Wednesday, 8 January 2003

January 8, 2003 Alaska Bound Team Members 2003

Well, without further ado, I’m going to introduce the 20 dogs
 that are heading north to Alaska with us. 
NorthWapiti’s Super Grover (6.5 year old black and white male – Iditarod veteran – main leader). There is probably not much I can say about Grover that you all haven’t heard me say before. My best leader and a contributing member anywhere else in the team. In my mind, they don’t come any better then this boy. 

Ch. NorthWapiti’s Guy Smiley (6.5 year old white and gray piebald male – Iditarod veteran – leader). Aptly named, this handsome, happy boy is a pleasure to run. A solid, dependable leader. 

NorthWapiti’s Mr. Snuffleupagus (6.5 year old white and gray piebald male – Iditarod veteran – leader). ‘Gus’ was my leader for the ceremonial start, restart and finish of the 2001 Iditarod. He often gets second billing to his brothers, Smiley and Grover – but he is every bit as valuable a team member! 

NorthWapiti’s Camilla (6.5 year old white and gray piebald female – Iditarod veteran – leader). The last of the ‘muppets’ – a littermate to Gus, Smiley, and Grover. Camilla is the best command leader we own. Having her up front is like having power steering. 

NorthWapiti’s Orion the Hunter (5 year old gray and white male – Iditarod veteran – leader). When it comes to pure pulling power, Orion is at the head of the class. 

NorthWapiti’s Draco (5 year old gray and white male – Iditarod veteran – leader). Those of you that follow my journal entries know how excited and happy I am to have this boy heading north with us. Draco is coming into his own as a leader and has been leading frequently this training season.

Ch. Kainai’s Anchorman (7 year old sable male – Iditarod veteran). ‘Mannie’ is hardworking and focused. Not a leader, but a valuable team member nonetheless. 

Chuchinka’s Pathfinder (6 year old black and white male – Iditarod veteran – leader). ‘Chester’ is a tough, happy, hardworking boy. Not the best leader we own, but still very capable of being at the front of the team.

Chuchinka’s San Antonio Rose (6.5 year old, gray and white female – Iditarod veteran – leader). ‘Kaylinn’ first started leading during the 2001 Iditarod. This year she is actually trained to run lead! Very eager to please. 

NorthWapiti’s Sir Galahad (4 year old, gray and white male – Iditarod veteran – leader). In 2001, ‘Surge’ was our youngest team member. He know has some more experience and is an even more valuable team member. 

Chuchinka’s Nikolia 2nd (5 year old, gray and white male – Iditarod veteran – leader). ‘Nik’ is undoubtedly the most annoying dog in the team, but his screaming in harness and enthusiasm for the food bowl is a real asset out on the trail. 

NorthWapiti’s Denali (2.5 year old gray and white male – racing rookie – leader). Denali is the tallest boy on the team. Very handsome. But a real baby about having his feet touched – hopefully he will get over that this season.

NorthWapiti’s Loki (3.5 year old gray and white male – racing rookie). One of the up and coming powerhouses on our team. 

NorthWapiti’s Oden (3.5 year old gray and white male – leader – Beargrease veteran). ‘Odie’ is almost a twin of his brother, Loki, even I sometimes get the two of them confused in harness! 

NorthWapiti’s Robert E. Lee (4 year old light red and white male – racing rookie). ‘Squeaky’ (because he has been debarked – but not by us) came to live with us just over a year ago. A littermate to Surge, he is just one of those dogs that you can put into the team and forget he is there, because he causes no trouble and just does his job. 

NorthWapiti’s Freya (3.5 year old, gray and white female – racing rookie - leader). At 37 lbs, she is the smallest member of our team, but I swear she puts more pounds of pull into her tug line then some of the bigger dogs on the team.

NorthWapiti’s Valkyrie Kara (3.5 year old, black and white female – racing rookie – leader). Beautiful and without a doubt, the happiest dog on the team. Kara took last year off to raise a family (Dasher and Dancer), but this year has decided to focus on her career.

Alaskan’s Olena of Anadyr (2.5 year old black and white female – racing rookie - leader). Quite possibly the most focused and driven dog I’ve ever met. An UNBELIEVABLE dog in harness.

NorthWapiti’s Nahanni (2.5 year old silver and white female – racing rookie). Nahanni digs in on the hills like no other. There is leader potential in this gal too!

And, finally….

Ch. Innisfree’s Pirate’s Treasure (4 year old gray and white male – racing rookie). Boy, I caught you all with this one, didn’t I??? Pirate has been our little secret in the kennel this training season. When I was in New York in May judging Puppy Sweepstakes for the Seneca Siberian Specialty, Trish and Pam Kanzler were showing this boy. After watching Pirate move around the ring, I was completely taken with him. I offered the Kanzlers a chance to prove him out in harness. (For those of you that don’t know Kathleen Kanzler’s Innisfree Kennels – they are, without argument, the most successful Siberian Show kennel in the history of the breed.). Showing a tremendous amount of faith in Pirate and in me, they agreed and Pirate came out here in September.  He has done beyond all our expectations, honestly earning his spot on the truck. Watch for more information and pictures of Pirate – now that our secret is out!

Well, that’s the team. They are a solid and hard working group of dogs. I’m excited about the potential of this group! Just for curiosities sake, here are some stats on the team. There are:

· 11 Iditarod veterans and 9 rookies
· 14 males and 6 females 

The average weight of the team is 45.9 lbs, with the heaviest dog being Chester at 54.2 lbs and the lightest being Freya at 36.8 lbs. 

The average age of the team is 4.5 years, with the oldest being Mannie, at 7 and the youngest being Olena, Denali, and Nahanni, at 2.5 years. 

A quick word about the three dogs that were cut from the pool – as many of you may have guessed, the hardest cut was Oreo. I had really hoped that I could take her to Nome this year and I still believe that she could do the Race, however, my job as coach/manager etc. is to pick the BEST dogs for the team and Oreo was beat out by some of the younger dogs. This decision was one that had to be made with my head, not my heart - as my heart would have put her on the truck in a second.

Kobuk was another tough cut. He is a great youngster and I know he is going to be an even more wonderful dog in the years to come, however, I feel he could use a little bit more time to mature. 
Kluane was not as difficult a decision. Her poor eating habits have been a huge frustration throughout training and that is what caused her to be cut from the team. 

Thank you to all those who participated in our "2003 Sponsor-A-Dog" program. Please visit the page to read who they are and to learn more about these people to whom we are so grateful!!  Without the support of all of our Sponsors (we have more than one type and more than one page of sponsors!) our trip to Alaska would not have been possible.

All for today!

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