Friday, December 4, 2009
It is already December 4th and really no snow to speak of, just a few inches. It seems like maybe last year it was late coming as well, but once it started we were hammered with more snow than we'd seen in years. Hopefully, it dumps soon as the races are all fast approaching. West Yellowstone is just a week away. Although, we won't be heading up there this year, our thoughts, sympathies, and prayers go out to all friends and family of Rodeo. His sudden passing was very sad news and we will alway remember him. May Rodeo's race be a HUGE success and serve as a celebration of his passion and life!
Our race, the Green River Classic, in Pinedale, WY is just around the corner--January 2nd and 3rd. Entries are rolling in. We may not have all the extras (like the tent) this year, but we were extremely happy to have BP at the top of our sponsor list providing the $8,600 purse. I've always liked the GRC because there is always such a variety of entries from all levels of compititon and it somehow still seems so FUN!
On other kennel news, we are happy to announce the arrival of 4 healthy girls and 1 boy from Seppaltas Griffen of Windyridge x Hope of Seppalta. I have been thinking about this breeding since I began in Seppalas, but the reality of it set in just over 2 years ago (since Hope came to live here). And now they are actually here :-) They are just over a week old and seem to really be thriving. Hopefully, they will prove to be as well rounded sleddogs as their parents! If you have any name ideas, please feel free to comment. I haven't had much time to put a lot of thought into it yet, but whatever we come up with, it'll be special!
Jena's puppies are just over 3 weeks and they are growing fast. They have exceptionally outgoing personalities and are very beautiful. We are quite happy with their progress. They are getting to that age that their personalities are forming and they just want to PLAY!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
People often ask us, 'who are your best dogs?' It is never as black and white as one posing the question seems to think. There are so many factors that make up the best dog. Just like people they each have qualities that make them stand-out. Generally speaking, our best dogs are the ones that have a consistant run most every time, the ones that are well built and angulated, the ones that don't have disruptive habits, the ones who get minimal injuries, the ones that drink and eat when put in front of them, the ones that have an easy nature and super tempermant, the ones that are team players, and the ones who consistantly make the team year after year. I think I could go on and one with more qualities that make the "best".
It is often said by racing naysayers that race dogs are only crazy machines and all that matters is speed, speed, speed. The implication that all other factors like health, temperment, and husbandry are secondary is utterly ridiculous and an extremely naive theory. I think most kennels that are successful in the long-term know that more goes into "the best" than MPH. I often like to say "Performance First". While some take the phrase quite literally, in the context that I use it, the phrase is meant encompass all those *secondary* factors--when well balanced in these areas, performance will follow more often than not!
So back to the question on who is the best?
I suppose the answer is the retiring and aging dogs, atleast in this kennel.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We've had an exceptionally busy weekend! Wednesday brought a very beautiful, healthy Seppala litter (Corcoran's Junior x Deer Creek's Jena) including 4 males and 2 females. We managed to get their due claws done and mother settled in the living room with them so we can keep an eye on them and handle them regularly. They will probably stay inside the first two weeks, then we will gradually acclimate them to the whelping pen just behind the house. I can't wait until they are 3-4 weeks old!
We were finally blessed with cooler weather late this week and during the weekend (but, only a very thin sheet of snow Friday morning). I managed to harness break all the March puppies that had yet to be put in harness. This is one of my favorite parts of mushing. The Seppala is so natural in harness that harness breaking puppies is not much different than taking out my older experienced team. The first mile is usually a little bouncy and I try to maintain a very slow, steady speed while they think about what is happening to them. By the end of the first mile they usually have figured out I simply want what they want...to run! The majority of them find pulling as natural as running. By mile two, everyone was properly lined out loping a slow steady pace. The picture is hard to tell but I mixed 7 older dogs in with the yearlings. 16-Dog team front to back: Griffen and Eden, Brody (yearling) and Java, Rustov and Oquirrh (both March pups), Leticia (yearling) and Gambit (March pup), Ismene (March pup) and Bristall, Rhea (March pup) and Junior, Hoodoo and Russia (March pup), Leroy (Yearling) and Hank. Rock Stars!
On Thursday, we finally had the opportunity to meet our new friend Heinz Bieber. He flew over from Germany to pick up his new Seppala, Kaya. Having only phone and email contact with Heinz over the past several months, we really didn't know what to expect from our visitor, but it was quickly evident we had a new life-long friend. Heinz was able to spend quite a bit of time with our family and Kaya. We even found time to take the team for a couple runs with Kaya to see what she was made. And of course, being a suberb Seppala, she was SO GREAT! We were so happy to have Heinz spend his time here with us and we are looking forward to his next visit with his wife Antje. We also intend on taking him up on his offer to visit his second home in Sweden!
Finally our good friends, Danny and his daughter Kayla, showed up on Saturday to spend the weekend running our trails and to socialize. Kayla and Taylor are both intend on running the Junior Race to the Sky this year, so they have both been working very hard to get the kind of conditioning on their dogs they need to be successfull. We LOVE it when the Corcoran's visit! The first pic is Taylor with her Seppala team. 2nd picture is Kayla and her Alaskan husky team. And the 3rd picture is Danny Corcoran with his Seppala team.
You can click on pictures to view bigger.
Taylor's Team front to back: Ophir and Aargon; Marshall and Google; Alanta and Trixie; Iris and Queche; Gaia and Heph
Kayla's team front to back: ? and Echo; ? and Rookie; ? and Otis; Opal and ?; Stoner and ?
Danny's Team front to back: ? and Oreo; Uther and Unik; Timber and Yeti; ? and Layla; Rodeo and Waldo
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday was Hope and Hoodoo's 10th birthday! They are so loved here and they are still such GREAT sleddogs! I wanted to post this on Thursday, but I just ran out of time. This picture was taken just this last spring. Always loyal, reliable, and adored.
Friday, October 16, 2009
It has been a busy summer and fall with Seppalas moving about the country! Balancing the number of dogs and pedigrees in our kennel is always a tedious uncertainity. But every year it seems that our small network of mushers are able to spread a few dogs around. Everyone seems to have slightly different goals in mind, so finding teams that better fit a dogs style, wether it be to bring one in or send one away, is always interesting and fun.
Earlier ths summer, we sent Angel up to Doug Willett who in turn bred her to Rambo as she awaited her new owner, Elsie Bobby, to come get her and take her back to Alaska. We are also very excited for Elsie to be able to start her new Seppala Kennel with such and exceptional breeding. We have a BIG soft spot in our hearts for Rambo! Congrats Elsie!
TJ Shrader took a Marshall x Madonna female, QT, who I know is going to be such a wonderful girl and likely a leader--she is very driven. I love sending dogs to TJ because I know I get the see them often :) Matt Maurer took a Marshall x Madonna male who I am sure will be one of his next great leaders. Quaker is the spittin' image of Marshall. Marshall being one of my all time favorites, I know I will regret it in the near future :-) But on the positive side, Matt absolutely adores Quaker (inspite of Quaker's strong desire to constantly reproduce...hahaha):-)
And the lastest to leave was Oakie and Quizno. Peter Duncan was kind enough to add a leg to his long journey across the US and back to Alaska in order to pick up them up. I hope that as they get to know each other, he sees the exceptional qualities in them that I see.
Monday, September 21, 2009
This weekend Dee Dee Jonrow came to Casper to speak about her self, her team, and the Iditarod. Her original itinerary was to speak to one of the Casper schools on Friday, but through some connections, Pam Dunn (Grandma Pam at our house) of Timbermist Tracks and head of the Canines for Charity Sleddog Race was able to organize an event on Casper Mountain slated for Saturday afternoon.
The turn-out was great. One of our local racing clubs, CMM, decided to coordinate their annual camp out with the event as well and contributing to the event. The ISSSC, another club we belong to, also decided to hold their annual meeting in coordination with the Dee Dee Jonrow event. So needless to say we had a lot of other mushers was more fun than I anticipated. It is always a lot of work to go anywhere with the dogs, but camping with them was not quite the same. I think it is something we'll do more often in the future.
The weekend started on Friday when we arrived mid-morning. We opted for a spot a few miles away so we could run a little easier from our camp site on longer trails. After setting up, Allan and I had to make a couple trips back down the mountain to get our kids all coordinated and tie a few loose ends, but we were finally all settled in before sundown. Some people ran the 7 and 10 mile trails and other decided to take the shorter 3 mile trail twice a day. We got see see how the other teams are looking and developing.
Barrie Raper brought her rockin' team that are unbelievably strong. She also brought part of the best entertainment, Casey...she has quite an arm for 2! Emily Wade came to run Bud Light back and forth to Allan. Lanette Kimball with Sepp-Lok also made it out to share all her insight with us over the campfire. Danny, Jocie and Kayla Corcoran (aka "the griswolds") were most of our entertainment. Next time you see Danny ask him how you hook a snow hook to your sled. TJ Schrader and Lindsey Owen brought those wonderful little Boogie pups...and yes, Grux is the best! Matt Mauer and Sue Crawford brought the best cook ever, Isabella, and it was her birthday...Happy Birthday Isabella! Matt's little Angela also came along for the trip and she was an absolute doll, what a trooper!
Dee Dee discussion was very open and candid. She was an amazing speaker and very "real". We very much enjoyed her and her views on mushing, dog care, determination, and obvious love of her dogs. The day was in the high 80s and the sun was bright. The food was plentiful and everyone was so nice.
We arrived home mid-afternoon on Sunday and TJ and Linsey had decided to stay another night. We got unloaded, the chores done, and ate dinner when we decided to take a team out for a run just before dark. TJ and I decided to run my main Seppala team since it was only the yearlings and older dogs I took camping. And as luck would have in that short 3 miles, we ending up getting caught in an unannounced *monsoon* rain storm. The rain drops stung as they pelted us. We didn't know what to do, but keep forging ahead and laughing at our bad luck. Thank goodness my team felt the same way and they forged ahead like it was another day in the park. When we arrived back to our shop at what felt like an eternity later, the dogs (and us) were drenched to the bone. I must had been holding my breath the whole way back, because I suddenly had a huge headache. But the dogs, in all their drowned-rat appearance, were very upbeat and happy despite an incredibly fast run home.
Thanks all of you that made this a great weekend, we had a blast!
Friday, August 21, 2009
I think this weekend, I will give the Seppalas a run on the three mile and see how it goes. If I go after dark, with a breeze, we should be OK with several breaks and lots of water. I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised as Allan was by how his dogs took off in the warmer temps (60 degrees F) with no issues. Of course, my dogs have are much heavier coated than his. I can't really think of one of his that has a heavy coat right now. The Sepps have had an odd summer in terms of shedding, by now we are usually on our second round of brushing coats out. I think the cooler summer and a TON of rain, made it hard for them to really shed. I still have 4 that are almost done and 1 that is really just getting started. But it seems to be working itself out.
I am excited to get started though. I had some really promising yearlings last year that I can't wait to see what they will do this year. The attitude of the entire kennel is good and it is obvious the dogs are *feeling* the imminent season looming over them. In the early cool mornings the kennel has become a consistant alarm clock even before the sun rises. I love their morning welcome!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This is the GREATEST Man I have ever had the privilege of knowing and dearly loving.
Allan T. Berge, Sr.
Still remembering 8-21-09
Allan Sr. is still very much missed in our home. Looking out the window of our home, across the hay fields just a short distance from the house is a constant reminder of what we miss. I am very greatful to have had him as my father-in-law as well as the rest of his family. I miss hearing him talk about his Norweign ways, and I will miss seeing the big smile on his face when lufsa was served at a family meal. Although, I will always be greatful he never made me eat lutifisk, even though he talked alot about it.
I am happy to have certain memories of him that I will always carry with me...like the time he came to run his own team of sleddogs in his cowboy boots with the rubber covers on them dressed in his bright green and yellow John Deer snow suit; how he always liked it be 90 degrees all the time (I am sure an indulgence after growing up in North Dakota); the pure joy he got from giving me the ride of my life at 90 mph on the snow machine to catch my sleddog team as I whipped like a flag in the wind, hanging on to him with every bit of fear I possessed (it didn't matter to him that the dogs were probably only running about 14 mph); how consistant he was about showing up the day elk tags were due to make sure Allan Jr. mailed his in; and most importantly seeing him be the best role model my son could ever hope for.
Allan was 100% Norweign and his strong work ethic and love of family proved it. No matter how he felt, I never heard this man speak ill of a single person. To me those three traits is what defined him as a man and made him of one of the few great ones left. I will always miss you.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Spring is my absolute favorite time of year. We finally get to go outside without an extra 15lbs of clothing, the dog yard always seems to get a facelift, the evenings are SO much longer, and new puppies seem to be everywhere!
While it is all work, it is also quality time spent in the kennel. Grooming is my favorite. All that under-coat is exahuasting, but I love doing it...especially on a cool, breezy, evening. There always seems to be a handful of houses to replace or repair (and this year I think I may actually get to paint all the houses). We also use the spring to evaluate the tie-outs, collars, snaps, and anything else that wears over time and breaks when you least expect it...
My MOST fav is the puppies. Although we take great care in maintaining the kennel in such away to avoid accidental breedings, they do *occasionally* happen but the culprit is always caught in the act! We had one due to training-run-love and another where a determined Romeo broke a snap AND scaled 2 6ft fences! Ok so it looked like he dug under, but idea of such determination is romantic, right? Of course, he was not motivated enough get himself back out before we came out to see what the other dogs were tattling about. Even though the potential father was caught in the female yard, it is always a long, drawn-out wait to see who the lucky mom is!
In anycase, I thought I'd share this year's puppy photos! We have had so much fun with all of them!
Monday, April 6, 2009
That being said, we thought we better get the young dogs in harness to see if they remembered the lessons of the previous weeks. I gotta say they are an impressive bunch. They all inherited the wonderful personalities and work ethic of both Madonna and Marshall. Marshall is the easy going guy who gets his job done. He doesn't bother anyone and no one bothers him. He also possess a muscular build and very nice front shoulder angulation which gives way to his flowing movement and beautiful reach.
Madonna has a daintiness about her that just makes you love her. She is very affectionate and has passed this temperament to her puppies. But when you put Madonna in harness, she gets the *crazy* eye--I love it! Both Madonna and Marshall are incredible, smart leaders. You can actually see them *think* about their decisions...I hope the puppies show this intelligent trait as the build their racing careers.
Sunday's hook-up went very well and the pups all ran and pulled as if they were season veterans. All of them are so easy and natural. I spent lots of time this year just free running them either behind the 4 wheeler or letting them chase the border collies across the endless, rolling fields that make up our landscape. Usually, it is more fun to use my kids to run the puppies, er, maybe it is the puppies running the kids.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Lack of time and the cumbersomeness of updating my site has kept me from posting our rescues or others looking for homes. However, now that I have this blog, I will try to be much better about it!
In any case, I found this sweet looking rescue named Jazz in a shelter in Fort Collins. The description says she is from Seppala racing lines. I have no idea what this girl's pedigree background is, but she certainly looks like she could be part Seppala--possibly Howling Spirit lines. I'd imagine there is a good chance that she'd make a great recreational dog for someone even though she has been raised as a pet. So if you considering a pet to get in the snow with, give her a second look before you "buy".
Spring is just around the corner and I can't wait! I especially love it because I work for an accounting firm as a tax accountant and the busy season ends just as the weather turns sunny. Spring and Fall are my favorite--especially Spring because the new babies start showing up from puppies, to calves, right down to the baby antelope. The daylight lasts longer and the temps set just right allowing conditions to take a team out. We all especially enjoy spring runs as they are shorter without the bitter cold. The *green* doesn't last long around here. The bottom picture was taken over Memorial weekend a couple years ago, the top picture was taken just a few weeks later.
Each spring we come up with a few major projects to get done before the heat of the summer hits. Last year we did a major expansion to the dog yard. We increased capacity of the kennel; replaced all fencing that was less than 6 feet tall, replaced any depleted gates with brand new 6 foot walk through gates (with latches that can not be lift with a nose--sorry J. Lo). The biggest part of the project was putting in 100' of a solid, 6ft wooden fence. It sure has cut down on they way the wind and drifting goes through the back side.
So this year we'd like get in a second exercise pen, the original yard has turned into the puppy area. The hard part is going to be deciding how to set it up...I have an idea, but I think it will take a little arm twisting to convince Allan :-) There is also still about 60' of chain link on one side of kennel we'd like to swap out for the solid wood fence. I suppose the majority of the work will come through general maintenance--painting and replacing.
Just for fun, here is our first kennel (and my first Seppala, Bristall). Yes, just three pens! I'll never forget Allan's declaration as he finished the third pen, "...now this is it, no more kennels or dogs!"
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Say again?
Even though he started his racing career with Alaskans, it was really Bristall that won his heart :-D
Friday, March 13, 2009
I have yet to meet a "Railroad" Frankie prodgeny that I haven't fallen in love with. They have the sweetest personalites, they eat like there is no tomorrow, and they love to run! Something about her really adds a certain quality to the Seppala line. Maybe the quality is a kind of quality we need in our dogs to counter the legenday *aloofness* of the Siberian Husky in general.
Even the cross-breed Piranah litter shows an uncanny ability to be lovable, yet work hard. Frankie babies take the old adage, "work hard, play harder" very seriously. I am always surprised at how many pedigrees show Frankie in them, yet she was no super sleddog herself. What she produces are definitely something to admire.
Frankie was definitely meant to make a difference. She survived as nursing puppy who prematurely lost her mother which is seen in her undying loyalty. She survived being hit by a train which seen in the odd scar across her back. And she survived a terrible dog fight that nearly tore her throat out as heard in her whispery bark. Frankie is now living the life in a wonderful retirement home, enjoying the laid back life of family, hikes and just being a dog. However, her progeny lives on in so many pedigrees today. We are happy to have had the chance to love Railroad Frankie!
This is my tribute to Frankie prodgeny!
Xaire of Seppalta--Owned by Doug Willett
Deer Creek's Leno
Deer Creek's Katie
Seppaltas Monkey Owned by Doug Willett
Seppaltas Xafod Owned by TJ Schrader
Wakita - Owned by TJ Schrader
Articsepps Wing-Owned by Tabetha Berge
These are just a few of the Frankie progeny out there running down the trails. I will post more pictures as the become available.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Oh my goodness, is that Allan running...naw, must be photoshop!
A friendly, Hello!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Deer Creek Sleddogs finished the racing season with Allan heading off to Ashton, ID to run in the 100 mile class (two 50 mile heats). The cool thing about the Ashton race is that the entire town shows up to support the race. If you want to know how early Iditarod finishers feel as they come into the finish line--with their thoughts drowned by the roaring cheers of the crowd who line the streets--then Ashton is the place for you.
From the onset, Allan was determined to go into the race treating it like a training run with no expectations to place. For quite sometime now, the team has regularly finished 35+ mile runs happy and with lots of enthusiam. He entered the race with his only expectation being to finish the race and show his team a longer run. He was pleasantly surprised to see how well they ran the entire run the first day even though he spent a lot of time on the drag fearing he would burn them out for the last 10 miles. To his surprise the dogs ran the 50 miles like they have done it a thousand times. Day two was no different. He was quite pleased and very proud of his team as they finished the second day in 2nd place!
We want to wish Jerry Bath a BIG congratulations on 1st place. It was a well deserved win!! We also wanted to congratulate him on 5th place in the Wyoming Stage Stop race...being Wyoming natives, we know how difficult that race can be!
Photo Courtesy of Kirk Geisler
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The event in general is so much fun! The unusually warm weather was nearly t-shirt weather...not ideal for the dogs, but exceptionally pleasant to enjoy they day--with NO WIND. Days like that in Wyoming are so rare, we were very grateful the chance to enjoy it. TJ and Lindsey of Cold Canyon Sleddogs, bunked at our house and Lindsey had her first race with her most beautiful dog, Marki! She ended up getting second place...way to go Lindsey! We also got to spend time with some of our other very good friends and family. Even my Uncle Gary and his wife, Marcie, came out to cheer on Taylor. We even took a little break to go see his cabin he built himself...quite impressive!
The race itself was full of excitement but nothing disastrous (remember Steve Riggs and the pack of attack Mules on the trail last year...). Allan was the only one in his class, but his times were what he expected so he felt good about his run. Taylor had a wreck the first day due to the icy conditions of the trail. She decided to drop a dog the second day to reduce the power going down the ice trail. Her times certainly showed it, but it wasn't too terrible. Allison's race wasn't ideal either, she had tangle-trouble both days. The second day she came to the finish line entwined with 2 other teams, it was quite the sight to see.
I opted out of racing this weekend because I had been "sicker than a dog" with the flu the previous week. I was just getting some energy back on race day and figured I better not over do it. I had already missed more work than I wa comfortable with. I was a little sad to see everyone leave the starting lines without me, but it was truly nice to get to relax and visit everyone, something I never really get to do at the races. Poor Tyler even tagged along despite he was hobbling around on crutches. He got quite handy at maneuvering up and down the hill that goes from the parking lot to the starting line...what a trooper :-)
All in all it was a great weekend. We sold a few dogs, bought a few dogs, told dog-truck stories(the kind of stories you embelish around a campfire) and thouroughly enjoyed the day :-)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
As much as we enjoy going to the races, there still comes a certain kind of relief when they are over. Getting to plan our weekends around fun runs, extra time to work with the dogs individually, and no dropping dogs around the clock usually top my list. We'd still like to plan an ISSSC fun run this year, but with the poor economy it looks like that may not be an option. But who knows maybe something will turn up that is convenient for everyone. Since tax season is coming into fully swing for me, it looks like the last race that Allan and the girls will attend is Ashton, ID. I hope they do well!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Allison is running her 3-dog Alaskan team in the 3 mile race. She just called with a tall tale of events that occured on her first race day (I am wondering if she is going to take after me with bad race luck). First, she hit a tree, lost her team, hitched a ride with her competitor, caught her team which had turned back and almost went right past her, and then follow a moose into the finish line! Whao! I would be a mess after all that, but at 10 years old, Allison takes it all in stride and is rarin' to get back on the trail tomorrow morning. She is such a trooper! I love that kid. Here is a picture of her in Pindale...those goggles crack me up, they remind me of a giant Fly and she won't leave home without them!
Allan said he had a good run in the 21 mile and said his dogs finished happy and strong. He was a little concerned because we haven't been able to do any running the last 10 days due to the broken ankle fiasco! Hopefully, he will hold it together tomorrow and will pull out a win. He said this particular 21 mile run is a bit steeper than the 15 mile run we traditionally run. In anycase, I wish them both luck tomorrow. As I said earlier, Dubois is my favorite race and the race organizers there are extremely thorough and do such a great job of putting it all together. We would be very sad to see this race ever end.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Taylor ran a 6-dog Seppala team in the 12 mile class. Allan ran a 10-dog Alaskan team in the 18 mile class. I ran a 10-dog team in the 18 mile class with a mixture of breeds. Between bitches in heat and a couple sore pads the remaining 10 Seppalas with enough mileage had to be split between me and Taylor. So I ran 4 Sepps and 6 Alaskans.
The trails were well groomed and very fast. Our teams all held together very well. We are always conscientious of shoulder injuries when the trails are so fast, so we were all on our drags quite a bit. Taylor ran the 6 dog 12 miles, with a good clean run the first day and minor leader trouble the second. She ended up winning second place, beat by Leslie Fields who had a SMOKIN' team! Allan and I ran the 10-dog 18 mile race. Allan's alaskan team ran the both days without incident and he claimed first place followed by Ernie Baily, Matt Mauer, and me.
As my luck would have it, I did get off the trail in waist deep snow the first day. I likely lost 10+ minutes trying to get my team turned around. Thank goodness Jolene's husband was close enough by to hear the commotion and came to my rescue. Once we got back on the trail we were off and running without a hitch. I knew the team was running quite well, but was very surprised to catch up with Kayla Corcoran (8-dog 18 mile) and Matt Mauer on the second time around the loop. The next day proved to be an excellent run with the second fastest time.
We stayed with the Corcoran family and Matt Mauer in a plush little cabin at Woods Landing. The evenings were full of tall tales and good friends. Jocie Corcoran brough enough stew to feed an army an it was YUMMY! All and all, the weekend was great success! Next up...Dubois in two weeks.
Monday, January 5, 2009
WOW! What a great weekend! We had a ball hanging out with our best sleddog friends and even making a few more! BP and the other sponsors from the Pinedale area sure know how to make a race first class! Really, shouldn't it be mandatory to have a heated tent at all races with free Chilli? I say yes! Did I mention it was 25 degrees below zero on Sunday, actually with the wind factored in, it was actually 40 degrees below...let me tell you that is freakin' cold. The thing about cold days like that (which completely amazes me) is the dogs thrive in those temperatures. I could actually see the smiles on their faces as we headed the start line. I wish I could have smiled, but I was afraid it would freeze that way and my teeth would get cold. I do still have a hard time getting my mind around the fact that once it warmed up to 9 degrees below, I was actually too warm and trying to shed some of my layered clothing...now that just doesn't make sense to me!
My sweet and beautiful little daughter, Allison (9 yrs old), has talked about getting to run the junior race for months now. She religiously checked the Green River Classic website to see if any new junior mushers had entered (she was the only entry right up until the night before). The really funny thing about it was she did realized I was the webmaster for the site ;-) She was determined to win and that she did. Continental Kennel Club had generously donated $500 so that we could host a junior event. The kids entered a 3-dog max class and ran out 1 mile where a volunteer on a snowmobile help turn them around sending them flying back to the finish line. I think Allison was just as happy to make her new friends, Julia and Katrina, as she was to win the race.
Taylor (13 years old) and I each entered the 6-dog class. I thought it best to split my team up between Taylor and I. She took the front 6 dogs and I took the back 6 dogs (of course that left me with marginal leaders). Taylor is as laid back & easy going as the come. She never gets upset and the dogs respond very well to her for that reason. She was able to pull off two clean runs and as Billy Snodgrass advised her, "don't worry about being fastest, just make no mistakes" So that is exactly how she approached her race. Taylor was able to pull off 7th place. The competition was stiff with some top Alaskan teams and Taylor held her own.
My placing was not as good as Taylor's, I had a little trouble the first day with another team. But that was ok...they ran very well the second day--showing a 22 minute difference in time. My two young dogs tired a little toward the end. I normally would not have taken my youngest dogs, but this race has such wide, flat trails...it was the perfect experience for them.
The big news of the weekend was Allan's success. He entered the 12-dog class (28 miles) where he was able to pull out a 3rd place, beaten only by Frank Teasly and Jerry Bath. We were all very proud of him because we know how hard he had worked to train his team this fall. In this year's training he has nearly doubled his training miles. The dogs are in such phenomenal condition and in very high spirits. In a couple weeks, Allan is going to see how he stacks up in Mancos at the San Juan Stage race...GOOD LUCK!
Deer Creek sends major THANKS to all the volunteers and fellow mushers for their part in a great weekend!