What an incredibly difficult decision it turned out to be for both Allen and Aliy to narrow their teams down to 14 and 12 respectively. Of course, it's a nice "problem" to have but it wasn't easy!
Allen's team will be Scout, Chipper, Clyde, Commando, Dutch, Felix, Izzy, Kodiak, Mac, Mismo, Willie, Schmoe, Scruggs and Waylon.
He has several Yukon Quest 1000 rookies on the team continuing the "changing of the guard" theme of this season. Chipper, Commando, Dutch, Felix, Mismo and Kodiak have not competed in this race, although all have had 1000 mile experience in the Iditarod. It is a big deal of Allen to have a two year old in Commando with him in the 'A' team so we are excited for Commando! Allen's most experienced team mate is Scout, having raced the YQ1000 all five times with him and is a two-time Quest Champion!
Allen's oldest and youngest team mates, Scout and Commando
Click here for more information about the Black Team athletes.
Aliy has Lester, Boondocks, Chena, Daisy, Spark, Amber, Violet, Driver, Iron, Champ, Sandy and Chemo with her on the 300 mile race. She has a team stacked with Yukon Quest 300 rookies with only Lester, Boondocks, Chemo and Sandy having raced it before.
Brothers Iron and Driver race today!
Click here for more information about the Red Team athletes.
There are a number of talented athletes left at the kennel. If they weren't 100% fit they were not considered for either team so that they have a better chance to make an Iditarod team. Some will need some time off to fully recover from any slight injuries and a big bunch of them will continue training on the trails of Two Rivers to keep their fitness up ready for March. There are a few of our "more mature" team members who have been tagged as very important for the Iditarod so will sit this one out as they have nothing to prove. You will notice some big names missing from the two line-ups.
We know that sponsors and fans of the dogs left behind will be disappointed but just because they aren't racing this week doesn't mean they aren't just as important as those that are. They will be well looked after at home and will get lots of love and a few extra treats!