SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Iditarod Family Reunion

Tomorrow we hop a jet in Orlando and head to Anchorage. Doug and I (Aliy’s and Kaz’s parents) are the first in a parade of family members traveling to Alaska for Iditarod 2007. We are there to help with logistics and provide moral support. With both Aliy and Allen competing, the start will be a huge undertaking.

In Anchorage, we headquarter at the home of Jeanne Reilly and Larry Bogue, dedicated sponsors and great friends. Doug and I will sleep there Tuesday night and then await the arrival of Aliy and Allen on Wednesday. They drive 6 to 7 hours south from Two Rivers in a truck loaded with sleds and racing gear. Both need to be rested and alert for a sponsor dinner Wednesday night and mandatory pre-race meetings all day Thursday.

Early morning Thursday, Kaz, Ray and 38 canine athletes board two dog trucks and head south from Two Rivers to Anchorage. They will stop once or twice en route to stretch and water the dogs (and themselves). Their trip will take about 8 hours.

Also on Thursday, Aliy’s two uncles (Toebe and Bob McDonald) meet at Minneapolis Airport to fly directly to Anchorage. They arrive late afternoon just in time for the Iditarod Starting Banquet.

Eight family members, along with ‘adopted’ family and friends, meet for the Starting Banquet on Thursday evening, where Aliy and Allen choose their starting positions. It is the time for mushers, sponsors, families, friends and groupies to gather and celebrate the spirit of the Iditarod.

Early Friday Allen’s daughter, Bridget, arrives in Anchorage from Nome, where she has been working since November. She is an experienced musher and will be a critical member of the starting line pit crew.

There will be 9 of us in Anchorage related by blood or marriage. We can only hope that the labor and the love of family will help reduce starting line ‘stress’ for Aliy and Allen. We can only hope!!!

P.S. Allen’s Mom, Donnie, flies to Nome, Alaska from Manila, Arkansas, for the finish. More later on the family reunion at the finish line.

The Top Eighteen

Well, time is just flying by. Iditarod is less than a week away. Soon the family will be heading to Alaska and we will be packing up the dogs and heading down to Anchorage. So who are we bringing? That is a good question. Let’s start with Aliy’s “A-Team”. Many of the dogs were on Aliy’s team last year and most of those and a few others were on Allen’s Championship Copper Basin Team. Here they are – the 2007 Iditarod Team.
1. ChaCha (5yrs) – Main Leader. Iditarod: ’06, ’05, ’04. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
2. Venus (5yrs) – Main Leader. Iditarod: ’06, ’05. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
3. Pingo (8yrs) – Main Leader. Iditarod: ’06, ’05, ’04, ’03, ’02, ‘01. Yukon Quest ’00. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
4. Teddy (5yrs) – Team Dog. Iditarod: ’06, ’05, ’04. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
5. Skittles (3yrs) –Leader/ Team. Iditarod: ’06. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
6. Butterscotch (3yrs) –Leader/ Team. Iditarod: Rookie. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
7. Reeses (3yrs) –Leader/ Team. Iditarod: Rookie. In ’07, Kusko 300 & T100.
8. Manhattan (5yrs) – Leader / Wheel. Iditarod: ’06, ’05, ’04. In ’07, CB300 & T200.
9. Hoss (4yrs) – Leader / Team. Iditarod: ’06. In ’07, CB300 & T200
10. Oddball (4yrs) – Team Dog. Iditarod: ’06, ‘05. In ’07, CB300 & T200
11. Tony (4yrs) – Team Dog. Iditarod: Rookie. In ’07, CB300 & T200
12. Heeeler (3 yrs) – Leader / Team. Iditarod: Rookie. In ’07, CB300
13. Bullet (4yrs) – Leader / Team. Iditarod: ’06. In ’07, Kusko 300 & T100
14. Pepper (4yrs) – Leader / Team. Iditarod: ’05. In ’07, Kusko 300 & T100
15. Sparky (4yrs) – Leader / Team. Iditarod: ’06. In ’07, Kusko 300 & T100
16. ROSEmary (2yrs) – Leader / Team. Iditarod: Rookie. In ’07, Kusko 300 & T100
17. Kingston (4yrs) – Team Dog. Iditarod: ’06. In ’07, T200 (Dean Osmar Dog)
18. Hawke (4yrs) – Team Dog. Iditarod: ’06. In ’07, T200 (Dean Osmar Dog)

The dogs ran their last long run yesterday. The next couple of days will really begin to show who Aliy will take this year on her trek to Nome. It is an exciting time at the kennel. So much to do.

Thursday night Aliy will draw her race number. We will let you know where she and Allen will be starting.

Thanks for all your support.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

43 Below Zero

Well, we woke up this morning to another cold snap. It is currently 43 below zero. Hopefully it will warm up during the day a bit. We still have two longer runs that we need to do and right now 20 below is too cold to be running the dogs. Yesterday, the weather was saying Sunday before warming up. Hopefully sooner, but we just have to take it as it goes.

The Yukon Quest is finishing up right now. Lance Mackey has an 8 hour lead on Hans Gatt leaving Chena Hot Springs. CHS is the final checkpoint about 90 miles from the finish line. If all goes well, Lance will win his 3rd Quest in a row this afternoon. You can follow the finish at www.yukonquest.com.

Monday, February 19, 2007

VET CHECKS

Vet Checks are done! Sunday, February 18, Dr. Jean Battig of Chena Ridge Veterinary Clinic did physicals on about 40 dogs for Aliy and Allen’s teams. All and all they looked GREAT! Poor Blossom is heading for some dental work and has a broken toe nail. She was about the “worst”. We started at about 11am, Dr. Battig and a vet student Paige doing her practical and finished at about 5pm. It is always fun to see how our dogs relate to other people and to dogs. They are just so darn NICE. Rubia, Aliy’s pet dog, fell in love with Dr. Battig’s little poodle!

Now, over the next week, Aliy will finalize her team. They have 2 longer runs left before leaving for Anchorage. It is all about keeping them healthy until March 3. The runs are slower and the trails are a bit “simpler” right now. No need to tempt fate. It is not really a time when you can joke around with Aliy much. “Oh, that’s interesting!” tends to send her into “What, what’s wrong?”

Allen and Ray are working on sleds and getting battery packs made up. Allen is constructing new removable seats for the Yukon River and the coast. Ray is making any final repairs on the racing sleds. We’ll be ready!

We are very excited about how the dogs are looking! It should be a good race. For Both Teams!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Craziness Has Begun

Welcome to The SP Kennel Dog Log!

Although Iditarod 2007 is over two weeks away, SP Kennel is hopping! On Tuesday, Febuary 6, Aliy and Allen took 48 dogs into Fairbanks to have EKGs and Blood Drawn to make sure they are as healthy as they can be heading down the trail. The results have come back and we are very pleased. On Monday, February 12, we brought 1541 pounds of dog food, people food and gear for Aliy and her dogs into the drop point to be sent out over the trail. Allen's weighted a bit more at 1634lb. This weekend, Dr. Jean Battig of Chena Ridge Veterinary Clinic will be heading out to the kennel to give physicals for all the dogs possibly heading out on the race. She will be checking a minimum of 40 dogs.