Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Letters from Students

When we get back from Nome one of our favourite things to do is check the post box to find the letters from students. The students put in so much effort making cards, letters and posters.

What we found heartening this year was that teachers used the events on the river as a teaching opportunity about perseverance and persistence. Students were able to write their own feelings about what happened and show their concern for Aliy and Clyde. One class made fleece blankets for Clyde while others made cards for Aliy. They were touching and much appreciated.

What was also exciting was there were a few letters about the Yukon Quest showing us that some teachers are using that as a teaching aide also.

Thanks to all the students who wrote us this season - your reply is in the post! And thanks to all the teachers for continuing to use the Iditarod (and now the Quest) as the wonderful teaching tool it is.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Coffee Puppies First Run

One of the best things about spring is getting the puppies into harness for the first time.

Aliy and Chris took the Coffees out yesterday with Lester and Olivia, Biscuit and Boonie. Chica went along for the first run.

First up was Perky, Barista and Bean then Sanka, Decaf and Creamer had a turn. They were AMAZING! Check it out!

The two worst? Biscuit and Boonie! Every time they stopped they would get so tangled and caught up it slowed everyone else down!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Two Rivers Valley Funale

Today was the annual Two Rivers Valley Funale and we took a bunch of dogs down to compete in the kids one and two-dog races. After the Easter Egg hunt we experienced a short but heavy snow shower that was enough to get everyone wet and put a layer of white on the ground for a while but not much else. The community catered a delicious pot luck luncheon then the kids races kicked off.

All the kids displayed great skill, particularly round the corners, and some had no fear going super fast with enthusiastic dogs.

Timber (below left) was first up in the one-dog class with Scruggs and he did super well to come in third. He didn't stop smiling the whole way through. Good job buddy!

Jacob (below right) had Kodiak and Junior and they went FAST FAST FAST. Jacob did well to recover from a couple of tumbles and finished with a smile on his face which is most important. Well done Jacob!

Sammy (below left) was next with Spark and Junior. He hung on even when he lost his footing and dragged himself back up onto the sled to finish right way up. Nice work Sam!

Woody and Kodiak took Noah (below right), Sammy's neighbour, around the course and she showed us her excellent sled riding skills around the bends!

The prize giving was good fun with Aliy and Allen on deck to give out prizes. Everyone was awarded something, from the red lantern to the place-getters. Aliy even performed special medal ceremony songs for medal winners.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered their time to help. It looked like much fun as had by all.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Quadruple Fan Club Draws!

We got a bit out of synch during the race so to catch up we have done four fan club draws! We split everyone into fans of the Red Team dogs, Black Team dogs, puppies and the just-as-important dogs at home and did a random draw for each group.

Congratulations to all our winners: Archie Budzak who is a fan of Izzy, Judy Gutterman who is a fan of Tinder, Ruth Robertson who is a fan of Dancer and Midnight Steiner who is a fan of Ginger.

My random number formula seems to favour Izzy this year as this is the third time she has won a Dog Fan Club draw! Izzy completed both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in third place this season. She is the perfect combination of her mother Quito and father Biscuit. She is tough and smart and "really really ridiculously good looking"!

Tinder is filling out like his proud Papa. He certainly has the confidence and the swagger as well. Tinder is also a sweetheart. He is strong, solid and steady. We expected a lot from him this season and he delivered!

Dancer has been the first to do everything and will tackle her siblings to get ahead. She is downright sassy. Dancer squirmed a lot when she was young, always nudging and ‘dancing’ her way to the best nursing spot.

Ginger has fallen into the ‘sled dog routine’ with vigor. She LOVES to run and LOVES to eat. We enjoyed training Ginger with her siblings and got to see what the FIVE Youngsters could do this season! A bright future awaits her.

Everybody wins a black SP Kennel fleece beanie along with some other kennel goodies.

The Dog Fan Club closes on 31st March and we will do a final draw on April 1.

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No Place Like Home

Everyone is home and sleeping in their own beds tonight! Here's a pictorial of our journey.

Lee from Matson helping transport youngsters from the dog lot to the Nome airport; preparing individual crates for the dogs

Iron modeling the secureness of the crates (note plenty of airflow); Expert forklift drivers take great care loading precious cargo

Deb and Hunter Davis, long time dog lot volunteers and dog sponsors with their sponsoree Spark (photobomb Tinder); We flew over the trail - this is over Aliy's pack-ice campspot before Koyuk

Allen and Chris flew ahead to be there to pick everyone up; safely landed in Anchorage

Stretching their legs after their short flight; Hanging out at Barbara's townhouse in Anchorage

Parks Highway view

Sunday, March 20, 2016

ID: Prizegiving and Musher Banquet

What a night! Congratulations to all the award winners and finishers in the 2016 Iditarod!

Once again the culinary team from the Lakeside Hotel in Anchorage put on a delicious and plentiful meal - their white and milk chocolate dipped strawberries are legendary.

At the start of the Award Ceremony, Race Judge Karen Ramstead, who was the judge in Nulato, asked Aliy and Jeff to the stage as the wonderful people of Nulato wanted to present beautiful pair of beaver mitts made by Cesa Sam of Huslia, and an apology. Aliy said there was absolutely no apology necessary - she has mushed those trails for over 20 years and will continue to do so.

I think Aliy was the only one in the room surprised when she was awarded the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for exemplary care of her dog team during the race. Aliy said that she couldn't have good dogs on this race unless she got the dogs from Allen (from the Quest) in great condition, so she shared the award with him. It was really so moving and thrilling to hear her name read out as the winner.

After the other special awards we got to hear from every finishing musher. That's my favourite part of the evening as we hear stories from the trail: of camaraderie and friendship, of competition and challenges. A number of mushers acknowledged Allen's sportsmanship firstly helping get their dogs teams across the open water then lending a sled to a Ed Steilstra who broke his in Unalakleet. Allen talked about Quito and how well she led the youngsters over the trail.

Aliy congratulated Dallas on his win, acknowledging that although he makes it look easy, she knows it is not and that she appreciates his work ethic, competitive spirit and how he strives to improve, even though he is the best. She joked how after the events on the river she decided to be "un-Aliy-like" and hide from people so tried to choose inaccessible camping spots - she really thought the camp on the pack ice would do it. She also thanked Karen Ramstead and Mark Nordman as well as all her family and friends.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

ID: Scenes From Nome

Meet the Mushers in the Nome Convention Centre on Saturday afternoon

The Little Girls Chipper and Sandy enjoy the sunshine

Finish line scenes; Moira posts the Dog Fan Club and sponsor postcards from Nome

Chris takes a team out on the sea ice

The Nome "State Forest"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Clyde Update: "Put Me In Coach, I'm Ready To Play Today!"


He caught a flight from Unalakleet and arrived into Nome last night. He had been well looked after in Unk, in fact maybe TOO well looked after as he had put a little weight on! We heard reports that he was a real favourite with the team there as he was so friendly and sweet, and he ate everything he was offered.

Today Aliy, Chris and Bridgett took small teams of the most energetic dogs for a run today back up the coast and Clyde wanted to go!! Aliy's verdict when they got back: "There are some attitudes on those dogs right now!"