Who is the Crew at SP Kennel this season?
Year after year, the SP Kennel Crew is an awesome dedicated group. When I first talk to someone about helping at SP Kennel, I say: "We are happy people and have happy dogs here. If you don't think you will fit in that mold, we are probably not for you."
Over the last few years, we have had great people helping us -- honestly, more than helping -- they are SP Kennel! Thank you guys.
The full-time SP CREW for 2016-2017 Season:
People always ask us "What are you guys up to this season?" The answer is: The Same. While it is a boring answer, in truth, what we do is our passion.
We are still dedicated to our kennel, our racing and each other.
This coming season will be Allen's seventh Yukon Quest and tenth Iditarod. He loves mid distance races as well. Allen also holds the kennel together: buildings, vehicles, sleds, Aliy, you name it.
This Iditarod will be my 20th 1,000 mile race. Sounds like an anniversary! My speciality is: D - O - G - S. I am 100% dedicated to these awesome athletes. I spend most of my time thinking about how to better train them and make their lives more complete. I sweat the small details about their future happiness and retirement. (Maybe I should worry a little more about mine!)
Moira is the primary Sponsorship Coordinator and Website guru and dog lover. She has been with SP Kennel for four years. She knows the dogs, the races and the overall goals of the kennel. She manages to hold both Aliy and Allen together during the busiest times of the season.
Moira is a technical genius and can have a cup of tea, text on her phone and type on her laptop all while watching the New Zealand 'All Blacks' rugby team beat Australia. I sit in awe and watch her as my phone auto corrects every word I try to type with my one finger.
Moira lives part time in New Zealand and part time at SP Kennel.
Chris was a very important part of SP Kennel last season and decided to return for a 2nd season. We are super pleased. Chris basically raised both the Coffee Pups and the Goldens: puppy walks, the big move to their own dog house and their first harness experiences. (The Goldens were born the day after he arrived in Two Rivers.)
Chris will race this season. He is signed up for the Copper Basin 300, the Northern Lights 300 and the Two Rivers 100. We hope some of the Coffees and Goldens will be on his teams.
Chris and his three little husky puppies -- Cloud, Smokey and Blitz -- live in the Handler Cabin at SP Kennel. His pet, Green Dog, moved in with his parents in Montana.
New to the Kennel:
Ruth comes to us from Norway, but is originally from Estonia. We met her while we were at the 2015 Kiruna Sled Dog Seminar in Sweden. She stayed in touch with us, and jumped on the chance to come to SP Kennel when we needed an extra hand.
First and foremost, Ruth is a dog lover. She flew her pet dog Loki with her from Norway (Loki's airfare was more expensive than Ruth's!) Ruth came to help Aliy and Allen with Fall Training - they really need a third person during September and October. She will return to her husband, Ole, and family during the Christmas and New Year's holidays and then come back to Two Rivers and keep and eye on the kennel during the busy racing season.
Ruth has been spending a lot of quality time with the 2016 SP Kennel litter: Gold, Prata and Bronze.
Wes & Wendy
With their international jobs (they often travel around the globe... literally). But both Wes and Wendy find as much time as the can to be a part of the kennel.
They might be available to be handlers for several races this season: Two Rivers Races, Copper Basin 300, Northern Lights 300, Yukon Quest, Iditarod... we have quite a few on the schedule.
Then again... they might be in Kenya, Hong Kong or Washington DC. You never know!
But Wes and Wendy call 'home' a place just down the road from SP Kennel in Two Rivers so we will see them at times throughout the winter.
Wes and Wendy love the dogs (and put up with Aliy and Allen well enough).
Camp Liwa just east of Fairbanks. But Mark loves the dogs, so he needs SP Kennel in order to get his "dog fix"!
Mark will be driving Hollywood (SP Kennel Dog Truck) to all the races. Photo on the right is at the 2016 Yukon Quest finish line in Whitehorse, Canada. L-R: Bridgett (Allen's daughter), Mark and Moira.
Mark occasionally pulls himself away from his full-time job and comes out to the kennel to train some dogs with us before the racing begins.
We are VERY excited about the season and what's in store for the SP Kennel Crew. Thank you SP Kennel Crew (past, present and future) for your time, your effort and your love of our dogs. You guys make us who we are!