The inaugural SP Kennel In-house Invitational Race has been run. After all the strategising, team selection bombshells, "smack talking", time penalties and ten miles of hard and fast trail we had a very close run race.
Because the time elapsed included hooking up, running ten miles then snacking and un-harnessing it was figured early on that dogs that were housed closer to the hooking up area, dogs that know their way to their homes, dogs that didn't need to race with a jacket or dogs that are easier to harness would be an advantage. Unfortunately everyone had the same idea so there were some team selection surprises! Dogs that are excellent sled dogs but live far away were not at the top of the list.
Two teams were a "double" with a driver and rider so had eight dogs, everyone else had a team of six with a pack of Eagle Pack dog food as their passenger. Teams were made up of one mature dog, four (or six) mid-age and one yearling.
The teams were as follows:
Hooking up was an exercise in efficiency with all teams getting out well before the next team needed to start. Some got one dog at a time, others collected two dogs at once, some harnessed at their houses, others at the line...
The anticipation of those of us back at the yard was palpable. Who was going to round the corner first? Then with time differences and penalties what would the final standings be?
Coming in first, just barely, was the Black Team! Meghan and Wendy displayed excellent and well organised team work and took second place with Bridgett in a well deserved third. Ryne and Chrissy took a close fourth position and, after choosing more long distance dogs rather than "sprint specialists", Aliy finished in fifth position. Bob rounded out the placings in a respectable sixth.
Just over 12 minutes separated first and sixth places so every second really did count!
There will be weeks (well, maybe hours... or let's be honest: a few minutes) of post race analysis but one thing's for sure: what happens on the trail stays on the trail!
We'll put together a video soon!