The Yearlings' First Race

Congrats to the yearlings on a successful first race!

Howdy, folks, Meghan here. As the excitement from the Copper Basin begins to settle, I thought I’d take a moment to recap what a fantastic job the yearlings did on their first race, the Solstice 50, last week. After training alongside the adult dogs all season, the seven yearlings - Clyde, Nelson, Felix, Pepe, Izzy, Outlaw and Mismo - had the opportunity to show off their hard work. The youngsters were led by a stellar quartet of adults - Scout, Kipper, Waylon and Spicy. One additional adult, Tug, ran in wheel to “keep the peace,” and round out the team. Tug ran alongside Mismo (who is, incidentally, approximately twice her size). Thanks, Tug!

Getting the team hooked up at the starting line was, as expected, a bit hectic. The yearlings were beside themselves with excitement. Other teams taking off, folks walking around taking photos... what’s a young sled dog to do?! In their enthusiasm, Nelson broke his harness (not chewed, but actually broke, from pulling), Clyde broke the metal snap holding him at the truck, and the five yearlings on the other side of the truck actually bent the metal bar that held their picket line! These guys were amped, to say the least. I love their energy, and I love it even more when their energies are all pointed in the same direction.

Once we took off from the starting line, we had a pretty smooth run. The team was presented with obstacles that the yearlings haven’t had much experience with yet - going through river overflow, passing snow machines, and passing lots of teams (as well as occasionally being passed). They all did outstandingly well. I was particularly impressed with Pepe and Nelson, who were so focused and kept a smooth lope the entire run. Izzy, who is traditionally one of the more playful yearlings, really stepped up as well. On training runs, she likes to pick up anything she can find on the trail - sticks, ice chunks, lost booties... But she was all business on race day. Way to go, Izzy!

Photo by Julien Schroder

We completed the race in 5 hours, 22 minutes. This included two snack/love breaks, and several “mini-stops” to sort out minor tangles, remove frozen booties, etc. Everyone finished the race happy and healthy. What an honor it was to accompany such a fine group of youngsters on their first race. Undoubtedly, they all have long, distinguished race careers ahead of them! Go pups!