pull over earlier. Her good energy was feeding onto the team, as they seemed happy. Massage Oil in hand, ” she started to work...“

In to Unalakleet...

Red Team dry snacking...then replacing booties w/o ouching...and then a lovely massage of the feet - that's 11 dogs with four paws each = 44 little rubs and tender remarks!

Red Team 2-legged leader in Unalakleet...and on to Shaktoolik - woof, out of there and in to...

Mile 827.  No much left - note leader Quito wearing jacket, boys in their outfits, musher wearing warm and furry fur jacket.
For those who have not followed Iditarod before, the last 300 miles culminate in a mad dash to the finish, coming up...soon!!! 

DAY NINE  finish in Nome.  Great job by Red Team!!!

Eight-hour mandatory rest in White Mountain...and some TLC for 4-legged Red Team members!  And after a the rest...the rest of the race?  77 miles to go - first Safety and then the mad dash to...Nome!!!

Good news!  Made up time on leader!

SP Kennel Red Team (Iditarod  video) arrives in White Mountain last night...let's hear it for rookie Mac - woof!!!

As Iditarod Insider said, it is slow uploading today!!! 


Iditarod Insider reports on Black Team; SP Kennel website reports on dropped dogs.

"...A number of you are asking for an update on who is still running on each team. We haven't seen some of them off the trail yet but by the photos and videos we are seeing from news agencies and several of us pouring over them we believe we know who is still running.

"On the Red Team, in the most recent video from White Mountain, is Quito in single lead followed by Scout in single Swing, Beemer and Willie, Scruggs and Olivia, Mac and Nacho with Chica and Biscuit in wheel.

"Aliy dropped Tug in Rainy Pass, Dingle in Nikolai, Rambler in Shageluk, Puppet and Waylon in Kaltag, and Boondocks in Koyuk. Tug is at home in Two Rivers; Dingle is with Margie in Wasilla; Rambler, Puppet, Waylon and Boondocks are still out on the trail getting very well looked after by the dog drop volunteers and will be met by our good friends "Team Miller" in Anchorage who will take them out to Margie. There is a possibility that Boondocks will be flown forwards to Nome and we meet her later today.

"On the Black Team, in the video from Unalakleet, is Chemo and Viper in lead, followed by Schmoe and Scooter, Lester and Fang, Spicy running solo, I.V and Pud, Clyde and Moxie with Bonita and Tatfish in wheel.

"Allen dropped Sissy in Finger Lake, Kipper in Nikolai and Honda in Kaltag. Sissy is at home in Two Rivers, Kipper is with Margie in Wasilla and Honda is likely to be flown to Anchorage in the next couple of days..."

Howlingly, the Red Team embarks, led by Quito and speaking of "push" a shout out to Willie in single lead, too.  Olivia and Mac together...

RED TEAM TEN SAY IT ALL..."HERE WE GO" IN ALASKAN HUSKY SPEAK (r) - on cue!!!  Howling is something sleg dogs like to do!
We watched until we were too tired here back East...I hope the dogs are OK and feeling good, and give it all they can for SP Kennel!!!  Red Team is trying, going more than 8 miles an hour...and now first place group is going 10 miles an hour!  Now the Red Team is going 11.5 miles and hour!!!  But their efforts only spurred on the team ahead of them, alas!  Well, no matter what, the SP Kennel 2-legged and 4-legged Red and Black Teams are WINNERS in the game of life.

Info from Alaska Dispatch:  Quote from SPKDOGLOG:  "You can see she left with Quito still in single lead (above, left), Nacho and Scout, Willie running solo, Scruggs and Beemer, Mac and Olivia with Biscuit and Chica in wheel. They are all dressed for the wind in their Horizon Lines wind jackets in anticipation of 'the blowhole'".

Iditarod #42 coming...next year!!!  Lovely video of Aliy and Dee Dee in White Mountain, at right, SP Kennel Red Team  gives it a shot, racing to Nome!!!

REMEMBER CHACHA'S ADVICE (borrowed from Flo-Jo)? "You've got to look good to feel good, you've got to feel good to run good..."  And the Red Team's high stepping sled dogs certainly do look fantanstic!  Along with hard-working, "best-presence-of-mind" musher!  Check out the wardrobes...


Smartest dresser on the trail! 
Check out Olivia's warm double layer outfit (next to last slot in the rear of team)!

Why didn't they, Scout (r) asks, think of that?  Porque "no es masculino..."

There goes SP Kennel Red Team, Quito in single lead - Woof, woof!!!

Fashion-plate Olivia, who made her statement, boosting team spirit!!! 
Olivia, who is uber-grateful to SP Kennel for special undergarment design, shows her affection!!!

BLACK TEAM FINISH COMING UP!  Out of White Mountain 8 hr rest and heading for Safety, then Nome!!!
Unbeknownst to us, musher has been nursing a hamstring pull for the second half of the race - Black Team members now on their best behavior.

Day Eleven...13 strong, Black Team, heads to White Mountain and a nice 8 hour rest!  Thirteen dogs strong, lots of rookies and Clyde, not two years old yet, in harness, this is the future for SP Kennel! - still in harness are 8 of ChaCha's children or grandchildren.  (Did we mention approximately half the team is 3 years old and younger?)  Check intrepid SP Kennel video "Iron Dog" team!!!

What a good dog and great leader!!!

Probably finishing as you read this...and they did, in 33rd place and looking good!!!  We found out later why musher did not use his ski-poling method...


Coming soon - Iditarod:  As Aliy says "root for a dog!" - as I heard it - I'm woofing for ChaCha's son Beemer, who "does it" for SP Kennel Red Team!!!
"Jay-Z of dog mushing" comment @4:40 in:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxelWCHc-So


THE RACE:  Yukon Quest 300

Official Race info: http://www.yukonquest.com/site/yq300-race-updates/

THE RACE:  Yukon Quest 1000: (Our own interpretations).   And link to great interview.

FOR OFFICIAL WEBLINKS:  LIVE TRACKING -  http://www.yukonquest.com/site/live-tracking/

Current Standings:  http://www.yukonquest.com/site/race-updates/


Two Rivers 100/50 results:  RED TEAM 1st place in 100, R&B TEAM 2nd in 50.  Copper Basin 300 still ongoing!  BLACK TEAM victorious in record time, maybe...bravo Quito & Olivia!!!


This 2-day speed race,in December, Aurora 50:50, included Black Team (finished 5th & 3rd), Red Team (finished 4th) and R&B Team (8th)

FROM YUKON QUEST:  Hugh comments on the "Jay-Z" of sled dog racing;  Allen was a gracious winner.  Does this make Aliy the Beyonce of sled-dog racing, as one blog post suggests?
Yukon Quest 1000
Who makes the BLACK TEAM roster this year?  http://spkenneldoglog.blogspot.ca/p/current-race-roster.html

At the beginning of the race...there was a banquet, too, where Allen picked starting number 11 - and at the end, he finished with 11 of the 14 dogs who started, still in harness!!!

Mayor of Whitehorse welcomes folks to the 30th Yukon Quest.  FROM WIKIPEDIA:  Whitehorse (population 23,276, 2011 Census) is the capital and largest city of Yukon, Canada. It was incorporated in 1950 and is located at kilometre 1476 on the Alaska Highway in southern Yukon. Whitehorse's downtown and Riverdale areas occupy both shores of the Yukon River, which originates in British Columbia and meets the Bering Sea in Alaska. The city was named after the White Horse Rapids for their resemblance to the mane of a white horse, near Miles Canyon, before the river was dammed. Because of the city's location in the Whitehorse valley, the climate is milder than other comparable northern communities.

According to an Internet source, there are 8 hours of daylight in Whitehorse, Canada right now.

Poquita ("Quito") gets her golden harness and steak tartare dinner...
Yukon Quest mushers recount race during finish banquet
Fairbanks New-Miner
Jeff Richardson

FAIRBANKS — Allen Moore provided a one-sentence summary of his lead dog on Saturday at the Yukon Quest finish banquet at the Carlson Center.

“There’s not any quit in Quito,” Moore said.

Moore’s 6-year-old leader — her name is pronounced Kee-toe — claimed the race’s Golden Harness Award, given to a dog that represents “loyalty, endurance and perseverance” of champion lead dogs throughout the race.

Despite the irony of a champion dog with the word “quit” in its name, Quito has proven to be a winner. She’s run three Quests and four Iditarods, while giving birth to two litters of pups that could be the next generation of champions at Moore’s and his wife Aliy Zirkle’s SP Kennels.

“She doesn’t do it for you; she does it for her,” Zirkle said.

Moore, the winner of the 30th running of the Quest, thanked Quito, Zirkle and many others at the banquet, a chance for mushers to reflect on the race and honor some of its top participants.  Moore, who avenged a 26-second loss to Hugh Neff in last year’s Quest, said any finish in the 1,000-mile Whitehorse-to-Fairbanks race is special.

“It’s not easy,” Moore said. “When we get through with this race, it’s gives you an exhilarating feeling that you’ve accomplished something.”

Neff won the Dawson City Award, a 4-ounce “poke of gold” given to the first musher to reach the Klondike Gold Rush city and go on to complete the race. Neff, the runner-up this year, congratulated Moore in a long speech that included former Quest champion Sonny Lindner, his famed dog Walter and writer Hunter S. Thompson.

“I feel great being in second,” he said. “We all know Allen deserves this win.”

Darrin Lee claimed the Challenge of the North Award, selected by race officials to the musher who most exemplifies the Spirit of the Yukon Quest. It was Lee’s third attempt at running the Quest, after scratching during two previous runs.  After several mushers sheepishly admitted they’d forgotten to thank their wives at the start banquet, Lee pointed out that he’d remembered to thank his wife, Heidi, at the start.

“I was very fortunate not to see her again until the finish line,” he said. “That was very special to me.”

Normand Casavant won the Veterinarian’s Choice award, presented to the musher that best demonstrates outstanding dog care while remaining competitive in the race. Members of the Finishers Club added a new award this year, voting on an award to the top veterinarian of the race. Markus Barth was awarded a fur hat for the honor.  Scott Smith, an Iditarod veteran who finished in fifth place in his only Quest attempt, won the Rookie of the Year Award.

“To be a rookie in this race is unlike any race, for sure,” the Wasilla musher said.

Brent Sass, who helped pull fellow musher Jake Berkowitz’s team over Eagle Summit, won the Sportsmanship Award.  Sass recounted his unorthodox history with the Quest, which he began as a volunteer by painting trail markers and parking dog teams at checkpoints. Hopping on a sled behind those elite teams built his desire to start his own team, he said.

“Dreams come true,” he said. “If you’ve got something you want to do out there, go do it.”

The night also was filled with anecdotes about oddities and pleasures along the trail.  Matt Failor, who wore glasses to the banquet, told a story about accidentally drinking a glass containing his contact lenses in Dawson, then chasing it down with a glass filled with saline solution.

Two Rivers musher Abbie West told stories about constantly running with caribou along the trail, cracking the crowd up with a deadpan punchline.

“It was pretty cool,” West said. “I wish I’d had my rifle.”

Fairbanks musher Cody Strathe said he got an opportunity to meet just about all the mushers in the race while gradually drifting from an early fifth-place showing to his 15th-place finish.

“I was friends with some of you before. I’m friends with a lot more of you now,” Strathe said.

Dyan Bergen finished the ceremony by claiming the Red Lantern, the award traditionally given to the final musher in a sled dog race.

She crossed the finish line Friday, nearly five days behind Moore, but said it was a trip she’d been dreaming about for years.

“I have a lot of these,” Bergen said, drawing laughs from the crowd while hoisting the red lantern, “but this one is definitely the most special.”

Casavant and Quito among award winners
Yukon Quest Finishers& Awards Banquet

The 2013 Yukon Quest officially wrapped up Saturday with the Finish & Awards Banquet, held at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.  Mushers, handlers, officials, volunteers and fans gathered to recognize and thank everyone associated with the 30th running of the race. Dinner, live entertainment by the band Rock Bottom, and a silent auction were some of the highlights, as well as the annual awards.

A total of seven awards were given out, starting with the coveted Vet’s Choice Award, for exceptional dog care on the trail. Head Veterinarian Kathleen McGill presented the award. This year’s winner was Whitehorse musher Normand Casavant.

“I didn’t expect this at all,” he said. “I’m really proud. Thanks to the vets who were always there. It was great to have their help.”

Hugh Neff took the stage to collect his four ounces of gold, for being the first musher into Dawson City and then completing the race. The gold was courtesy of Joe and Wendy Fellers.

“I’m going to Norway in the morning!” he told the crowd, speaking about his plans to race there in the next couple of weeks. “My main goal when I go to Norway for this race is to talk about the Quest.”

Allen Moore was the first musher into Pelly Crossing, so he took home a pair of traditional beaver fur gloves from the Selkirk First Nation. Moore paid tribute to all the communities and their volunteers along the trail.  Rookie of the Year went to Scott Smith, who finished fifth in his first year running the Quest. He thanked all the other rookies in this year’s race, saying he felt like a representative of all of them.  Darrin Lee of Chistochina, Alaska was chosen for the Challenge of the North Award, which goes to the musher who best exemplifies dedication and perseverance during the race. The race officials choose this award winner.

For a third year, Brent Sass claimed the Sportsmanship Award. Sass helped fellow musher Jake Berkowitz and his team up Eagle Summit, and it wasn’t the first time he’s given a competitor a hand on that peak. Moore presented the award on behalf of the Quest.

“This is what the Quest is all about, helping each other,” said Sass. “Anybody in my same position would have done it too.”

One of the most heart-warming moments of the night was when the Golden Harness Award for champion dog was announced. Allen Moore’s dog Quito was called to the stage, where she received a delicious steak dinner and some well-deserved love.

“This dog is truly a rock star,” said Moore’s wife Aliy Zirkle. “She’s six years old, she’s done three Yukon Quests and four Iditarods, and she probably has a lot more in her. She doesn’t do it for you she does it for her and that’s probably what makes her more special than anyone else.”

The final award of the night went to this year’s final finisher – Dyan Bergen. When accepting the Red Lantern Award, Bergen proclaimed, “I’ve got a lot of these!”

“But this one is definitely the most special one,” she added. “Thank you.”

Twenty-six mushers started this year’s race and 20 of them finished. Moore, of Two Rivers, Alaska, was first across the finish line. He won with a time of eight days, 19 hours and 39 minutes.

Photos below at finish: 
Sam Harrel/News-Miner - and what an interview!!!

Allen Moore, middle, and his wife Aliy Zirkle, left, share the podium with Yukon Quest Alaska Executive Director Marti Steury after Moore won the Yukon Quest on Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, on the Chena River at Fairbanks. Moore and Zirkle have now won the 1,000-mile race. Zirkle won in 2000. Moore finished one-hour, 16-minutes ahead of second place finisher Hugh Neff of Tok. Last year Moore finished in second place 26-seconds behind Neff.  Same faces on Red Team in Iditarod #41!  Hail Quito!!!

POQUITA AND OLIVIA - what personalities in these two ladies!  "Garbo" and smoldering "O"
Allen Moore poses with his lead dogs Quito, left, and Olivia after winning the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race on Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, on the Chena River at Fairbanks. Moore finished one-hour, 16-minutes ahead of second place finisher Hugh Neff of Tok. Last year Moore finished in second place 26-seconds behind Neff.

Allen Moore wins 2013 Yukon Quest
Related YouTube Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LXKtqZmlIOg
By JEFF RICHARDSON | 0 comments
Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 6:47 am | Updated: 12:03 pm, Mon Feb 11, 2013.

Allen Moore made up his 26 seconds, and then some.

The Two Rivers musher cruised to victory in the 30th running of the Yukon Quest on Monday morning, finishing the race with an unofficial record time. It was a sweet outcome for Moore, who finished just 26 seconds behind Hugh Neff in the 1,000-mile sled dog race in 2012.

This year it was Moore finishing in front of Neff, but the ending wasn’t nearly as dramatic. Moore slid casually beneath the gate at 6:54 a.m. with 11 dogs, glanced around at the waiting crowd and greeted waiting race officials with a laid-back “howdy.”

“I guess I overdid it a little bit,” Moore said of his sprint to the finish line, smiling with icicles hanging from his mustache.

Neff arrived 1 hour, 16 minutes later on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks with his nine-dog team. After Moore and Neff spent almost the entire race exchanging the top two positions in the race, no last-minute surge was necessary.

The 55-year-old musher entered the Two Rivers checkpoint just 16 minutes ahead of Neff on Sunday, setting up a showdown on the final 72-mile stretch to Fairbanks. But after Moore jumped out to an insurmountable early lead, Neff said he eased off, taking his team on a relatively leisurely ride into Fairbanks.

Moore said being on his dogs’ home turf clearly helped. His team is so accustomed to the Two Rivers-to-Fairbanks run that they tried to veer off to the riverbank before hitting the finish line; Moore said they were heading to the spot where he normally leaves their straw at the end of a run.

He gave a hug to his lead dogs, Quito and Olivia, at the end of the race. They’ve been on all three of the Arkansas native’s runs in the Fairbanks-to-Whitehorse race, and finally pulled off a victory.

“They know where they are, for sure,” he said. “It’s good to be home.”

Moore claimed the fastest Quest finish ever, at 8 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes, but that record comes with an asterisk. This year’s race was about 50 miles shorter than previous runs after race officials rerouted a portion of the race down the Yukon River to avoid poor trail conditions on American Summit.

Moore and his wife, Aliy Zirkle, become the only couple to each win a 1,000-mile race. Zirkle captured the Quest title in 2000.

Neff, 45, said he was pleased to stay with Moore throughout the long run. He said from the beginning that his young team was in transition, with his 8-year-old stalwart, Walter, headed to retirement after nine 1,000-mile races.

“To have a chance to push for the win is kind of mind-numbing,” the Tok resident said.

Moore and Neff remained alone in the lead group since the first checkpoint in Braeburn, Yukon, occasionally swapping places throughout the race. But Neff needed to cut rest to keep up, and his team eventually couldn’t keep up with Moore’s dogs.

When Moore took off first at the 101 Mile checkpoint along the Steese Highway, Neff never saw him again.

“I knew in 101 I had no prayer, because his whole team was lunging at the line,” he said.

Moore claims $18,930 for the Quest victory. Although he takes home $13,520 for second place, Neff actually will leave the race with more prize money — he also collected 4 ounces of gold for arriving first in Dawson City, worth about $6,800.

Neither Moore nor Neff will be doing much resting after the grueling 1,000-mile race.

Moore and Zirkle are each running teams out of their Two Rivers kennel in the Iditarod in a few weeks, although Moore will be racing an inexperienced team and doesn’t expect to compete among the leaders. Neff is headed overseas to run a race in Norway.

And after two years of classic battles in the Quest, there won’t be a rematch next year. Neff said he plans to skip the 2014 Quest to participate in a race in Unalakleet. After winning the Quest, Moore said he was uncertain whether he’d enter again next year, now that he’s notched a victory in the race on his third attempt.

“You never know,” he said. “It’s been three in a row — it might as well be four.”

Neff, Moore neck-and-neck in Quest
Allen Moore wins Yukon Quest
Published: February 11, 2013

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Musher Allen Moore was vindicated Monday when he lengthened his lead against defending champion Hugh Neff to win the 2013 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Moore, 55, of Two Rivers, crossed the finish line in downtown Fairbanks at 6:54 a.m. Monday, to win the 30th running of the 1,000-mile sled dog race, which is either run from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, or the reverse, depending upon the year.

The race was run from Whitehorse to Fairbanks this year.

For winning, Moore receives $18,930 of the $100,000 race purse.

The race looked like it was going to again come down to a battle between Moore and Neff, who won last year's Yukon Quest by just 26 seconds. That finish was the closest in race history with Neff overtaking Moore at the end.

Moore didn't let his team get caught this year. He left the Two Rivers checkpoint after a mandatory eight-hour rest with about only a 15-minute lead on Neff but managed to widen the gap, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ( http://is.gd/wKX1ve).

A small group of race officials and spectators greeted Moore in the predawn darkness at the finish line on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. Among them was Moore's wife, veteran Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Aliy Zirkle, who won the Quest in 2000. She finished second in the Iditarod last year.

Moore said he practiced running his team on the trail from his home in Two Rivers to Fairbanks so that he would know every turn coming into Fairbanks. Neff finished at 8:10 a.m. Monday, more than an hour later.

To position themselves in a fight for the finish again this year, Moore and Neff had to successfully get their teams over Eagle Summit, a 3,685-foot peak. The summit has caused big problems for both mushers before. One of Neff's dogs died going up Eagle Summit two years ago. This year his lead dog turned around after failing to get the team to the top. Neff hooked up Walter, an older and more experienced dog, that marched his team over the top.

Moore said his team followed Neff's over the summit despite very deep snow and blowing winds.

"It's like the dogs were wallowing in the snow," he said.

Moore passed Neff after that and led the way into the next checkpoint on his way to the finish line in Fairbanks.

Twenty-six teams started the race in Whitehorse nine days ago. As of Monday morning, five teams had scratched.


Bright eyes of the Black Team (c)
YQ1000 for 2013 coming down to the last miles of the 900 plus so far race!!!  On to Fairbanks...where is the second place finisher? More than an hour away!!  Go BLACK TEAM!!!

Tragic news for "General" a 4-legged member of a different team - he is the first dog "dropped" for third-place musher, who was, if we recall, was intended to be catching the flying first place team any time...the Black Team is in second place, and SP Kennel takes the position that it is always "dogs first" and so has been camping out on the doubly long Yukon Quest trails (half as many check points in this race as in the Iditarod - averaging 200 miles in the Quest to 100 miles in Iditarod), perhaps resting more than others who rush ahead?

Yukon Quest Official Statement
At 15:35 PST Race Marshall Doug Grilliot stated that General, a dog on Jake Berkowitz’s team, had expired. The dog was being transported to Whitehorse by a race veterinarian at the time of death. Head Veterinarian Dr. Kathleen McGill said a necropsy will be conducted.  The Yukon Quest will release more information as details are confirmed.

Best news comes from SPKennel dog log, as well as an interesting change here!*

Yukon Quest Race Marshall Doug Grilliot announced that the mandatory layover at Dawson would be extended by four hours, from 36 hours to 40 hours. Key race personnel, including veterinarians and officials, are required to be in place at all checkpoints in advance of mushers. The next checkpoint after Dawson is Eagle, Alaska which is accessible only by air. The decision has been made in order to ensure that all support and logistics are in place to care for mushers and dogs. The combination of a re-route eliminating American Summit – which reduces the distance of the race by approximately 50 miles – and the pace of the front runners was the basis for the decision.

*  DOGLOG reports about SPK reaction to lengthening of the stay from 36 to 40 hours and elimination of the tough "summit" climb up and down (and in doing so, shorten the race by 50 miles) "de-fang" this supposedly "tougher than Iditarod" trail?   We think it might, whether or not anyone else does!

This is developing into an amazing race - according to what we've found out online (Ken Anderson doing official race commentary):

Moore out in front heading into Day 3
He wasn’t flashy, and he managed to avoid the media spotlight, but Allen Moore ran a solid race on Day 2 of the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race.

Moore took his mandatory four-hour layover and made up his differential in Braeburn to start the day, and then rested his dogs again for nearly five hours in Carmacks. The strategy seems to be paying off, as he passed defending champion Hugh Neff at McCabe Creek and was in the lead heading into Pelly late Sunday night. Moore dropped one dog in Carmacks and is now running with 13.

Neff took his mandatory layover at Carmacks, and stopped to rest and feed his dogs again in McCabe. Neff has yet to drop a dog. Both Moore and Neff are expected in Pelly early Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Jake Berkowitz chose not to stop at Carmacks in the early evening and was racing to catch the leaders with all 14 dogs. Scott Smith and Brent Sass rounded out the top five as they left Carmacks headed for Pelly. Smith has not dropped any dogs and Sass just one.

The next pack is being led by Kelly Griffin, David Dalton, Cody Strathe and Normand Casavant. All three of them headed out of Carmacks late in the evening. Heading up the middle pack is rookie Markus Ingebretsen, followed by Lance Mackey and Crispin Studer. Mackey, the four-time Quest champion, dropped four dogs in Carmacks so is now running with 10.

Five mushers remained in Carmacks late Sunday night. Susie Rogan, Abbie West, Denis Tremblay, Dan Kaduce, and Ed Hopkins we0re all resting their dogs for the big journey ahead.

Nine mushers were between Braeburn and Carmacks, with Yellowknife rookie Dyan Bergen at the back of the pac


Only one woman has ever won this long-distance race.  Guess who?  Read about and watch interview with Allen (& Aliy) post-finish here.

Yukon Quest 300

He relaxes back in Two Rivers after his first 300 mile race...he never saw so much beauty - thanks Aliy for memorializing his first big race!

Which 4-legged athletes make up the RED TEAM
R&B TEAM?  http://spkenneldoglog.blogspot.ca/p/race-rosters-2.html

YQ300 END COMES TUESDAY, middle of the night...2nd place by 8 seconds.
"Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas" is a saying about convenient morality, but not a description of the principles instilled in 4-legged team members.at SP Kennel!!

Did someone say "ATTEN-TION!  Eyes front..."

Borrowed photo above (l) from the Fairbanks News-Miner
You think Aliy is saying someting like..."What a brave boy and so good; musher is so proud".  We note that YQ300 showed precisely this point!   Casual pose at Dawson Dog Camp.

A Grantland Rice poem, in part...

"For when the One Great Scorer comes
To mark against your name,
He writes - not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game."

Phillips edges Zirkle by seconds in YQ300

After travelling together for nearly the entire race, YQ300 front-runners Michelle Phillips and Aliy Zirkle crossed the finish line in Pelly Crossing with only eight seconds between them.

Tagish resident Phillips bolted across the finish line, pumping and encouraging her dogs while the headlamp belonging to Two Rivers’ Aliy Zirkle was right on her heels.

The official time for Phillips’ arrival was 10:20:02 pm, with Zirkle in at 10:20:10 pm. The purse for the YQ300 is as follows:

1st Place: $1,350
2nd Place: $810
3rd Place: $540

Phillips was fined $150 for crossing the finish line without wearing her mandatory bib.

For all YQ300 standings, see http://www.yukonquest.com/site/yq300-race-updates/.

Two Rivers musher in dramatic end of Yukon Quest 300
Fairbanks News Miner
Jeff Richardson/jrichardson@newsminer.com
Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 10:24 pm

PELLY CROSSING, Yukon — If anyone knows that seconds matter in sled dog races, it's Aliy Zirkle.

Michelle Phillips, of Tagish, Yukon, eked out an eight second victory over Zirkle, the Two Rivers musher, in the Yukon Quest 300 on Monday night. Spectators could see their bobbing headlights in the dark as the two approached the finish line, as both teams shouted encouragement to their dogs.

The final tally for Phillips was 22 hours, 20 minutes, 2 seconds. Zirkle finished in 22 hours, 20 minutes, 10 seconds.  Despite the last-second tension between the pair, it was a handshake agreement early in Carmacks that led to the dramatic showdown.  Both Zirkle and Phillips quickly shot out in front of the 17-team field but couldn't shake each other.

"Our teams were very evenly matched — it was obvious we had the same team, but with different dogs," Zirkle said. "It was obvious our strategies were the same, too."

Early in the race, they made a deal to race and rest together, Zirkle said. The updates at each checkpoint showed the pair only separated by a few minutes.  Once their checkpoint rests were done, it set up a final 32-mile race from Stepping Stone to the finish line in Pelly.

"We decided to race and see who had the fastest team," Zirkle said. "And dammit, I lost."

Zirkle said she was ahead for about 2 hours in the final leg, but couldn't quite hold off Phillips without using a ski pole to push off. But that's a prohibited move when mushers are in front of another team, and her dogs weren't quite fast enough.  The climactic conclusion brought to mind the finish in last year's 1,000-mile Yukon Quest. Zirkle's husband, Allen Moore, lost to Hugh Neff by just 26 seconds at the finish line in Whitehorse.

The rivalry doesn't stop this week with Zirkle and Phillips. Moore is back in this year's Quest. Among his challengers is Phillips' partner, Ed Hopkins.

Phillips claimed $1,350 for the first-place finish. Zirkle won $810 for second place.


The Red Team, down one dog (Boris) edges on, nipping at the heels of the leader.  Both teams in the lead of the YQ300 are far ahead of the pack.  And the yearlings in the R&B
are still among the dozen strong, as they began the race...and look now what's up!  Red Team  hits Pelly  Crossing first (by a matter of seconds...).  Into the finishing leg of the race now.


Please note the fact that there are 8 hours of daylight in the winter (from Internet source) - we'd bet no video from the trail!


NOTE:  Super-modest RED TEAM leader won the Yukon Quest 1000 in Year 2000


Yukon Quest 300/1000 on tap beginning Feb. 2 - ChaCha says "The real 'superbowl (including salmon snacks)' takes place in Canada/Alaska at the Yukon Quest - Alaskan Huskies are tougher than NFL linebackers and quicker than wide-receivers and we bark louder than the quarterbacks."

(l)Borrowed and cropped photo, (c) YouTube clip, SPK;  (r) borrowed stills, SPK

JANUARY 2013 - #5 the lucky number in January--Red and Black Teams both picked that number in bid draws!!!

Copper Basin 300 link;  SP KENNEL BLACK TEAM THE WINNER!!!
Note:  BLACK TEAM membership for this race includes 12 dogs, and reports on how everyone one did are on the SPKwebsite.  This is a race that runs alongside highways at times - so reports on it can be given by those at various points of how things are going!  According to race administrator, not too much snow this year.  (As opposed to last year, when there was...too much!)  But wait!  Snow dump plus warm weather for second half of the race...at last check point...read ADN story:


Result and times of 100:  Two Rivers Solstice100/50 (rescheduled);
Note:  RED TEAM membership for this race includes 12 dogs as does the R&B - yearlings...RED TEAM finishes in first place in the 100. R&B TEAM gets second place in the 50 - love the comment on the SPKblog that the yearlings were "tired." 

And by the end of the 2012-2013 season, some yearlings will have:  Run Yukon Quest 300, Iditarod (Clyde), raced in the Sheep Mountain 300 (Felix and Nelson)...


Since there were to be 14 to a team at Kuskokwim, the final selection, and congratulations for making the team, to:





Kuskokwim 300 link;  Jeff King wins his...ninth Kuskokwim 300. 

TOPO: Longest upgrade (but not the most extream) is in the loop (map below right), after the team is tired out, then a big drop;
Hope it stays cold! If it isn't cold enough in the flood plain (lower left map) you could get really, really wet!  Aerial photo, below right.

As it turned out, SP KENNEL couldn't make it to Anchorage to catch the plane to fly to Bethel, AK.  "About Weston" will follow the race anyway, to see what happens!  The yellow colored area on the map (lower left) is flood plain.  If it isn't cold enough, wet areas aren't frozen...or cold enough soon enough...NEWS:  The race is on, minus SP Kennel AND Lance  Mackey. 

WOW!  This is a great race for armchair mushers!!!  Who are also urban planners.  SUPER mapping!  Glued to thr computer screen?  Woof! 

Perhaps my own knowledge failures, or maybe it is also a bit being spoiled by the magnificent SP Kennel coverage on the recent CB300 win by ther Black Team...great graphics don't make a race report.  No does GPS tracking available for free, in this case. 


"... Now for the 300. I suppose it can be called a surprise when a team like King’s can come back after not racing since 2009, and not winning since 2006, and win easily, but of course for an 8 time champion, it really is not a surprise.  King has a line of dogs that is obviously ideal for this race, and even though this batch of dogs has not raced here before,  their breed line has won enough times to qualify as contenders anytime they take part.  And of course King himself has the race pretty well figured out.  As for his age, that is not nearly as big a factor in dog racing as in most other competitive  events, because performing while sleep deprived is a trait that is often easier for  folks with more experience doing it.  Of course, new easy rider sleds make it more comfortable for  older racers to compete.  In this race, because of no hills, the dogs can do most of the work and an seasoned driver just has to work in the checkpoints.

"What happened to last year’s champion Rohn Buser?  A blistering pace headed up river put him in a good position to win, but keeping up that kind of pace is tough.  After a layover in Kalskag, the dogs usually depart with a slower pace. With about 200 miles to go, that Saturday pace is the key to victory here.  Its not which team is the fastest that wins these kind of races, it’s the team  that slows down to the fastest pace.  In other words, you need to be faster when you are going slow.  The team I used to race in the 300 was a notoriously slow starting bunch, but they held that pace for a long time, often catching and passing teams that has passed us earlier.

It is fun to see Tony Browning  running with the leaders.  Tony was a regular at this race for many years, but hasn’t raced here since 2000.  This promises to be his best finish ever.  Expect a finish for King between 11  and noon today."