Every team has a bench.
Not every player gets to play all of the time. Not every dog gets to race every race. We will fill 36 slots with racing dogs this coming weekend at the Copper Basin 300 Sled Dog Race. Now, many of our Dog Fans might be saying "With 39 Racing Dogs and 10 Yearlings how can you possibly decide who gets to race?" Sometimes it is an easy decision and other times it's not.
All of the dogs have their own training calendar. We record all of their data into a spreadsheet and then spend hours analyzing how each dog is performing. We compare different dogs as well as year to year averages. Right now there are dogs that stand out with 'perfect records'. These are dogs that haven't missed a training day all season: Quito, Nacho, Willie, Mac, Lester and Felix. But, that doesn't tell the whole story. We need to know why a dog missed a training day. Perhaps he overheats somewhat on warmer days; Honda; or started to get a little too thin; Beemer; or maybe just needs a little more long distance sled dog education; Shiner. We have to analyze every dog's attitude, gait and overall appearance after each training run in order to get the whole picture. If a dog needs an additional day off or perhaps a shorter "fun" run we will edit their training calendar.
So, picking three teams for the Copper Basin 300 is challenging. And sadly there will be a few dogs left on the SP K bench. But, every dog at SP Kennel is still in the running for the Yukon Quest team, the Yukon Quest 300, as well as the two Iditarod teams.