Sunday, March 29, 2015

Valley FUNale

Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association held their annual Valley Funale sled dog races yesterday at Pleasant Valley Store. Aliy and Allen were there as race support crew and dog handlers. There were adult races, a junior race and a kids race. It was a gorgeous day with blue skies and warm Spring temperatures.

SP Kennel even brought home the GOLD! Jacob (Allen and Aliy's grandson), Lydia and Chemo ran the Kids Race with the fastest time. Congrats to all the racers who competed. A good time had by all!

Race intensity: Lydia, Chemo and Jacob get it done!; Awards Ceremony.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Scruggs and Violet Win Fan Club Draw #15

In our special end-of-season bonus Dog Fan Club draw two of our tri-colored, blue eyed dogs, Scruggs and Violet, are winners.

Congrats to Scruggs fans: the Layman Family from Wasilla, AK and Violet fan: Kathy from Texas. You win copies of both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod race guides signed by Aliy and Allen.

Scruggs and Violet

Scruggs has just completed his 5th Iditarod and is a champion lead and team dog. He ran many miles in lead for the Red Team in this year's race.

Violet is a young up-and-comer. She's part of the Fire litter and will start her first year as a "proper" racing dog next season. She ran in the Copper Basin 300 and Two Rivers 100 this season as a yearling.

Both dogs are looking forward to a few more spring runs before the trails disappear then they'll enjoy free-walking and running the trails in the summertime. It's a great life!

Thanks to all our Dog Fan Club members! The fan club closes March 31st and we will have the final dog fan club draw this Friday, April 3rd. Everyone who hasn't already won and all new members will be in the draw to win. Note: those of you who have already won but are fan club members of multiple dogs are still in the draw for the dogs you have not won with.

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Matters Most

At the end of the day, what matters most is the dogs.

Aliy and Moira took a couple teams out for a stretch-out today on the local trails. As you see there's still plenty of snow and it was simply gorgeous!

Aliy's team was: Scout and Nacho, Schmoe and Scooter, Mac and Junior, Outlaw and Boondocks, Nelson and Willie, Felix and Sissy.

Moira's team was: Waylon and Lydia, Izzy and Mismo, Pepe, Biscuit and Wedgy

Monday, March 23, 2015

ID: The Dogs Head Home

This morning Aliy and Moira, with the help from long-time kennel friends (and dog lot volunteers) Deb and Hunter Davis, packed the dogs up and sent them on their way to Anchorage where Allen and Spencer were there waiting for them.

The old-hands (paws?) were very relaxed about the whole process whereas the yahoos were very excited and interested in what was going on.

The crew at Everts Cargo (right) are very experienced and attentive and we can be sure they are in safe hands. They wrap the kennels securely, weight their cargo then carefully load them into the airplane for the short flight to Anchorage.

Our dog truck is in Anchorage waiting for us and tomorrow we'll head up the Parks Highway home to Fairbanks.

All aboard; waiting for the flight

How many faces can you recognise?; Thanks Deb and Hunter

Thanks also to Kamey and Curtis for the loan of their vehicles to get the dogs to the airport.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ID: Finisher's Banquet and Prizegiving

The lights are about to go out in Nome as the final two acts of the 2015 Iditarod played out this evening.

The lights on front street

At the Nome Convention Centre a packed house enjoyed a fantastic meal by the culinary team from the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage (those chocolate covered strawberries are divine!) and some excellent entertainment.

We got to hear from each of the special award winners and every finishing musher present. There were some great tales of extraordinary dogs as well as great sportsmanship, camaraderie and bravery. Congratulations to all the special award winners and to all the mushers that finished the 2015 Iditarod.

It was also another chance for mushers to catch up with each other, some of whom won't see each other for a whole year, until the 2016 Iditarod.

Soon after the banquet finished, Cindy Abbott and her team crossed under the burled arch on Front Street and received the Red Lantern award. Everyone is now safely home.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

ID: Visiting The Black Team

I visited the dog lot this afternoon with my camera and caught them all taking a nap. Except Biscuit who could run another 1000 miles. A few got up to say hi and others just acknowledged me from their beds. It was calm and sunny and they were all enjoying the warmth and peace.

They're all looking great. They're eating well and catching up on their rest with their buddies.

Beemer is quite contented; Biscuit gets a butt scratch from Allen (this preference for butt scratches seems to have passed down to his kids!)

Boondocks at rest; Chemo is just so handsome

Chipper: "Yes, as a matter of fact I am the bees knees"; Commando is pretty sure something big just happened but he's not quite sure what

Dutch is pretty pleased with himself; Felix is also - and so they should be

Junior: "Phew! Did you see what we just did?"; Kodiak: "Yeah, it wasn't a big deal"

Lester is always the gentleman and got up to greet me; Pepe asked me to remind everyone that HE JUST RAN 1000 MILES!!!!!

Sandy is comfortable in her straw bed; Viper squints into the sun to say Hi

During the heat of the day some of them kick their blankets off to enjoy the sun. Don't worry, they'll all get tucked up in their beds later on this evening as it starts to cool off.

ID: Nome "Meet The Mushers"

This afternoon in the "Mini" Convention Centre in Nome, hundreds of fans and supporters lined up to get signatures and photos of the favorite mushers. Mushers signed posters, race guides, race bibs, books, photos and all manner of other things, posed for pictures, shook many hands and gave away hugs.

Aliy chooses a cupcake that looks like Scruggs with brown and white markings and blue eyes; signing a poster for a young fan

One of the best parts for me was before the doors opened to the public and some of the mushers got to see each other for the first time since they were on the trail some days or even more than a week ago. It was clear that Allen not only taught SP's young dogs, he also passed a lot of wisdom on to some of the younger mushers that spent time with him along the race. One after the other they came up to him, thanked him, joked with him and shared stories of what happened after they parted ways. It was very cool.

ID: Black Team Crosses The Line (Video)

See Chipper and Viper, Biscuit and Felix, Beemer and Kodiak, Junior and Chemo, Lester and Commando, Pepe and Boondocks, Sandy and Dutch, and Allen cross under the burled arch in Nome after 11 days, 16 hours, 52 minutes and 43 seconds.

Between certain hours of the night the siren doesn't sound in consideration of local residents so someone imitated it on the microphone - he did a pretty good job!

ID: Black Team Is In Nome!

Chipper and Viper led the team over the line followed by Biscuit and Felix, Beemer and Kodiak, Junior and Chemo, Lester and Commando, Pepe and Boondocks with Sandy and Dutch in wheel.

We are so proud of them all!

Everyone has been fed, watered and tucked into bed, including Allen. More soon!

Crossing the line in Nome

Allen with his leaders Chipper and Viper; Chippie!!!

I'll work on some video later today.

ID: Black Team Through Safety!

Allen, Beemer, Biscuit, Boondocks, Chemo, Chipper, Commando, Dutch, Felix, Junior, Kodiak, Lester, Pepe, Sandy and Viper are through Safety and on their final 22 miles to Nome. They set a blistering time from White Mountain to Safety - just 6 hours, six minutes!

We are heading to the finish chute shortly to cheer them home! We'll see to the dogs and Allen first then update you with pictures and video as soon as we can.

Go Team! We are so proud of you all (including Olivia and Driver at home)!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Biscuit Wins Dog Fan Club Draw #13

Congratulations to Vania from South Dakota. Vania is a fan of Biscuit who is currently on the trail between White Mountain and Nome in his 8th Iditarod.

Biscuit is known as a superstar wheel dog but what most people don't know is he can also lead the team. Allen said to Ryne earlier today in White Mountain checkpoint that Biscuit led the Black Team for around 300 miles!

Vania wins the second of our Iditarod goodie packs including a fridge magnet, pencil, car decal sticker, bookmark signed by Aliy and Allen and a couple of patches, along with a winner's certificate.

Thanks to all our Dog Fan Club members! We have another double bonus draw next Friday, March 27th and everyone who hasn't already won and all new members will be in the draw to win. Note: those of you who have already won but are fan club members of multiple dogs are still in the draw for the dogs you have not won with.

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

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

ID: Black Team's Final Run

According to the GPS tracker, Allen and his team mates have left White Mountain on their final run towards Nome.

I've been waiting for the current standings to update to tell us his leaving time and whether he has all 14 team mates with him but I guess they're a little behind so we'll catch up with that information hopefully soon.

This last run is about 73 miles and the team will travel on the Fish River for a short time then go overland, crossing rolling tundra and several streams (some of which are reported to have overflow i.e. wet). They then climb a series of ridges to 400ft Topkok then drop to the coast. They will run along the beach for a time before reaching the Safety checkpoint and then follow the Safety-Nome council road to town. They have one last climb up Cape Nome then they run home.

We can't tell you how excited we are to see them. It's unlikely we'll sleep much tonight as we watch the little green flag on the tracker progress towards us. We'll be up early to ready their straw filled kennels at the dog lot, get their finishers' steaks and kibble/meat meal ready and make some food for Allen.

Earlier today Ryne caught up with Allen for a short while in the checkpoint and asked him how it's all going. Check out the video below. Before you watch it, take a guess at who his current two lead dogs are…

ID: Visiting the Dog Lot

The Nome Dog Lot is a wonderful place to be. There are many dog teams resting peacefully and mushers and handlers wander through feeding, massaging and tending to the teams. The fantastic volunteers there keep an eye on everyone, replacing blankets that might have come askew and giving ear scratches when required.

Quito gets flowers

Yellow roses for Scout

Izzy hams it up; Mismo just wants his butt scratched please

Nacho enjoys a mid-afternoon nap; Scruggs keeping an eye on what's happening next door

Chica-choos!, Silly Willie is so handsome

Clyde believes he is THE man; Mac disagrees with Clyde

Waylon's head is heavy; Schmoe is a bit bashful today

Scooter still takes her cheerleading role seriously; Queen Quito