Tuesday 12 December 2006

December 12, 2006 2006/2007 Racing Season

“Gentlemen – start your engines!”

Well ready or not, it looks like the 2006/2007 racing season is upon us! We leave tomorrow for the Sheep Mountain 150 in Sutton, Alaska. (We ran this race in 2005 as well - see our 2006 Race Season page for more details.)

Wherever has the time since March gone??

Honestly, I’m very happy with the dog’s training so far. They are better prepared for this race then my team was last year. We have even had a few opportunities to get on snow this season.

We started with a strong pool of about 35 candidates for the 24 spots on the truck – and competition has been tough, but we have whittled things down to 24, with another 4 or 5 that will be ready to step up if any of the ‘first pick’ dogs get sidelined for any reason.

For me there are always pleasant surprises and sad realities that come along with picking those final 24 – I know many of you long time followers of the kennel will pick those out in reading the list.

So, let me ‘introduce’ you to the 24 dogs that will make the trek to Alaska with us this weekend.

First off, the most senior member of the team – at 9 years of age and at a lean, but solid 55 lbs – Draco. Who is perhaps having the best season of his life! He looks and acts fabulous!

Next up in seniority are the Gods and the Goddess – Odie, Loki and Kara. Odie and Loki are acting more like puppies then they did when they were puppies! And Kara, well…she is still one of my very favorite leaders – heck, just one of my favorite dogs – but you all know that already.

Then there are my ‘class of 2000’ alumni – Moses and Olena. Dependable leaders and strong pullers anywhere in the team.

Snickers, Crunchie, Dasher and Barq are the 5 year olds getting on the truck this time. This may actually be Barq’s year! He is maturing wonderfully – FINALLY!

All three ‘H’s’ – Hector, Hilda and Herman will once again be trekking up to visit Alaska again. All truly solid dogs!

Batdog finally welcomes his little sister, Holly along for the trip! Yeah Holly!

And the last of the veterans to go is Iditarod finisher (and favorite of trapline children!) – Jr!

The next two are still young, but both did some racing for us last season – just not Iditarod. They are Q and Jinx, of course.

Finally we hit the real rookies of the group – Eeek, Charge, Watt, Tess, Boom, and the smallest of the main string dogs – Spider. Lots of enthusiasm and promise in that group!

So that’s the lot – 15 Males; 9 Females; 12 Iditarod finishers; 4 race veteran; 8 racing rookies.

The heaviest of the group are Draco and Moses at 55 lbs. The lightest is little Holly, at a svelte 38 lbs.

Eighteen of them were born in this yard. Four of the others were born in Bob Chlupach’s yard (Herman, Hector, Hilda and Moses), one in Natalie Norris’s (Olena) and one in Karen Yeargain’s (Spider).

| Draco | Odie | Loki | Kara | Moses | Olena | Snickers | Crunchie | Dasher | Barq | Hector | Hilda
| Herman | Batdog | Holly | Jr | Q | Jinx | Eeek | Charge | Watt | Tess | Boom | Spider |

They represent the best of our kennel this year and I couldn’t be more proud of them all. They are as capable, strong, fast and motivated as any group of dogs I’ve ever assembled before.

That said, folks should understand that both Mark and I are using this race as a training race. While it won’t be that way all this season, for this race we will be pacing the team to ensure it is just a good, solid training run for the dogs.

Mark will also be working with all the real rookies in the race pool and his race will revolve around what is the best thing to show those ‘babies’ what fun racing can be.

My sole goal is to arrive in Euraka far enough ahead of Mark that I don’t have to park next to those noisy, rambunctious ‘Electric pups’ (Watt, Charge and Tess).

Watt in harness Sept 2005

Tess1006-1.jpg (40700 bytes)
The "Electric" pups
(Surge x Olena)

You can follow the race this weekend on www.dogsled.com - and I’m sure we will have plenty of stories when we get back on the 20th!


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