Monday, 28 February 2011

Post Race Update - Bet


Post Race Update now?  Um, Musher, turn off the camera, I told you I would get to it after breakfast!

Sigh... no, I told you that as soon as I finished breakfast I would get on the computer, if Musher Handler Guy Mark is done playing Angry Birds and write the post-race update!

Yes I did tell you that, while you were doing that silly boxing Wii exercise thing, and frankly I have no idea why you listen to that cartoonist, she's a bit goofy in the head and probably looped on Nyquil when she told you about that thing.  I didn't slave over a hot waffle griddle just to let my breakfast grow cold you know.

You know, the longer I sit here and argue with you, the longer its going to take me to eat and go post, so I'm pretty sure you have something to knit, or feed, or clean up after... like all that mushing gear that I had to lay on allll the way back from Prince Albert in a can, that stuff reeks you know!

I'm not listening to you now, blah blah blah, keep talking, I'm just going to enjoy my waffle and pretend you aren't here.

You know what, fine, I'm going to take my breakfast and eat it on the cloud.  Hope you're happy.

- Bet

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dropping A Dog

A number of folks have noticed something on the Canadian Challenge video and photos that I thought I'd finally mention to you all - I have lost a little bit of weight since last winter. Okay, maybe alittle more then alittle - in fact I have dropped over the weight of my largest sled dog since last April. Fifty five pounds to be precise.
In fact, today I went clothes shopping with Colleen and fit into a size 12 jean. Last March I wore a size 20. (The grin on my face when the 12's easily zipped up was pretty darn big, I tell ya!).

Anyway, this was me last April -

This is me now - 

Don't see it?? Really??

Okay, so it turns out there aren't alot of pictures of me where I'm not wearing 20 layers of clothing and an anorak. We are going to work on that.

For now you'll just have to take my word for it!!!

As for how I did it - well SWEAT was the secret. With the exception of my trip to England/South Africa this summer, you could count on both hands the number of days I didn't spend between an hour and a half and two hours working out.
I pedaled my way through 4 seasons of Dexter (awesome), 4 seasons of Northern Exposures (my favorite), and a whole bunch of movies.
In addition, thanks to my crazy Cartoonist friend, I got addicted to Gold's Gym Cardio Workout for WII. Great fun and a good workout!!

Since November working out has been hard to find time for, but by watching my diet (although I still will eat a little bit of whatever I want, but just a little) and thanks to dog yard chores and races, I've been able to continue to lose.

It has been over 25 years since I weighed what I currently weigh. I feel 100% better and more energetic then I have the last few years.

Looking better is just icing on the cake!!!

And my dogs?? Well they are thrilled to not be carrying that extra 'dog' around with them all the time now!!!


Want a Really Cool Sweater? - Bet

Howdy ho everyone, this is your roving Border Collie, Bet, resting from my exciting week of reporting.

Now that the excitement of the Canadian Challenge is over, and the teams are winding down and recuperating, I thought I'd let everyone know about an exciting opportunity to own a little bit of authentic North Wapiti stuff.

When she's not musher, tending to the Curly Tails, setting off the smoke alarm while cooking, taking wonderful pictures, or blogging, the Musher actually knits!  Who know!?  She's so multi-dimensional.

This year she started this lovely sweater with a cow on the front.
Unfortunately with her busy schedule, she couldn't get the whole thing finished, so she sent it off to Joanne Lee to finish for her.  Joanne has a really nice quilt shop in some place called Maple Valley, Washington.  I'm pretty sure Maple Valley is where they make the tasty goodness syrup that goes on waffles, and therefore a wonderful place to live.  It even smells of waffles, and curly tail furs and I'm pretty sure there's even curly tail fluff weaved into the yarns, so that makes it an even better special thingy.

We guesstimate that its a size XL (human sized, not doggie size), and knitted with some soft knitty baa baa sheepy yarn stuff.

Anyhooo, we'd love for someone to win this unique, one of a kind cow sweater... oh wait, the Musher has just informed me that the proper pronunciation of the beast on the sweater is: COWABOU.

Here's what we're going to do.  There will be a minimum of 100 chances to win this cool sweater.  Helen Handler (who smells like cookies) will collect your donation: $10 per number, and assign you a number.  Once we've filled 100 numbers, we'll make an announcement that we'll be drawing the number on a specific date, to give everyone a chance to get in on the fun, then draw the number.  If your number is drawn, you get the cool sweater!

But wait, there's more!  We'll draw a second number, and the winner of the second number will get these really cool wristie things that the Musher knitted!

But wait, there's even MORE!  Third place will win their choice of a North Wapiti neck gator, or a neck scarf!

So, how do you get in on this cool fund raiser?  Well, its ridiculously simple.

Contact Handler Helen (who smells like cookies)   E-mail her at:

Tell her how many numbers you want ($10 each), and how you'll pay for the numbers:

You can send a check to the Musher (please note that it takes forEVER for the mail to get by Moose to our house:

Checks payable to:
Karen Ramstead
Mail to:
Karen Ramstead
Box 9
Perryvale, Alberta, Canada
T0G 1T0

Or, you can pay using Paypal.  There's a convenient "add to cart" button over there on the upper right hand side.  Just click it, it'll take you to the paypal page and you just say how many sweater numbers you want ($10 per number), and once we all verify you paid, Helen (snickerdoodle smelling handler) will send you your numbers.

Ok, that's it for now.  I have more important matters to tend to right now because we just got home!!!!!

- Bet

Post-Race Recap #1: Phone It In - The Cartoonist

While we wait for team North Wapiti to return to North Wapiti, I thought I'd provide some insider recaps to the race and answer some questions that some fans had.

One of the questions was: "How did Karen call on the trail to say that she was scratching?"

Since cell phones are not allowed in races (and they would probably stop working because of the cold even if they COULD find a signal out in the middle of nowhere), Karen had to go find a phone.

She reports: "I never got to Lynx Lake. I drove the team off the lake at Sucker River and through town to the General Store where I went in and phoned for the truck."

Since we don't have any pictures of this event, I'm providing my interpretation of this event (click on the picture to see a bigger version).

- The Cartoonist

Friday, 25 February 2011

Congratulations Richard! - Karen, Mark, Bet, and the Musher Minions

Congratulations to Richard Todd and the North Wapiti Pretty Sled dogs for their 4th place finish at the 14th annual Canadian Challenge International Sled Dog Race

We are so proud of you all!

Richard's team consisted of:

Runner is sponsored by Maureen Zavodjancik!  Thank you Maureen!

Dasher is sponsored by: Kris Biagiotti, Barbara Branham, Cheryl Dawson, Maureen Lamb, Ursula Rempel, Sandy Stealey, Mary Ann Strock and Rita Young-Jones (Friends of SOS-SRF).  Thanks to you all!

 On Hold for sponsorship


Utin is sponsored by Mark and Pat Ellinger, Spider, Batdog, and Junior!  Thank you all!

TopDog is sponsored by Barb and Mike Branham and the pack: Wenatchee, Sabre, and Jolie!  Thank you all!

Irving is sponsored by Mary Curtis!  Thank you Mary!

Bingo is sponsored by Mary Atkinson!  Thank you Mary

Casey is smiling now because she's sponsored by Rose for Daiquiri with Timba!  Thank you Rose!

Beauty is sponsored by Cheryl Dawson!  Thank you Cheryl!

Billie is sponsored by LaRita Skipper!  Thank you LaRita!

Rocket is doing the dance of happiness because she's sponsored by Deb Custer!  Thanks Deb!

Kelly needs a sponsor!  Kelly is a true rookie and made her racing debut at the Canadian Challenge!  Will you be Kelly's sponsor?

An Update Before My Official End Of Race Update - Bet

Howdy Ho everyone!  Your roving Border Collie reporter, Bet, here!

While we wait for Richard and the Curly Tails to arrive at the finish line (in about 2ish hours or so), I thought I'd post an update on things and stuff to keep everyone up to date!

First of all, I want to dispel the rumor that has been going around that the 2nd string curly tails laced the 1st string curly tails with Ex lax to get them to drop out, that simply is NOT true.  The 1st string curly tails caught a nasty bug and although it was ugly and messy last night, they are feeling much better today and on their way to recovery.

I would also like to dispel the rumor that I put something in their food so that the Musher would come back and I would get to lay on her feet, that isn't true either, although I'm really glad she is back, because I spent the day IN THE HOTEL guarding her feet.
This morning I also got to munch on some tasty neckbones, AND cute Richard shared his bacon and eggs with me before he got back on the trail!  I also discovered that waffles are SOOO much better than pancakes because the little notchy things hold the syrup like little pockets of tasty goodness.  Now that's what I'm talking about!

I've also been doing my truck dog duties by growling at anyone that comes close to MY Musher... I mean truck, yeah, the truck.  I'm so ferocious that the trespassers all fall down laughing, thus rendering them incapable of coming any closer.  I'm a power to be reckoned with!

Ok, there are more Musher tales to be told, but that will have to be for a later time.  Right now we have to send our collective good vibes to Richard and the Pretty Sled Curly Tails as they race to the finish and get 4th place!


- Bet

Thursday, 24 February 2011

So Far - Bet

Well, I'm sure you probably already know by now, but the Musher had to scratch at Lynx Lake.  Apparently the curly tails caught a stomach bug and it wasn't fun any more.

I'm going to let the Musher give you all of the details, but I thought I would tell you about last night... remember, the night I was suppose to sleep in the nice warm hotel on the Musher's feet... yeah, NOT SO MUCH!

The Musher had a lot of fun on the trail up to that point, and Tess was a real leady lead dog!  At one point she was leading all by herself because she and See got into a snit about who had the fluffiest tail, and See felt that her tail was fluffiest, but Tess said something about too much junk in the trunk... I have no idea what that means, but See demanded to be placed in Wheel dog position after that and refuses to talk to Tess, and eventually WiFi went up with Tess and refused to compare fluffiness.

So, the Musher finally showed up around 2am and boy was I ready to warm her feet... except Musher Handler Mark told me that truck dogs don't sit in community houses and have muffins delivered to them by Handler Helen (who smells like cookies), truck dogs have to work and take care of the curly tails.

This really isn't what I signed on for, but FINE!  So I spent all night tending to the curly tails.

This morning the Musher was all refreshed and ready to go.  She even had breakfast at the hotel with Musher Handler Guy Mark and said she felt civilized.  I was not invited.

Which leads us to this morning... and I'll let the Musher tell you the story from today.

Don't worry, we're making sure the Curly Tails feel better soon, and we're still rooting for cute Richard and his Curly Tails!

-Bet (have you seen my bedpan?)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

North Wapiti Insider (which is where I want to be right now) - Bet

Howdy Ho North Wapiti fans, its Bet, your roving frozen Border Collie reporter!

I gotta say, this is NOTHING like the Eagle Cap experience.  No warm building with hot muffins.  No assistant to fetch me things and its FREEZING here!  Its -27c, which is -189 in dog years!

Musher Mark was nice enough to let me borrow his mittens, because he said he can't play Angry Birds with them on and the phone keeps his hands warm.

We've been spending much of our time waiting on the curly tails in the truck, I have NO IDEA why because we have a cozy hotel room at La Ronge just sitting there!  Nooo, we're in the truck, and I only get out when I absolutely HAVE to do my business.  Do you have any idea how long it takes to get out of my stunning cocktail ensemble in this cold????  I'm so cold that I haven't eaten anything since the pizza because I can't chew!  My teeth chatter so much that the food just falls out of my mouth! 

The only saving grace of this trip is that the Musher is going to be pulling into Le Ronge checkpoint around 8pm Central time (in about 2 hours from this writing) for her 8 hour layover.  Since the Musher isn't using this race as a qualifier, it means that Musher Handler Mark can pretty much do everything for the Musher at the checkpoint; make the dogs' food, feed them, care for them and all that while she sleeps in the hotel.  You all know where I'm going to be during that time... oh yeah, I'm snuggling up with the Musher!  Someone has to warm her feet!

Richard, on the other hand, is using this race as a qualifier, so he has to care for his team and do all of the work himself, the only thing Musher Handler Mark can do for him is clean up the dog straw once he's pulled out. 

As you can tell from the Canadian Challenge Website updates, the Pretty Sled Dogs are going gangbusters and making good time!  Communications are spotty in areas, and the updates are coming as fast as the race volunteers can manage them, but their first priority is to ensure the safety of the mushers and dogs (thank you).

I, for one, will be very happy when this is over, and may have to rethink the roving reporter bit... I think I'm more qualified to be the anchor dog back at the Border Collie Broadcasting Center.

Until later!

- Bet

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Vet Checks, Banquet, Odds and Ends - Bet

Howdy Ho, Bet your roving Border Collie reporter here!

I have to admit that I'm totally exhausted today!  The vet checks, the banquet (and everyone adored my blue outfit with the blue booties), shmoozing with my groupies, and then the start of the race this afternoon.  Its been a whirlwind trip so far!

First off, I have to tell you the story of the vet checks!

Things went very well with the curly tails, all of them are nice and healthy, happy, and raring to go.  We had a bit of a problem because the Musher made the mistake of introducing the game "Angry Birds" to the Musher Handler Guy... HUGE mistake!  This is what he looks like all the time now:
Like most other Angry Birds addicts, he shuffles around like a zombie holding that phone up to his face and sorta moves from side to side as if willing the bird to hit the pigs...

I finally had to put the phone in a safe place so that he'd leave the hotel room and see where he was going.
The safe place is getting kinda full.

Anyhoo, once we got Musher Handler Guy out of the hotel room, we went off to the vet checks, and as I said, the curly tails are in wonderful health.

Some of you may wonder how the vet knows that he's checked all of the dogs?  I mean there's a LOT of curly tails there, and some not so curly tailed, and some not so fluffy, and well, its hard to keep track of them all.  Well, at this particular race, the vets used spray paint to mark the pups... don't freak out, its not permanent (thank goodness), but I totally freaked out by the choice of color and suspect that Richard had something to do with it.

GREEN!!!!!  Seriously?  I mean I was being nice to Richard (because he's so nice and all) about taking green things from the green bin, but now this?  It totally clashes with the whole North Wapiti color scheme!

Even Crunchie knows the green doesn't go with his fur, he's so embarrassed, he tried rolling the paint off in the snow, but it just stuck like that!

PLEASE GET THE PAINT OFF ME!  Or maybe that's the PLEASE GIVE ME MY SOUP I'M STARVING AND DIDN'T GET ANY PIZZA look.  Come on, there was barely enough pizza for the mushing crew, so its not like I hogged it all.
See, the soup is MUCH better than pizza (hehehe).

Then we all went to the Musher Banquet

Richard got bib #2 and the Musher got bib #11 (5:10 in the video and then Richard after her... no, he doesn't speak).  You can't see me in the video because I admit that I had a little bit too much to drink and was under the table.

All of the mushers started off this afternoon, and I have to say that the Canadian Challenge site and blog is doing a good job of keeping up with things to help you follow along.  I'm sorry that I can't provide quicker updates, but with the Angry Birds zombie around, I can't wrestle the phone away from him to post updates to Facebook or the mail list a lot, he gets really cranky.

Just to let you know, the Musher is at Marshall Lake right now, and if you want a map of the course, you can find one here

Off to snooze and more later!


Monday, 21 February 2011

The Big City - Bet

Greetings from Prince Albert (who is NOT in a can) Saskatchewan!

Its your roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet!

I have so much stuff to tell all of you, but I'll break it up into chunks throughout the next few days so you have something to read while we wait for updates, then wait for more updates, then wait for updates, and then... ok, you get the picture.

Today I'll tell you all about the Big City life!

First off, I must say that the Big City has REALLY nice dog beds.
My room is pretty small, but I'll be the Musher rooms are much bigger.  They probably even have nicer beds, but this one is just the right size for me.

The next cool thing to happen is that we were all just hanging out in my room and someone knocked on the door and HANDED US PIZZAS!!  Can you believe that!  Stuff like that NEVER happens in Perryvale!  I really like this big city living, I could really get use to it.

So, this morning we all got up and the Musher had to take the curly tails for their vet check.  I had overheard the Musher say how funny it would be to get pictures of ME going through a vet check, like I was one of the curly tails.

First of all, no.  Secondly, I was still pretty sleepy from all of the pizza the night before and I wanted to sleep in.  Fortunately the Musher was unable to find her camera and gave up that silly idea.  She'll be glad to know that I had put it away in a safe place the night before (you can't be too careful here in the big city).
While the Musher, Musher Guy, and Richard were out tending to the curly tails, a fan stopped by and was all happy to see Team North Wapiti, and talked about how they followed our adventures on Facebook.

Then the fan (hehehe) asked if I was around.  I HAVE GROUPIES!!!!  I'm sorry that I wasn't out and about to meet my adoring fans, but I needed to get my beauty sleep and figure out how to work that silly tv remote control.

As you can see, all of the pups are fine and raring to go tomorrow.  Here they are having breakfast:

Tomorrow I'll give you the inside scoop on the vet checks (not wanting anyone to fret, all the pups are just fine and dandy), but the color green does come into play... but you'll have to wait for that!

Signing off from beautiful and pizza-plentiful Prince Albert!


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Back in the Day! - The Old Timer

Back in the Day is a new type of post focused on information about past events and information regarding North Wapiti Kennels and the “Musher”. Bringing you these posts is me, known as the “Old Timer”. Why am I the Old Timer? Well, I’m old and I’ve been hanging around these parts for about 10 years now. My goal is to give a little insight to the history and workings of the North Wapiti Kennels.

The first thing I want to talk about centers around the Canadian Challenge. Okay I know that’s not history because it hasn’t even happened yet. I thought I’d answer a popular question about the race- “How long will it take Karen and Richard to travel 300 miles? Well I looked back in time to the last two 300 mile races that Karen has run. The first one in 2006 was the Copper Basin 300 which Karen finished in 60 hours and 53 minutes. Then in 2007 Karen ran the Taiga 300 in 60 hours and 46 minutes. Well 60+ hours seem to be the popular time for 300 miles. If this trend continues, we can expect Karen and Richard to finish the race between midnight and 1am on Friday morning.

Just remember, there’s a lot more that figures into this than history. Weather, different dogs than in the previous races, trail conditions, rest schedules, etc. greatly influence how fast or slow a race is run. So this Old Timers prediction based only on history- would be Thursday night into Friday morning. I’ll be watching closely to see if history repeats itself.

Let this Old Timer know if there is something you’ve been wondering about. Maybe you’re question will be in the next Back in the Day post.

The Old Timer

On The Road - Bet

Howdy Ho everyone, your roving reporter, Bet, here!

Just wanted to let you all know that we're on the road heading to the Canadian Challenge!

Since we have about 500 BORING miles to drive (look, a tree.  look, snow.  look, a moose.  look, a tree) I thought I'd spend some time catching up on events and letting all of you know what goes into preparing for a sled dog race!

Some of you may think that mushers just pack up their dogs, drive to the event, race, then drive home.  Oh no, its much more involved than that!

First, there's the buying of all sorts of stuff, like food, flame retardant pants, booties, and things the curly tails need.

Then, there's the packing of all of the stuff you just bought or have stashed somewhere.  This requires keen supervisory skills and patience.

 Here I am telling Colleen not to grab that blue bootie, she needs to grab the red bootie.  I can't have the curly tails running a race with blue booties that will clash with the Musher's sled bag!  Come on!  The team colors are red and black, get with the program Colleen!

See!  This is why I'm here, that would have been a sled dog fashion NO.  How embarrassing!

 Here is Richard trying to fill one of his drop bags with something in the green bin.  But I know better, the green bin has green things in it, and green things will clash with the whole color motif, so I'm telling him to get the stuff in the red bin.


Here is Richard whispering sweet nothings in my ear, and... well, I can't resist Richard, so if Richard wants green things, he can have green things.  Besides, green goes with red.

 Here I am supervising the stuffing of the drop bags.  You can clearly see green things in one of the bags... don't mock my Richard!

Here I am critiquing Richard's packing technique.  He clearly put the eggs on the bottom and was about to put a gallon of milk on them.

Once the packing order was straightened away, I told Richard that I bet he couldn't fit in the bag, but I could

I was wrong, and I'm sorry that I didn't get a picture of him in the bag, but I was laughing too hard.

So, once all of the bags and stuff were packed, it was time for me to figure out my wardrobe.  Since I'm not as fluffy as the curly tails, I need something to keep me warm while I'm out supervising the handler.

Um... seriously?  This doesn't even go with my fur!  I have no idea how this got in my closet.  I'd be tripping all over it when I ran and its not even covering half of me, so this ISN'T going on the trip.

This is much better, nice and toasty.  Paired with some matching booties, I could even go to Musher cocktail parties in this ensemble.  Um, Colleen, remember those blue booties you found?

Now that I've got my outfit picked out, the bags are all packed, and I've had my nap

Its time for me to stake out my truck space.  I prefer the middle seat because that's where the heater blows, I can turn the radio channel to something more mellow, and the bump allows me to see through the windshield...

um wha???  Hoo, hoo, you funny Musher you, that's really funny.  Ok, photo-op, look at the famous mushing Border Collie, fine, are we done because this straw is really prickly on my delicate little feet.

Yep, this is much better.  Now its time to get the show on the road, except we seem to be missing someone.

Apparently today is THE day.  From the loud vroomy sounds on the tv, its apparently NASCAR day.  Some big race or something.  From my point of view, some person driving a car in circles for hours isn't really... exciting, but Musher Guy Mark is addicted to it, and unfortunately the day we need to leave is one of the biggest biggie huge something or other race days.

He was very good about leaving and not being able to watch the race though.

- Bet