WARNING: This is only a
support page for SP KENNEL and its superb website/blog - Iditarod Trail
South and North maps blown up
Photos from SP Kennel as well as vihillsddeo.
Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"
video (l). Ernest
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.
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.
CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE:
DOING THE PR!!!
PUPS GET A RUN!
2012-2013 RACING SEASON
HOME AGAIN (TO BETTLES, AK) VIDEO
DOWN RACE SEASON, AS IT BEGAN
RACE: SHEEP MOUNTAIN 300
EARLIER "BUILD-UP" RACE SERIES
L-R: Meghan, Aliy, Allen and Moira
WHAT A TWO LEGGED TEAM IN
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
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
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
SPRING FOR RESTING,
- AS WELL AS JUMP STARTING THE
NEWEST RACERS (QUITO'S GOLF
LITTER, b. 5-12)!!!
pups with Nacho are younger
(b. 8-12) - shown at right (Dutch and Lydia only) with grandma
ChaCha. And soon it will be summer and the beginning of fun
training...FOR NEXT SEASON!
TWO-RIVERS DOG MUSHERS
CHECK OUT CHACHA'S TRULY
AWESOME RUN HERE!!!
community 4 legs at a time - WOOF!
ChaCha in the mix as racer and grandmother!!!
thought she was no longer needed...another
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!!! "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?"
LAST RACE OF THE 2012-2013 SEASON?
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!!!
SAY IDITAROD #42?
THE CAR GUYS, RANGER AND BEEMER,
TWO OF CHACHA'S BOYS
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
usual strength for SP Kennel dogs, as they do distance races...however,
as reported on the SPKDOGLOG:
and Aliy just came home from the last race of the season: The
34th Annual Koyukuk River Championship.
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.)
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
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
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.
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).
FOURTH IN A WILD
RUSH!!! PICKED UP 38 MINUTES ON 3RD PLACE FINISHER (3 MINUTES
BEHIND AT THE END OF 60 MILES)!!!
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!!!
R&B'S MOVING DOWN THE
MOUNTAIN 300 LINK
TO RACE, ALTHOUGH WE'VE NO LUCK - PERHAPS IT WILL ONLY HOLD FINISHING
race progress reports so far, but we don't care, because SP Kennel
staff is ably taking pix as team rests at check points, and we are
thrilled to see the photos!!!
Felix and Nelson
practice howling in C-sharp
minor...that's how you get to Carnegie Hall.
speaking of comparing the Sheep Mountain 300 to a musical performance,
with twelve dogs strong, looks like R&B team is rocking into the
latter part of the race...which ends up back at Sheep Mountain
Lodge. This is a qualifying race for Iditarod 2014 - giving new
mushers experience in camping out with their teams and caring for these
magnificent animals over a long period. Woof!
"Beemer and Ranger will lead the team out on
followed by Boondocks and Rambler...
Sissy and Viper... Lester and
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
season when there wasn't
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
...BACK IN THE DOG LOT IN
NOME...QUITO GOT TO HER FEET, READY TO GO ANOTHER 1000 MILES, BUT...AS
WE SAY ELSEWHERE...SO COOL THEY DON'T NEED SHADES.
Tatfish, Bonita in wheel said
"ZZZZ" - Spicy, alert, proud after matching sister "Spice Girls" Rose
& Nutmeg with six finishes of Iditarid!..RED TEAM VIDEO!!!
rests; Olivia and her
share a brief moment...I still
think Olivia looked SO sharp in her double-layer
Lots of "pets" for
awesome athletes - massage, too, upon request.
or "MacDaddy" on the left - what do you think he's dreaming
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
IDITAROD XVI (SOUTHERN ROUTE)
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.
Riddles, won in1984, walked her team in a snowstorm for
insurmountable lead; Susan
1986-88, 1990, set the standard. Second
place for Red Team in
FEATURED ON THE COVER OF THIS ESPN STORY:
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
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
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,
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.”
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
THE FINISH: RED TEAM AND BLACK TEAM; finishers
banquet Sunday, March 17, 2013.
Re-Start, Day One
SP Kennel has
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
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.
THE RED TEAM VIDEO
(L) AND IMMEDIATE
REPORT (R) OF BLACK
TEAM FINISH HERE, WITH REPLAY, NICE PIC.. ALL HAIL LEADER VIPER!!!
Chants of "Aliy, Aliy, Aliy" as
in single lead, not pictured in photo at right, pic
SO COOL THEY DON'T
NEED SHADES...Poquita surely doesn't! And above, her other side profile!
sharp, SP Kennel Red Team
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
casually, says "Poquita is the best."
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
finishers!!! Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof,
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!!!
TEAM MEMBERS 2013
2013 NOTE: Check out
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!!!
48 - SPK numbers in 2013!
BIB # DRAW, THEN CEREMONIAL START IN DOWNTOWN ANCHORAGE...
LONG INTERVIEW WITH ADN MAKES REFERENCE TO ANOTHER ONE...ALLEN AT
CEREMONIAL START (New London DAY)
& #48 -
"parade" or ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage!
But here's the text of terrific interview from ADN
kicks off with fan-filled
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
"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
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
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
"This is like a pregame warm-up," Mackey said of the party-like
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.
LEADERS OF THE PACK - CHACHA'S
Aliy nuzzles rookie, Mac; Viper bucks up ChaCha's young son
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
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...
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
BLACK TEAM RESTS AND RED TEAM PLOWS
AHEAD THRU MUSH
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
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.
WIKIPEDIA ON SHELF ICE: 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?):
Afternoon Update - Nikolai (From SP Kennel website)
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)!
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!
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.
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.
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
Tug waits for a ride, covered in a lovely
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
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.
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
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
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 AND BLACK TEAM BOTH TAKE THEIR 24 HOURS
RESTS IN TAKOTNA.
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 RED TEAM:
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
(see article above). Remember, this is the Southern Route, and in
odd-numbered years, the winds hit the teams in their faces, making for
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"
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
by Joe Runyan
Date: March 8,
2013 3:28 am
impressive entry to Anvik, let’s take a look at the
talks about water in Iditarod (that's leader Martin
Buser, friend of former Governor Sarah Palin)
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.
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.
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.
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...
EIGHT HOUR MANDATORY RESTS FOR SP KENNEL IN GRAYLING...AND
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
Date: March 8, 2013 3:00 pm
There is perks to being first in the Iditarod. Not only do you
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
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!!! 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...
REPORT FROM TWO RIVERS:
Brother and sister Dingle and Kipper, dropped earlier, arrived
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
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
"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...
FROM ABOUT TOWN:
Time to turn those Rally ("Racing") Caps around - red or black -
and start woof, woof, woofing!!!
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
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
Challengers have piled into
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...“
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!!!
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
then the mad
Good news! Made up time
SP Kennel Red
video) arrives in White Mountain last night...let's hear it for
rookie Mac - woof!!!
As Iditarod Insider said, it is slow
BLACK TEAM NEWS!!! NOW
OUT OF SHAKTOOLIK ON THE ROAD TO KOYUK...
CHEMO & VIPER LEADING...OUT OF
Iditarod Insider reports on Black Team; SP Kennel website reports on
SPKDOGLOG ON DAY NINE:
"...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
"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
Red Team embarks, led by Quito and speaking
of "push" a shout out to Willie in single lead, too. Olivia and
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 EVER DID A
FINISHING VIDEO FOR
"SILVER" (2ND PLACE)!
#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
"You've got to
look good to feel good, you've got to feel good to run
good..." And the Red
high stepping sled dogs certainly do look fantanstic! Along with
hard-working, "best-presence-of-mind" musher! Check
out the wardrobes...
CHACHA APPROVES OF OLIVIA'S
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 masculino..."
There goes SP
Kennel Red Team, Quito in single lead - Woof, woof!!!
Olivia, who made her statement, boosting team spirit!!!
Olivia, who is
uber-grateful to SP Kennel for special undergarment design,
BLACK TEAM FINISH COMING UP! Out of
White Mountain 8 hr rest and heading for Safety, then Nome!!!
to us, musher has been nursing a hamstring pull for the second half of
the race - Black Team members now on their best behavior.
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!!!
BLACK TEAM OUT OF SAFETY!!!
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
IN THE 2013 RACING SEASON:
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 &
This 2-day speed
race,in December, Aurora 50:50, included Black
Team (finished 5th & 3rd), Red
Team (finished 4th) and R&B
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
Who makes the BLACK TEAM roster
A GREAT VICTORY FOR SP KENNEL AND A
JUST REWARD FOR "QUITO."
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
SPK MUSHERS AND DOGS
HAVE ALL ARRIVED SAFELY AND IN TIME FOR BIG BANQUET
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
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
— 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
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
“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
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
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,
“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
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
Casavant and Quito among award winners
Yukon Quest Finishers& Awards Banquet
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
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
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.
MONDAY MORNING IN FAIRBANKS - THE END OF A LONG RACE AND VICTORY
Photos below at finish: Sam Harrel/News-Miner - and
what an interview!!!
RED AND THE BLACK
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!
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:
By JEFF RICHARDSON | 0 comments
Posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 6:47 am | Updated: 12:03 pm, Mon Feb
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
“To have a chance to push for the win is kind of mind-numbing,” the Tok
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
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
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.
VICTORY, ABOVE (L); WATCH
THE NICE, LONG YOUTUBE VIDEO FROM INTERVIEW IN FAIRBANKS NEWS-MINER AT
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
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
Yukon Quest will release more information as details are confirmed.
Best news comes from SPKennel dog log, as well as an interesting change
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.
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
dogs for the big journey ahead.
Nine mushers were between Braeburn and Carmacks, with Yellowknife
rookie Dyan Bergen at the back of the pac
THIS OUT ON YOUTUBE
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
"THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES"
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
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!!!
someone say "ATTEN-TION!
Borrowed photo above (l) from the Fairbanks
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,
- "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
Rivers musher in dramatic end of Yukon Quest 300
Fairbanks News Miner
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.
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.
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
COPPER BASIN 300, A BIG
WIN! TWO RIVERS 100/50, 1st and 2ndIN JANUARY
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."
and cropped photo, (c) borrowed clip, SPK; (r) borrowed stills,
2013 - #5 the lucky number in January--Red and Black Teams both picked
that number in bid draws!!!
Basin 300 link; SP
KENNEL BLACK TEAM THE WINNER!!!
Note: BLACK TEAM
membership for this race includes 12 dogs, and reports on how everyopne
one did are on the SPKwebsite. This
is a race that runs alongside highways at times - so reports on it can
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 -
in first place in the 100. R&B TEAM gets second
place in the 50 - love the comment on the SPKblog that the yearlings
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)...
KENNEL RED TEAM
Since there were to be 14 to a team at
Kuskokwim, the final selection, and congratulations for making the
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;
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.
it turned out, SP KENNEL couldn't make it to
Anchorage to catch the plane to fly to Bethel, AK. "About Weston"
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
frozen...or cold enough soon enough...NEWS:
The race is on, minus SP Kennel AND Lance Mackey.
This is a great race for armchair mushers!!! Who are also urban
planners. SUPER mapping! Glued to thr
computer screen? Woof!
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
"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
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."