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.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Yearlings' First Race

Congrats to the yearlings on a successful first race!

Howdy, folks, Meghan here. As the excitement from the Copper Basin begins to settle, I thought I’d take a moment to recap what a fantastic job the yearlings did on their first race, the Solstice 50, last week. After training alongside the adult dogs all season, the seven yearlings - Clyde, Nelson, Felix, Pepe, Izzy, Outlaw and Mismo - had the opportunity to show off their hard work. The youngsters were led by a stellar quartet of adults - Scout, Kipper, Waylon and Spicy. One additional adult, Tug, ran in wheel to “keep the peace,” and round out the team. Tug ran alongside Mismo (who is, incidentally, approximately twice her size). Thanks, Tug!

Getting the team hooked up at the starting line was, as expected, a bit hectic. The yearlings were beside themselves with excitement. Other teams taking off, folks walking around taking photos... what’s a young sled dog to do?! In their enthusiasm, Nelson broke his harness (not chewed, but actually broke, from pulling), Clyde broke the metal snap holding him at the truck, and the five yearlings on the other side of the truck actually bent the metal bar that held their picket line! These guys were amped, to say the least. I love their energy, and I love it even more when their energies are all pointed in the same direction.

Once we took off from the starting line, we had a pretty smooth run. The team was presented with obstacles that the yearlings haven’t had much experience with yet - going through river overflow, passing snow machines, and passing lots of teams (as well as occasionally being passed). They all did outstandingly well. I was particularly impressed with Pepe and Nelson, who were so focused and kept a smooth lope the entire run. Izzy, who is traditionally one of the more playful yearlings, really stepped up as well. On training runs, she likes to pick up anything she can find on the trail - sticks, ice chunks, lost booties... But she was all business on race day. Way to go, Izzy!

Photo by Julien Schroder

We completed the race in 5 hours, 22 minutes. This included two snack/love breaks, and several “mini-stops” to sort out minor tangles, remove frozen booties, etc. Everyone finished the race happy and healthy. What an honor it was to accompany such a fine group of youngsters on their first race. Undoubtedly, they all have long, distinguished race careers ahead of them! Go pups!


babs said...

love all those smiling faces!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this full run down and a great picture!!! Go pups, indeed!!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the entertaining recap, Meghan. Looks like you have, too, a pretty big grin under that neck gaiter!

Macgellan said...

Thanks, Meghan!... What fun to hear about your great race... If the SPK dogs keep getting bigger and stronger, you and Allen are going to have to get some stouter hardware for them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Meghan for the race recap. It was very interesting. You write very well.

Jodi Bailey from Dew Claw Kennels came in 2nd (behind Aliy in the 100). She had a very interesting entry regarding the race on her blog, in which she talks about the trails and about her race with Aliy.

Dawn E said...

Wow, what fun! Thanks for sharing...now if you could just get that enthusiasm to bend the bar back!

Lourdes, VT said...

Very happy to hear about your and, the yearlings success and a big congrats to you for leading the team!

Lisa B said...

Thanks for sharing the story of the yearlings first race - sounds like lots of fun was had by all - and the "smiles" on all the faces is priceless.

Good job yearlings and Meghan!

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of power in those 7 young dogs.I can't wait to see how they develop.


Linda Toth said...

Great recap and very funny images popped into my head of Herculean sled dogs snapping chains in two.

"Vee are here .. to pump you up!"

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of the Latinos and Outlaws. Thanks for all the details on their first run.

-Melissa K.