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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Olympic Litter in Harness

Why do they...? How do they...? What the...?

Anyone who has ever asked "How do you get the dogs to run?" should watch this video. The answer? "They just do".

Aliy and Ruth took the Olympic puppies for their first run in harness on Friday and they pulled from the moment the sled left the kennel to the moment they got back. It is always so exciting to see a puppy's inherent desire to pull without any instruction or practice.

Quito, Waylon, Nacho, Olivia, Biscuit and Nutmeg provided some experience up the front and looked just as excited as the pups!



We run the pups without neck lines for the first time to see what they do; to get an idea of what's on their mind. A neck line will often mask that. Later on, early next season, as they start learning trail manners we will periodically put neck lines on them to help them make the right decision with passing teams or crossing other trails.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Nome Council 200 Wrap Up and Video

Congrats Bridgett and the R&Bs!


At the starting line

Here are some thoughts from Bridgett about her stellar team:

Chena ran in lead the whole race - she is excellent. Chemo is great too but set a slower pace so he was moved back in a in a team position and was most powerful in the hills.

Chipper was as sassy as a dog can possibly be and ran in lead a lot including coming across the finish line in lead. Lydia was the most driven dog and also ran lead but looked to her sister Chena for the all the commands.


Topkok Shelter Cabin, Climbing the Topkok hills

Amber ran in single swing and was the cheerleader. Nomex can spot any kind of cabin, critter or snow machine from a far distance. He is the most aware was what’s going on and would tell me when we were coming upon anything.

Iron and Driver - the Big Boys - are awesome. When you tickle Iron’s belly he will roll over for a scratch. Driver is truly a sweetheart.

Outlaw and Clyde are tough and strong and you can tell why they win races. Willie has a heart of Gold - what a good boy.”


Chipper and Chena led over the line

Thanks to Kami for capturing some of this action.



All the dogs are now on their way back to the kennel having flown out of Nome this morning. Allen was in Anchorage to meet them and drive them home. Bridgett stays one more night to attend the Banquet and Prize giving.

Quadruple Dog Fan Club Draw

To mark the end of the racing season we did a quadruple Dog Fan Club Draw.

Congrats to Teresa Clark, Schmoe's fan, Jan Andersson, a fan of Olivia, Helen Gross who is a fan of Sanka, and Candace Korasick who is a fan of Cayenne.


Schmoe and Olivia

Schmoe is so enthusiastic, you can count on him to have a chat with you, whether he's lying on his dog house or running down the trail. Olivia is, quite simply, a superstar. There is nothing she cannot do: she's a media darling, supermom, Quest Champion, Iditarod runner-up and a happy, fun dog to have around.


Sanka and Cayenne

Sanka has a very promising career in front of her as she and her Coffee siblings and Golden Harness cousins head into their first season as "racing dogs". Cayenne is gorgeous! She so enjoys playing in the yard with her neighbour boys Scooby, Mismo and Scout, often racing around in circles interacting with all three at the same time.

You all win signed copies of both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod Race Guides plus a photo print portrait of your dogs, along with a few other kennel goodies. We hope you enjoy your packets.

We will do a final End of Season draw on March 31st. Everyone who has joined by the time of the draw and hasn't already won will be in to win!

Click the button below for more information about how to join:


Click this button to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Nome Council 200 Winners!

Congratulations to Bridgett, Chemo, Chena, Amber, Chipper, Lydia, Nomex, Driver, Iron, Willie, Outlaw and Clyde!

They crossed the finish line in Nome in first place. We're so proud of you all.



We will get more details to you as soon as we have some.

Nome - Council 200 Race Update 2

The Team left the Council Checkpoint after an 8 hour rest. They will now travel back the trail that they took to arrive. This is now the SAME direction that the Iditarod teams go - of course this is super training for all the future Iditarod racers on the team. The dogs (and mushers) get more excited the closer they get to the finish.

Of course we are keeping an eye on the Blowhole and wind conditions at Johnson's Camp. All morning the wind has been very calm. Keep your paws crossed.

Here is a video from 2013 Iditarod of Aliy and the Red Team mushing on the western coast, you will see and hear the wind.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nome - Council 200 Race Update

Bridgett and her Red & Black Team are currently resting in Council. There is a mandatory eight hour layover at the checkpoint.

The team left Nome this morning at 10am with Chemo and Chena in lead, followed by Amber and Chipper, Lydia and Nomex, Driver by himself, then Iron and Willie and Outlaw and Clyde in wheel. After climbing over Cape Nome and passing Safety Roadhouse, they stopped to camp at the Topkok Shelter cabin - around 47 miles in - for three hours. After that rest the team climbed up over the Topkok hills and along the Niukluk River before arriving in Council.



The start was a mass start of the three entered teams, therefore there is no time differential to see out. They can leave exactly eight hours after they arrived and will return to Nome on the same trail they went out on. Nome friends Curtis and Kami were on hand to video the Start this morning. Thanks guys!



We have been watching the weather at the infamous "blowhole" as it can change in an instant from calm 3mph winds, as it was this morning when the team went through, to ferocious ground storms that Aliy and Pete Kaiser experienced on their way to Nome just a couple of weeks ago. Check out the Alaska Snow, Water and Climate Services website here. I believe Johnson's Camp is in the blowhole area.

We'll be watching the tracker overnight to see what's going on as they head home to Nome. GO TEAM!!

Two Rivers Valley Funale

We had great fun putting together the teams for the Valley Funale today. Chris and Ruth stressed a little before the race start since Allen and Aliy were going to be their only race handlers. As you can imagine, Allen and Aliy needed to fill some pretty big 'handler shoes' after a season of Super Handlers at SPK. But, the kennel is lucky because Mark showed up half way through the event and lessened the pressure. Plus the Earle Family was there to pick up any slack.
Thanks Crew!

Ruth ran a team of entirely Olivia X Nacho puppies. In the 20 mile/10 dog class she took Junior, Spark, Tinder, Daisy, Hotshot, Creamer, Perky, Barista, Sanka and Bean. What a fantastically happy and somewhat caffeinated group of dogs. The leaders kept a swift pace and Tinder and Daisy were super excited to be in swing position. Hotshot was feeling all better after leaving Iditarod early at the Huslia Checkpoint. And the extra caffeine - provided by five of the Coffee Pups in the Team - allowed Ruth to edge out Chris by just a few seconds.
Olivia and Nacho puppies are the present and future of SP Kennel! Great race Ruth.


Ruth and the Olivia "caffeine team" come across the Finish line.

Chris raced a team of all Quito puppies: Woody, Mismo, Izzy, Wedgy, Felix, QT, Jefe, Dancer, Bruno and McCaw in the 20 mile/10 dog class. The big grins that Mismo and Woody had when crossing the finish line were priceless. Both boys did not cross the finish line in Iditarod, so they were tremendously happy to be 100% again and leading the charge. Izzy and Felix were a brother/sister 'one - two' punch and Wedgy was excited to be racing. Chris has spent a tremendous amount of time with the youngsters so racing the twins: Bruno and QT, little powerhouse Dancer, and the two Big Boys: McCaw and Jefe was a thrill to watch at the end of the season.


Chris and the Quito Pup Team come across the Finish line.

Moira ran a Potpourri dog team. A what?!?! That means there was no theme to her team but they are a marvelous mixed group of wonderful SP Kennel dogs.... just like a basket of Potpourri. Moira's team for the 10 mile/6 dog class was Quito, Olivia, Scruggs, Schmoe, Pepe and Rodney. Olivia and Quito ran in lead. (They said that they had to be on the race since many of their pups were out there on the course.) Schmoe has been so happy since Iditarod that he convinced Aliy to put him on the team by being the loudest howler Friday night ... pick me.... pick me... Pepe hadn't race yet this season so he got a chance today. Scruggs hasn't been in a race harness since the Copper Basin 300 and really wanted to spend some quality time with Moira before she returns to New Zealand. And Rodney wins the Most Enthusiasmtic Dog at SP for finishing both the YQ and ID and desperating wanting to do another race! Moira, as well as her six happy huskys, finished with smiles!




Moira and the Potpourri team come across the Finish line.

The junior races were such fun! Junior and Dutch raced in the two dog class with both Jacob and Timber and everyone had a blast. Jacob did well to recover after an excursion into the fence and Timber held on to finish with a clean run. Nice work boys!!


Jacob and Timber compete in the two dog class with Dutch and Junior

Chloe and Waylon teamed up for the one dog class and did GREAT! At one point Chloe lost her footing, ran behind the sled for a while then got right back on! They finished second in their class.


Chloe and Waylon; the kids races

Because we talk often about Rodney's appetite we decided to put our money where his mouth is and entered him in the "Hungry Dog" competition. He did well, but was clearly not the most "greedy" dog in the neighbourhood!



Thanks to the TRDMA and Pleasant Valley Store plus all the volunteers for once again putting on such a fun community event.

- Aliy

Thursday, March 23, 2017

'National Puppy Day' Dog Fan Club Draw

Happy National Puppy Day! To celebrate we did a random draw of everyone who is a fan of one of our three puppies. Congrats to Marilyn Cozzens who is a fan of GOLD.



Gold has endless confidence and energy and is just as stout as his dad, with a nice thick golden coat to match. In the next week or two he and his sisters Bronze and Prata will get their first taste of being real sled dogs as they get hooked up to a sled for the first time. We can't wait!

Marilyn wins an Iditarod car sticker and signed Race Guide plus a photo print portrait of Gold. We hope you enjoy your packet.

Keep an eye out for the next random draw. Everyone who has joined by the time of the draw and hasn't already won will be in to win!

Click the button below for more information about how to join:


Click this button to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nome - Council 200 Race

Just as you thought the racing season was over... Bridgett will be taking a team of SP Kennel athletes on the Nome Kennel Club's Nome - Council race!

The race starts in Nome this Friday night or Saturday morning (depending on the weather) and the trail takes the teams through Safety towards White Mountain before hanging a HAW to Council. They then return back to Nome the way they came. It provides an opportunity for the dogs "experience the Topkok Hills and the Bering Sea coast, to run a section of the historic All Alaska Sweepstakes Trail, and visit the historic community of Council."

Bridgett knows the area well having lived in Nome for several years.

11 Iditarod finishers (who were all chomping at the bit a day or two after finishing the race): Chemo, Chena, Outlaw, Clyde, Chipper, Amber, Iron, Driver, Lydia, Willie and Nomex are hanging out in Nome for an extra week with Bridgett and get to add this race to their resumes.

Follow along on the trackers at nomefix.com and we will try to keep you updated as we follow along from the kennel.

We're excited for this team to finish off their racing season with something a bit different. For more info about each athlete click here to take you to the race roster.

Monday, March 20, 2017

ID: Heading Home

Today the dogs flew on their first leg of their journey home - from Nome to Anchorage.

We fly the dogs back on a cargo plane and the crew at Everts are experienced at shipping dogs teams from Nome - we are confident they are in good hands from the time we drop them off till we pick them up. We load the team into kennels that we'd shipped out prior to their arrival then they are secured and packed onto pallets before being carefully and skilfully forklifted into the plane.


Dutch takes the wheel in Nome


Chemo and Chipper enjoy the scenery in Nome


Commando with Bridgett and kennel friend (and Spark sponsor) Deb prior to getting secured and packed into the cargo plane.


Scout and Spark arrive safe and sound; unloading the sled



We'll stay one more night in Anchorage until the entire human crew gets here and we drive home to the kennel, picking up our mates from Margie's on the way.

ID: Musher Banquet and Awards

Tonight in Nome a couple of thousand people packed in to the Community Centre for the Iditarod Finishers' Banquet and Prizegiving.



Race sponsor, the Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage, catered the event and there was something for everyone, from juicy steak to carrot cake.

As always, the best part of the evening was hearing from each musher as they came up to receive their Finisher's patch and trophy. We heard so many great stories of camaraderie and sportsmanship, of trail challenges and wildlife encounters, and, above all, the love of the mushers for their dogs.

Congratulations to all the mushers and the prize winners tonight. See the full list here.


Some of the awards ready to be presented; the evening's program

We are unashamedly proud of our team! Allen won the Sportsmanship Award for being "ever helpful". This award is voted on only by mushers at the Official Finishers Club meeting after the race. Mushers make nominations and a vote is taken for the winner. Part of the recognition read "even when things are going great he is good to have around". In one particular event during the race he stopped to help another team off the trail and stayed with them for several miles into a checkpoint. Several other younger mushers thanked him for being ever willing to answer their questions and offer advice.


Allen receives the Donlin Gold Sportsmanship Award; Aliy's 8th place trophy awaiting presentation

Aliy told the story about how they managed to get past Pete Kaiser in the last leg of the race. It was all thanks to an arctic fox! This feisty little fox ran alongside the team on a berm next to the trail for a couple of miles and the team took off after it; while the dogs ran around one side of Pete's team the fox ran around the other. At one stage it started hissing at the team and moving towards them! Aliy had though she was seeing things but she figured because the dogs reacted also it must have been actually happening. We're trying to figure out if we can train the fox to run alongside the team for 1000 miles!



RETURNED DOG UPDATE

Everyone is off the trail! Tinder arrived into Anchorage on Saturday night and is with Linda and Kodiak.