Sunday 27 November 2011

The Musher Banquet - Bet

Howdy ho everyone, its Bet here, still catching up on the things that have been happening here at North Wapiti central!

As the Iditarod time gets closer, we'll be adding more and more fun things that people can do while they support the Pretty Curly Tails and Musher before and during the race if they are going to be in Alaska!

One of the fun events is the Musher Banquet before the start of the race!  This is the time for fans to mingle and mix with the mushers before the big race.  You not only get tasty foods, a chance at winning some cool stuff at the raffle drawings, but you can talk to all of the mushers and pose for pictures and stuff and things!

The 2012 Iditarod Banquet will be held on Thursday March 1st at the Dena'ina Center in downtown Anchorage.  Doors open at 5pm and dress casually.

How cool is it that you are in the same room with all of that Musher talent before the race!  Its really cool, and no matter where you sit, you are a part of the action and get to meet people who are addicted to the sport of mushing at the big race.

As an added extra special bonus, you have a chance to win a seat at THE Musher's table!  There are seven (7) open seats at the Musher's table and to make it fair, we're going to draw 7 names to sit with the Musher at the banquet.

This raffle is only open to people who plan on being at the banquet, and who haven't already bought your tickets (sorry if you already bought a ticket, but rules is rules, I'm a Border Collie and I adhere to the international herding creed of following rules).

There is one name per ticket.  In order to reserve your seat, the Musher must know the name of the winner to tell the Iditarod planners before you buy your tickets, so if you plan on buying 4 tickets for a group, we need all 4 names for the drawing and whoever wins gets the seat.  If you want to fight it out with your group over who actually gets the chair, that's up to you, and we'd appreciate a YouTube video of the fight for entertainment purposes.

So, here's what you need to do:

If you are going to be at the banquet, haven't already bought tickets, and want a chance to sit at the Musher's table, then

  1. Send your name(s) to the Musher Minion ( e-mail by 3 December 2011 (remember one name per ticket you plan on purchasing)
  2. On 4 December 2011 7 names will be drawn
  3. The Musher will submit those names to the Iditarod committee
  4. After the names are submitted to the Iditarod committee, the winners will be announced on the blog
  5. After the names are posted on the blog, the winners are responsible for ordering their tickets from the Iditarod committee (tickets are $75.00).
  6. Everyone else can go order their tickets, and even though you won't be sitting with the Musher, you will have time to meet her in person and hob nob with her, but please... if she's eating, leave her alone, remember its her last hot meal that isn't made in a bucket for a week.
If you have any questions, e-mail the Musher Minion  (

Saturday 26 November 2011

Catching Up On the InterWebs Part 1 - Bet

Howdy Ho everyone!  Its quite obvious that things are moving really fast around here now that the snows have started, so I'm really far behind on the weekly catching up on the Interwebs thing!

I'm going to make this into a two-parter, because there's just so many neat things that have happened recently, and when I say "neat" I mean: Things that happened that don't require me to be cold, wet, or get up early.

One of the Big BIG BIGGIE things is that the 2012 Iditarider auction is open for bidding, and yes, if you are in the Iditarod area and want to ride on the sled with the Pretty Sled Dogs and Musher for the opening ceremonies... you can!  Just go here and bid!  Iditarider

Isn't that cool! 

I don't know if I'm going to the Iditarod or not yet, that all depends on whether certain things happen, and other things don't happen, and some other stuff and things, but I'll let you know when I know.

Ok, so as I mentioned before, there is SNOW!  The training runs have been very pretty... I've seen the pictures.  I'm not crazy and getting up that early to go out, its too... cold and... early!

How cold is it?

Its THAT cold (the Musher is smiling... she likes cold, and so do the Pretty Curly Tails)

Pretty snow!

Happy Curly Tail snow

Since Rocket it still recovering her fluff from the whole not so preggers thing, I let her borrow my Gucci spa jacket again. 

She mentioned something about not giving it back.  Um, yeah, it doesn't take a Rocket... scientist to figure out the odds of you keeping that little missy.

So, the Musher has been VERY happy pleased with how the pups are pulling on the training trails this year.  She's especially enamored about the little white girls in the lead and pulling like champions.

Yes, that is Tramp on the right with her mouth open... by the way, Tramp still isn't sponsored and she's getting a bit sad about that.  She mentioned going to Chicago to fill the void of Oprah with her own talk show or so something.

The pups are doing so well on the trail that they are even challenging horses to drag races.

The Pretty Curly Tails won
The Camping is also going very well, except when Jack won't shut up.  But when he's not at the camp, the pups can relax, and Snert uses his handy TopDog pillow.

Snert also needs a sponsor still, and is willing to trade his comfy pillow for sponsorship.

It was also time for Charge's annual trip to the vet.  There's nothing wrong with him, he just likes to freak out the Musher every year this time of year and get a road trip to the vet.  Call it a tradition.

hehehe fooled her again
One of the fun things that happen on the trail is the annual "Smack a Handler off the Quad" competition.  There have been many fine competitors throughout the years, and its always challenging to find the right combination of speed, swerving, bumps, or branches that will dump a handler, but the Musher is one of the best in the quad competition.

This year's selection for best landing goes to: Brittany for best landing after branch upside the head.



Congratulations Brittany!

- Bet

Friday 25 November 2011

It's Easy To Be Humble...

Today was a very pretty run.

Even though it was CRAZY windy whenever I was out of the trees.

A lot of the run was on gravel roads.

Normally the roads are pretty quiet but since it is getting close to the end of hunting season, there is a fair number of hunters puttering around.
The dog team seems to be of big interest to them, probably close to half a dozen stopped to take pictures today.  Of course, I don't mind at all. Sometimes we will stop and chat a bit but mostly I just wave as we trot by. Good distraction training for the dogs!

Today when we left the roads and headed back into the muskeg trails I ran into a father and son hunting on foot. When the ATV pulled up level with them I stopped and shut off the 4 wheeler to chat a bit. The hunters were clearly impressed by the dogs, who obediently and politely stopped when I asked and settled down for a break.
The men were moose hunting so I gave them a rundown of signs and sighting I had had in the area in the last few days. We chatted about the trails and then talk turned to the dogs.
The father asked if I was training for anything in particular.
"Are you familiar with the Iditarod?", I asked.
"Oh yes", he replied and his eyes widened when I said that what I was training for.
"It'll be my 10th one"
The men were clearly impressed with my well behaved Iditarod team and I sat up alittle straighter on my ATV.
He asked about the length of our run, number of dogs we had at home, and training methods before exchanging good wishes, shaking hands, etc.

I flicked the ATV back on and whistled up my professional and disciplined team. They leapt to their feet and surged into their harnesses.....
Well, that is all but my leaders did - and since I was busy 'showing off' I had failed to notice that Q and TopDog hadn't gotten back on their feet yet.
The 4 boys behind ran right over top of them, making a huge, tangled mess of the front of the team.
I jumped off the ATV and ran up front to make sure no disagreements broke out then started to undo the giant mess of Siberian macrame that the dogs had created.
So much for my slick, impressive departure.

As I leaned over Q to untangle his harness, I'm fairly certain I caught him winking at TopDog.

Glad the 'older' generation is teaching the 'younger' one how to keep me humble!!!

=) =) =) =)

Wednesday 23 November 2011


One of the reasons I love spending time in the woods is the fabulous quiet that surrounds you. The only sounds are normally the rustling of the leaves on the trees, birds and the odd chatty squirrel.

Not today though. Today the woods around here were filled with shrieking and yowling. The birds fled in terror and the squirrels had their little paws crammed in their ears.

What was causing this horrible disturbance in the forest you ask??

Perhaps you know Jack -

We were 'reacquainting' Jack with camping. It didn't go very smoothly...

"Some one PLEASE shut him up" suggested Runner




"No Crunchie, we cannot drown him in the lake"


Trust me, the pictures in NO WAY really convey the HORRIFIC noise that emanates from the soul of this grey monster when he wants to do something (like MOVE) that I won't let him. It is amazing that he can actually move his mouth so little and produce so much noise!!

"Yes, amazing"

For one hour and 45 minutes of our 2 hour break he shrieked. The last 15 minutes were BLISS!!!

Lucky for Jack he is good in harness!!

Tuesday 22 November 2011

My Day At The Office...

My uniform...

My co-workers...

Morning coffee break....

The Lunch Room....

Lunch ...

Back to Work...

Afternoon Coffee ...

A good day at 'the Office'.



PS. For the record, Bet was invited to come along. This was her reply...

Monday 21 November 2011

Chuchinka's San Antonio Rose - Kaylinn

Chuchinka's San Antonio Rose - Kaylinn
May 27, 1996 - November 21, 2011

I've told this story many, many times over the years, but this morning it really needs to be shared again.

In the summer of 2000 we acquired a nice 4 year old dog from our friends and mentors, Bob and Loreen Bridges of Chuchinka Kennels. "If she works out, she's yours....if not send her back". She worked out.

Although she hadn't even been harness broke when she came to live with us, she took to it she was bred for it - which of course she was.
I was thrilled, but didn't expect her to make the main string that first winter. She exceeded my expectations and did. But I didn't expect her to race with us in Alaska. Again, she exceeded by expectations. But I never expected she would make the Iditarod team. Guess what??? She did.
Not only did she make it, she finished - even leading for 2 legs of the race, although I had not spent any time training her as a leader.

Like yesterday I remember being camped in Eagle Island with my '01 team. Fourteen dogs were curled up in balls sleeping - one was standing up barking. That was Kaylinn. That was the day she became a lead dog.

Sadly, it wasn't  just yesterday, it was over 10 years ago. Where does time go??

This morning with the backdrop of a beautiful sunrise Kaylinn and I hit the 'trail' together for the last time as I loaded her in the van and headed to the vet.

For the last few years she hasn't been fond of being touched and we've been fairly respectful of that. This morning she leaned her forehead against mine as the vet fixed her catheter and I got to share one last special moment with a dear friend.


Saturday 19 November 2011

Cramping - Bet

Just in case you were wondering, I spelled the blog title correctly.

The Musher had been talking all week about going camping, and how wonderful it was, and all of the tasty things they cook out at the camp, and how peaceful and serene it was, and how it was essential to teach the Pretty Curly Tails how to camp and relax on the trail for the big Iditarod race, and blah blah, blah wonderful, you'll really like it Bet its soooooo much fun.


Ok, I was initially intrigued by the part where I got to assist in packing the tasty treat stuff, but was alarmed when no peanut butter was packed.  How can one survive in the wilds without peanut butter?  I was nearly frantic when we left without the waffle iron.  How can you survive without waffles?

Since we were dining al fresco, I wanted to wear my blue coat (it brings out  my furs) and matching blue booties, but we were suppose to be "roughing" it (without peanut butter and waffles) and Brittany said we would have a roaring camp fire and would be fine... its the LAST time I'm ever listening to Brittany.

The ride out to the camp was fine, nice warm heater in the truck and all.  Of course we were late because Mark just had to hit three stars on level 2-14 of Angry Birds Rio Smuggler's Den (whatever that is), and the Pretty Curly Tails beat us there.

They weren't happy about that because we had their food, so there was that whole tude from them about doing all the work and the LEAST you could do was get here on time, blah blah... prima donnas.

I don't know what they're complaining about, because before we even got the fire going we fed them, and at least they're covered in all that fluff when here I am, without my coat and booties running around in the snow making sure they got their stuff.

Hey!  Who has the truck keys?  I can't feel my toes!
Musher Mark started getting out campsite set up, which was a huge relief because that meant there would be warmth and a fire and tasty foods and stuff.

Then he yelled at me to get the firewood.  Um... excuse me?

I don't see the firewood truck coming down the road.
Apparently whoever arranged this whole camping thing didn't get the firewood order in on time because the truck never showed up.  This meant harvesting wood from fallen trees with an ax... I mean its like we were in the medieval days or something... like nobody could have pre-ordered wood on

Musher Mark chopped the wood, which is why I'm not writing about Brittany's visit to the hospital to reattach a leg, although we would have been back at civilization and warm buildings...

Pretty soon we had a roaring fire, and not a minute too soon because I'm pretty sure one of my toes fell off.

I fled to the safety of my blue chair (which would have perfectly matched my outfit if I hadn't been told we were "roughing" it), while everyone began to prepare our feast.

Can someone push my chair closer to the fire please?
Hot dogs were impaled on stick things and cooked over the fire.  It took forever... how did you people live before microwaves?  I mean seriously!

Hey, why are there only three hot dogs?
While I waited for dinner to be served, I figured I'd warm up my paws by sucking the body heat out of Musher Mark.

FINALLY the food was ready to eat.

Yes, I would like a bun, and some of the red stuff... not the yellow stuff, the red stuff
The red stuff... Brittany, the RED STUFF
Brittany, how many hot dogs are going to drop on the bench seat, those are yours, I'm not eating them.
 Finally she managed to get a dog in a bun, put the red stuff on, and ... hey.

Um, hello?  Did you forget something?
Yeah, that's better, although I would have preferred a plate, but I guess since we're "roughing" it.

As you probably guessed, by the time I got my food... it was cold.  Why bother burning it on the fire in the first place, I could have eaten hours ago!

After dinner I curled up with the Musher, who was sufficiently padded for the trail and a lot warmer than Musher Mark.

Thankfully the Pretty Curly Tails were restless and wanted to get moving again.  It helps that I bribed them with all of the hot dogs that Brittany dropped on the ground so they pretended to want to get home sooner than normal.

There was a problem with the ATV, but luckily I got to stay in the warm truck while they fixed it, and before too long I was back home and bundled in my blankets to try to raise my core temperature back to normal.

I hear there's plans for another "camping" trip soon... um, yeah, I think I'll pass on the next one, unless we can rent a camper with a microwave.

- Bet