Honestly, not all of us are happy with the outcome - you can't blame a past champion for looking for his next win! (As we have always said in the past, in order to win a competitive race, a team must progress smoothly and with out issue from start to finish.)
But, after saying all of that...... SP Kennel, as a whole, had several successes, learned quite a bit and made some huge advances during the race. Here is the 2011 Copper Basin 300 recap:
- 9th Place - Aliy and the Red Team had a virtually flawless race. The team managed to avoid most of the trail hazards and stay on the correct route. The 2 year old rookie "Honkey Tonk" litter mates (Scruggs, Willie, Waylon, Boondocks) outperformed expectations. The 3 year old brothers, Beemer and Rambler were confidant and lead much of the race while their sister, Malibu, was flawless. Race veterans (Spot, Bonita, Roy, Dingle) were solid through out the 300 miles. Moonpie got a sore foot (perhaps a bruise from a trail hazard) and he wanted to leave with the team after Tolsona, but Aliy made the final call and cut him from the roster.
- 16th Place - Allen and the Black Team started number 50 out of 51 teams. They passed 27 teams in the first 62 miles. This first leg might have used a little too much of their reserve energy because their speed dropped the next leg. Then, the unthinkable happened, and the team took a wrong turn. The extra miles and the overall heartache of such a mistake took a toll on both musher and dogs. Much of the upbeat and positive energy was gone. Butterscotch and Skittles were dropped because they were tired. Ranger, Kit Kat, Snickers, Tatfish and Rose worked like troopers to the finish line. The five outstanding dogs on the team were: Olivia, Quito, Scout, Viper and Biscuit- it seemed that nothing could phase them.
- 30th Place - Bridgett and the Red & Black Team had an "adventure". Both musher and dogs had to show extreme patience, fortitude and determination. Bridgett and the dogs got wet feet, wet bodies and wet gear several times during the 300 miles. In below zero temperatures, they needed to dry themselves at camp fires, change clothes, and persevere. Half way through the race, the team crashed into a hidden log and destroyed the sled. This required a sled change. The R&B dogs were chosen because many were older experienced racers who could use a nice, easy race with plenty of rest. So, the "Older Professional Dogs" (Cha Cha, Bullet, Teddy, Homebrew) and the "Veteran Racers" (Kipper, Nacho, Chica, Honda, Betsy) combined with three inexperienced dogs (Hunter, Tug and Lester) were supposed to have an easy 300 mile jaunt. They didn't. Lester tripped in the trail and got a sore wrist and was therefore dropped, Honda got cold feet from the water crossings and was dropped and Homebrew was tired only 20 miles from the finish, so he was dropped. In the end, the team pulled through and crossed the finish line. It was certainly a great effort!