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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Last Race of the Season

Allen and Aliy just came home from the last race of the season: The 34th Annual Koyukuk River Championship.

The race was a two day sprint race held during Spring Carnival in a village just north of the Arctic Circle. Two villages hosted the event. Allakaket, which is an Athabascan Indian village on the Koyukuk River (population 100) and Alatna, a smaller Eskimo village, on the other side of the river (population 35.)

Aliy spent many of her formative years of dog mushing in and around this area nearly 20 years ago. In fact, her first dog race ever was an Allakaket Christmas Race. Many of the dogs in the kennel today are related to a dog named "Fats" who originally came from Steven Bergman of Allakaket.

The Koyukuk River Championship or KRC is held annually in different villages along the Koyukuk River. The dog teams, race marshall, time keepers and handlers come from villages as far as 300 miles away for the event. Transportation is all by snow machine or airplane and accommodations are the cozy, friendly cabins of the locals. Hot coffee, caribou stew and beaver meat were on the stove in every home for visitors.

The KRC was in memory of three great men who passed recently. One of those men was a dear friend to Aliy and Allen. Harvey Williams. He will be missed. Aliy raced the KRC in his honor.

The KRC is a sprint race. SP Kennel has DISTANCE dogs. The two do not usually go hand in hand! The race was a two day event running an 18 mile course each day. The course was hard packed except for several miles of wind blown river trail. Aliy borrowed a sprint sled and hooked up a 14 dog team: Olivia, Quito, Nacho, Beemer, Scout, Scruggs, Chica, Mac, IV, Ranger, Willie, Sissy, Fang and Biscuit and averaged over 15 mph. Aliy and Allen were shocked at how fast they raced. The team came in 5th place out of 9 teams.

Race Times

Aliy and her "Indian Mama" 84 year old Lydia Bergman

All the race sleds were waxed!

Wall Tents set up to warm race spectators.

Steven Bergman waters his dogs before the race start.

Pollack Simon Sr has had a dog team for 61 years in this spot.


Marla BB said...

Now that's what it's really all about.
Made me cry...
15moh, I'm not surprised!

Lourdes, VT said...

Wow!!! What a neat experience! Those pups of yours are so great!!!
Congratulations Aliy and pups!

Andi S - NH said...

This is what it is all about - how awesome - had tears in my eyes also ' thanks for shating!

Holly Freeman said...

So interesting the difference between the distance races and sprinters. Love the pic of Aliy with her Indian mama. Beautiful.
Your distance dogs got some grease on their paws!

Margaret said...

Exposing the team to the different kinds of mushing is really so nice - and I'll bet the dogs enjoyed themselves!!! Especially the Car Guys (Ranger and Beemer) who ran that break-neck pace the last leg of the Sheep Mountain 300!!!

Once again, thanks for "going the extra mile" (no pun intended)to honor your sport and sharing.

Anonymous said...

Aliy, what great history here... look at you all, great job!! so much fun to see this! fantastic dogs! Hats off to Fats, too!!

Julie V.

Anonymous said...

Lauri from California-

What a special race. I agree with the other comments, that's what it is all about. What a great finish for a non-sprint team. I loved all pix, especially the one with your Alaskan Mama. What did the dogs think of being sprint dogs for the weekend?

Nessmuk said...

Very cool indeed! Sounds like a perfect way to end the season....it certainly is part of the life fabric up there! Thanks for sharing!

Dawn E said...

What great fun! I learn more and more about these dogs and mushing with every post I read. Seriously...thank you for all you have shared with us. It means a lot!