Team and Trail
Long distance sled dog races, or just trips by dogteam... My goal with this blog is simply to help support the history, spirit, passion and love for dog teams and the trails they run.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Knik 200

The Knik 200-Joe Redington Sr. Memorial Sled Dog Race was founded by Sally Welch of Eagle River, Alaska. The Knik 200 was and continues to be a valuable training race for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. It is held each year on the first weekend in January. Race starts at Knik Lake, mile 13, Knik Goose Bay Rd.

The Knik 200 is a limited class race for all Dog Mushers meeting the qualifications as set forth by the Knik 200 Race committee. The Knik 200 covers 200 miles and is an Iditarod sanctioned race.

This years race will have a 40 team limit... and as of 12/29/08 40 teams were signed up!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Gin Gin 200

The 2008 Gin Gin 200 coverage at the Northern Light Media Journal (multiple posts on the race).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Gin Gin 200

2008 Gin Gin race poster

The Gin Gin 200 is a 200 mile race along the snow-packed Denali Highway from Paxon Lodge to MacLaren River Lodge and back. The race site explains the name of the race:
The Gin Gin 200 is named after a remarkable dog who dominated a dog kennel for over 10 years. She was an inspiration both on the trail and in the dog yard. She was a dog with unswerving loyalty and stubbornness. She did not know” quit”. Her ability, drive and attitude should serve as an example to dog drivers everywhere.
Relevant links include general Race Information and Rules, the Mushers entered, and the Race Blog.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jodi Bailey wins Two Rivers Solstice 100

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that Chatanika musher Jodi Bailey won the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Solstice 100 from Pleasant Valley Store to Angel Creek Lodge and back this past weekend, edging out Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey by a mere two minutes. In the 2007 Gin-Gin 200, Bailey won the women’s division with the fastest overall time, finishing 20 minutes ahead of Lance Mackey’s winning time in the men’s division. Next weekend Bailey and Mackey are poised to duel it out yet again at the 2008 Gin-Gin 200 from Paxon Lodge to MacLaren River and return.

Musher's Tales: Sheep Mountain 150 Part 3

Jamaican musher Newton Marshall's blogger Susie Rogan had an interesting update and perspective on the Sheep Mountain 150:
It was like Sundance Film Festival of dog racing with mushers such as Jeff King (4 time Iditarod winner), Ken Anderson, Sebastian Schnuelle, Gerry Willomietzer, DeeDee Jonrowe (second place Iditarod), Aily Zirkle (1st place Yukon Quest), and Hans of course (3 times first place Yukon Quest and champion of many other races), etc. etc. Many were running this as a first race of the season, being careful and checking out their dogs under race conditions. The race could have been a lot more competitive if these people were giving it all they had, but they were preserving their teams for bigger races later in the season.
Also a great note about Newton's race effort:
Newton also could definately have gone a lot faster but instead ran a perfect race and finished with all his dogs in great shape. The race vet approached me and said, "In case I don't get a chance to talk to Hans and Newton, would you pass on to them that Newton looked extremely good out there. Very professional. He had his check point routine down almost perfectly. You could tell he was having to think, but he didn't miss a thing."
Mush, Mon!

Northern Light Media Journal

The Northern Light Media Journal site has been updated for the 2008-2009 racing season, and the new site starts out with a three-part slideshow of the Sheep Mountain 150, featuring many photos of the mushers and their teams in the starting chute which have not appeared on other sites.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Musher's Tales: Sheep Mountain 150 Part 2

Continuing the reports from Sheep Mountain mushers, Colleen (Cole) Robertia's blog has a lengthy entry detailing her adventures on the trail, including losing her brake and getting off the trail, then getting badly bitten by an entangled dog from another team:
Cole finished 13th out of the 50 mushers that started the event, which exceeded our own expectations given the talented field. Our goal was to place between 10 and 20th position, and we had expected to come in around 18th, so 13th place was a great feeling of accomplishment. Overall, the weather and course were pretty favorable. The highs were around minus 5 most of the time, and the mercury dipped to near minus 20 during the night leg of the race, which is almost perfect for the dogs to run in. In addition the full moon was out, so the night leg was well lit, and there must have been some sort of meteor shower that night too, because there were a million shooting stars.
Sebastian Schnuelle's Blue Kennels had five teams entered in the race, and his blog has a handful of Sheep Mountain-related entries:

With Sebastian there is also Ray Edwards and Mark Sleightholme at the Startline of the Sheep Mountain. The Sheep Mountain is a race over 150 miles (240 km) passing awesome landscapes. A beautiful day for the start of the 4th annual Sheep Mountain 150. Sunshine and a light wind helped the record 47 mushers get on down the trail today. Temperatures loomed between 5 above and minus 20°F (-15 to -30°C), depending on where you were standing.

And Jeff King reported from his Husky Homestead near Denali Park:
Just got back from a weekend mushing my rookie run of the Sheep Mountain 150. Boy do Zack and Anjanette Steer know how to put on a dog race! Extremely well organized, great trail, awesome weather, full moon, shooting stars and hot babes table-dancing in the bar. What more could a musher want? Our second year star handler Dave DeCaro also ran a team of 2 year olds in their first ever race ~ and fun was had by all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dog Gone Addiction

The International award winning film by Becky Bristow, 'Dog Gone Addiction,' has been has been shown at film festivals across North America and Europe and has won numerous awards and accolades including Best Adventure Film, Explorers Club film festival, New York; Best Adventure Sports Film, Taos Mountain Film Festival, New Mexico; Special Jury Award, Whistler Film Festival, British Columbia.

Dog Gone Addiction follows three women, Michelle Phillips, a young Canadian mother; Agata Franczak, a 48-year-old Polish adventurer and Kelley Griffin, Alaskan veteran, as they test their limits driving their dog teams through record cold temperatures and over icy mountain passes amid mental exhaustion in the 1000 mile Yukon Quest sled dog race from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Fairbanks Alaska. The film shows the women's struggles to overcome -60 dergee Celsius temps, exhaustion, sick dogs, mountain passes, and the remote wilderness of the Yukon and Alaska to achieve their goals of not just finishing but, racing the toughest sled dog race on earth. Included in the DVD are 55 minutes of extra features, commentary from racing legend Hans Gatt, and tons of footage showing all the characters that make up the Yukon Quest race.

There's a video clip from the film, and Dog Gone Addiction makes a great gift; order from Wild Soul Creations.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Musher's Tales: Sheep Mountain 150

As we come across websites and blogs of the mushers from the 2008 Sheep Mountain 150, we'll share the links and interesting excerpts:

Kasilof musher Jon Little shares his experiences at his Trail Notes blog:

My goal going into the race was to maintain a good, fast pace but not go overboard. I kept my pledge for the first leg, but had a tough time keeping my dogs’ speed down as we took off from the Eureka checkpoint for the second leg. It must have been about 11 p.m. and in the single digits below zero F, under a full moon. The dogs were amped. I was a few minutes behind Hans Gatt, Sebastian Schnuelle and Allan Moore, and 14 minutes behind the leader, Jessica Hendricks.

Jamaican musher Newton Marshall's site sports a victory picture and warm congratulations:
Newton placed 21st out of 48 in the 150 mile Sheep Mountain race held this past weekend in Alaska. Big smiles and huge congrats go out to Newton for his accomplishment........Folks at home are so proud of you Newton!
There's a quick note from Zoya DeNure at her Crazy Dog Kennel Journal:
We're here at the Sheep Mountain 150 sled dog race, parked quietly on a plowed road about 13 miles from the start watching teams go by....hard to sit and just watch!
Zoya, John Schandelmeier and their baby girl Jona were on their way home from Anchorage the opening day of the race...

Got a link to a Sheep Mountain 150 musher's site or blog? Send it to - and thanks!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jessica Hendricks wins Sheep Mountain 150

Judy Currier of Fairbanks, Alaska at the Sheep Mountain 150 on Saturday, Dec. 13. Photo: Helen Hegener

The Go Mush site reported the Two Rivers musher Jessica Hendricks won the Sheep Mountain 150 at 12:30 pm Sunday:
...with 11 strong dogs and a smile on her frosted face.
An article by Jillian Rogers in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner also reported Hendricks' win:
The 26-year-old Iditarod veteran won the race with a total running time of 12 hours, 52 minutes, beating out Allen Moore of Two Rivers by six minutes and Whitehorse, Yukon’s Hans Gatt, who was just two minutes behind Moore. Kasilof’s Jon Little was a minute behind Gatt, the three-time Quest winner. Jeff King, who has won the Iditarod four times was fifth in his first Sheep Mountain 150 with a total time of 13:17.
The News-Miner article reported more about Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt:
Gatt is mentoring Jamaican musher Newton Marshall with the goal of getting the rookie dog driver through the Yukon Quest in 2009. Marshall entered the Sheep Mountain race with some of Gatt’s top dogs for more practice before the 300-mile Copper Basin in January and the Quest in February. Marshall finished the 150-miler in 21st place.
Complete race statistics for the Sheep Mountain 150 are available at the Go Mush site, and photos of the race are available at Go Mush, with additional photos in separate albums from photographers Helen Hegener and Donna Quante.

Sheep Mountain 150 Dogs

Photos from the Sheep Mountain 150 start, December 13, 2008.
All photos ©2008 by Helen Hegener, Northern Light Media.
All rights reserved.

Great Expectations!

Bootying up!

Gerry Willomitzer's leaders waiting patiently

Ryan Redington's wheel dogs

Jeff King's dogs

More Jeff King dogs

Handler with Mark Sleightholme's dogs

Robert Bundzten's leaders

Robert Bundzten's dogs

Kris Boyer's Alberta leaper

Michael Suprenant replacing a bootie

Clint Warnke's team moving to the start line

Two of Nancy Yoshida's dogs

Hans Gatt's team ready to go

Blake Matray's team arrives unassisted

Dallas Seavey's serious workers

Berhard Wiljes Yukon stylin'

Yearling teammates left behind

Hey! What about me?

The Sheep Mountain 150 Start

Sheep Mountain Lodge, Glenn Highway

View looking south across the Glenn Highway

Mountains behind the lodge

The Lodge

Bib #1, signed by the mushers

Lodge's holiday decor

The Sheep Mountain 150 starting point

Banner close-up

Gerry Willomitzer leading out

Team safely out onto the trail

Dressed for the occasion

Smallish spectator

A handwarmer keeps the starting watch warm

Watching the departure

All photos ©2008 by Helen Hegener, Northern Light Media.

Sheep Mountain 150

Ken Anderson, photo by Helen Hegener

Initial reports from the Go Mush news team on the start of the Sheep Mountain 150 provided news, numerous photos and a race update scoreboard:
Mushers started rolling into Eureka Lodge, 50 miles, at 5 pm today, with Jessica Hendricks in first place, Sebastian Schnuelle second, and Allen Moore third. As of 8:54 pm all mushers arrived at Eureka for their first 5 hour layover. Trail breaker Stan Smith said "the trails are in great shape this year, we have a good amount of snow for the mushers, and we are out there working on them to be sure they are well marked and trouble free."
In an article titled "Hendricks leads Sheep Mountain 150 pack," with the subtitle "Schnuelle, Moore, Gatt and Little are right behind," the Anchorage Daily News staff noted:
The talented young Hendricks has finished as high as 15th in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Two years ago, she finished second at Sheep Mountain, just 21 minutes behind winner Lance Mackey.
Initial photos from the race start can be found at the Go Mush gallery, and discussion of the race is going on at the Go Mush forum.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Go Mush

Theresa Daily's new Go Mush website offers many great features to help fans and mushers "Stay on Track," including race reports, breaking news and frequent updates from around the sled dog racing community. Recent posts include a report on the many long distance mushers headed to this weekend's race season opener, the Sheep Mountain 150, and a previous update on the Yukon Quest Trail conditions by Quest Trail Coordinator John Schandelmeier:
The latest updates on the Quest trail are not all good news. The Yukon River from just above Eagle downriver to near Circle is jumbled badly. Schandelmeier later notes: ...the current concensus is that the River can't be done without several feet of snow.
Also available at the dynamic new Go Mush site: a new Forum for discussion of mushing and the many upcoming sled dog races, an events calendar, musher profiles, memorial tributes, the history of mushing, product and gear reviews, mushing-related links, and much more.

Go Mush and stay on track this racing season!

ADN: Sheep Mountain 150 is Back

The Anchorage Daily News posted an article by Kevin Klott, "Sheep Mountain race is back," which details this weekend's 150 mile race from Sheep Mountain Lodge to Eureka Lodge and back. The Sheep Mountain 150 was cancelled last year due to minimal snow conditions, but this year the snowfall has been good and the trails are ready for the largest field of mushers in the race's four year history:
The field includes big-name mushers such as four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King of Denali Park, perennial top-10 Iditarod finishers DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow and Ken Anderson of Fox and three-time Quest champion Hans Gatt of Canada. Missing is two-time Iditarod champion and four-time Quest winner Lance Mackey -- the 2006 Sheep Mountain champion.
Klott's article includes a listing of the mushers entered.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yukon Quest article

In an article headlined "Anderson enters the 1000-mile sled dog race for second time," the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner feature writer Matias Saari outlines the racing field for the upcoming 2009 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, which starts Feb. 14 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

The article focuses on newest entrants Ken Anderson and Jason Mackey, noting:
...Anderson needs to determine a race goal, which requires solving a dilemma: Does he use the same dogs for both 1,000-mile events, in which case he’d hold something in reserve during the Quest, or does he race separate teams and mush more aggressively from Whitehorse to Fairbanks...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pioneering Breeder Eva "Short" Seeley

There's an interesting article by Matthew Schenker at the blog, The Dog Writer, detailing the life of pioneer Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute fancier Eva "Short" Seeley:
Among her numerous achievements, Ms. Seeley forever changed the look of Siberian Huskies, and she was directly responsible for AKC acceptance of the Alaskan Malamute. She owned the first champions in both these breeds, and she founded both national breed clubs. For decades, Seeley was an unofficial gatekeeper of the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute, and her approval was essential for any breeder who wanted to be taken seriously.
Schenker relates the events surrounding the 1925 Great Serum Run, and how Eva Seeley and her husband, Milton, would have followed the tales of Leonhard Seppala and Togo, and Gunnar Kaasen and Balto, as they delivered the serum to halt the diphtheria epidemic. He writes:
Interviewed for a February 3, 1925, New York Times article, Kaasen described how a blizzard made it impossible for him to see either the trail or his dogs. “A gale was blowing from the northwest. I gave Balto, my lead dog, his head and trusted him. He never once faltered. Balto knew the way we were going.” The circuit of racers and dogs completed their historic run in just five days. Normally, this distance took three weeks for sleds carrying mail or supplies into Alaskan mining towns. On February 6, 1925, Senator Clarence Dill of Washington State led the United States Senate in entering the extraordinary facts of the Serum Run into the Congressional record. In his speech, Dill contrasted the Serum run with all previous races, stating, “Men had thought that the limit of speed and endurance had been reached, but a race for sport and money proved to have far less stimulus than this contest in which humanity was the urge and life was the prize.”
Schenker's article outlines an important part of Alaskan Malemute and Siberian Husky history, from how the Seeleys acquired Toto, the daughter of Seppala’s famous lead dog Togo, and how Toto helped form the foundation of Seeley’s Siberian Husky line; to how, in 1935, the AKC officially recognized the Alaskan Malamute, primarily through Seeley’s efforts.
Eva Seeley came of age in a day when Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes existed in relative obscurity, and she was one of the few who believed that these dogs could excel not only at sledding matches but also at dog shows and in people’s homes. Through absolute love and tireless dedication, Seeley saw Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes become recognized and loved throughout the country.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Libby Riddles Riding the Rose Parade Float

Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, will ride a dogsled on Alaska's 50th anniversary of statehood float. The float, designed and created by Fiesta Parade Floats, is slated to appear in the famous New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, and will feature five large masks made of flowers, moss and dried blueberries, representing the five cultural groups in Alaska.

Libby Riddles won the 1985 Iditarod, making race history as she became the first woman to win after a bold move across Norton Sound in a whiteout blizzard. Libby was honored by Iditarod veterinarians with the 1985 Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for the treatment of her dogs, and her lead dogs, Dugan and Sister, also won the 1985 Golden Harness Award.

The theme for the 2009 Rose Parade is Hats Off to Entertainment: a collection of the world's greatest entertainers, both past and present. The parade route is 5.5 miles long, and there are generally 45 to 50 floats, each , 20 or more marching bands, and many equestrian teams. Each float is around 60 feet long and many feature computer-driven hydraulics and animation, while the surface of each float is covered entirely with natural materials such as flowers, seeds, bark and leaves.

The first Tournament of Roses parade was staged in 1890, patterned after the "Battle of Flowers" in Nice, France. More than 1 million spectators are expected to line the parade route through Pasadena, with more than 40 million television viewers.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Patch for Lance Mackey's Zorro

A new fund-raising patch for Lance Mackey's Comeback Kennel focuses on the famous Zorro, stud dog extraordinaire and the victim of Lance's unfortunate encounter with a snowmachine at the end of last spring's All Alaska Sweepstakes race in Nome.

Designed by Mackey fan and textile wizard Sarida Steed-Bradley, of San Antonio, Texas, this unique patch will be a collector's item for any mushing enthusiast! They can be ordered for $10.00 each, postpaid, shipped via U.S. Postal Service, and approximately $7.00 of each patch order goes to support the Comeback Kennel's 2009 racing season. To place your order simply send a personal or business check or money order to: Sarida Steed-Bradley, 115 Wickes Street, San Antonio, Texas 78210-1160. Be sure to include the number of patches you'd like and your mailing address. Pay Pal account:

The Larry Appreciation Patch, honoring Lance's intrepid long-time leader and the only dog to win the Golden Harness Award for both the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest, is still available in limited numbers, also for $10.00 each postpaid. Join the fun, show off these beautiful patches and support the 2007 and 2008 Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion teams!

Susitna Story

Selected by a pre-screening jury for inclusion in the Anchorage International Film Festival is the animated Susitna Story: An Alaskan Sled Dog Saga, by Peter Dunlap-Shohl.

Said Sal, "As if! Be serious! I'll race you out of pride. No true Alaskan dog team fears a team that's from Outside."

73 Mushers for Iditarod 37

The Iditarod Trail Committee announced December 5, 2008 that 73 mushers have signed up to run the 2009 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The most recent mushers to sign up are Iditarod Race Veterans Bill Cotter from Nenana, Alaska; Eric Rogers from Eagle River, Alaska; and David Sawatsky from Healy, Alaska . At this time 17 rookies are entered in IDITAROD XXXVII.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas - Iditarod Version

'Twas The Night Before Christmas - Iditarod Version

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the dark,
Not an athlete was stirring, not even one bark!

The harnesses were hung on the dog rack with care,
In hopes that Lance Mackey soon would be there.

The mushers all seated in the snack bar nearby,
While visions of Fourth Street danced in their eye.

And Martin in his parka, just in from Big Lake,
Had just settled down for a long coffee break.

When out in the kennel there arose such a scream,
That Martin, at the table, knocked over the cream!

Away to the lobby, he flew like an eagle,
Tripped over his mukluks, his face in a giggle.

The shine on the ice, from a recent deep freeze,
Gave a luster of bad trails - this race is no breeze!

When what to all eyes should so wonderously quicken,
But a great big dog sled, dogs waggin' and lickin' !

With a cute bearded musher, as if in a trance,
That I knew in a moment it must be our Lance!

More rapid than blizzards, by trailside he came,
And he whistled and shouted, and called dogs by name!

Now Larry, now Hobo, now Hansome and Dred,
On Zorro, on Lippy, on Rapper, they sped...

To the end of the kennel, to the sides to and fro,
Now slip o'er the ice and a'truckin' we go!

As mushers before an Iditarod high,
When they dream of a smooth trail right up to the sky....

So up to the rafters the dogs, they all flew,
The dog sled, the athletes and Lance Mackey too!

And then in a twinkle was heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing, it sounded like "Woof!" !

As the mushers were startled, and were turning around,
From the chimney Lance Mackey came down with a bound!

He was dressed all in fur, and had left his boots on,
When he slipped on some dog poop, his grace was all gone!

A bundle of bones he had flung on his back,
But they shot 'cross the room when his body went SMACK!

His eyes, they were spinning, his brain a bit more,
His cheeks were both frozen, when hitting the floor!

His droll little mouth let out such a shout,
That the mushers all trembled, and quickly ran out!

The line of a harness ended up in his teeth,
And a tug line encircled his head like a wreath!

He had a thin face and a little flat belly,
That shook when he fell like a bowl full of jelly!

He was lanky and lean, and a little bit brass,
And they laughed when they saw him fall right on his a-- !

With a blink of his eye, and a lump on his head,
He spoke not a word - I thought he was DEAD!

He spoke with a mumble, but got up with a bolt,
He couldn't see the mushers, he took such a jolt!

Laying a bootie aside of his nose,
And giving a shudder, to the roof top he rose.

He sprang to his dog sled, and gave it a shout,
With a gee and a haw, they really dug out!

But I heard him exclaim as he flew full of bluster,
"I'll be back next year, 'cause I'm suing you, buster!"

by Walt Tremer

With Apologies to Martin Buser, Lance Mackey and Clement C. Moore (and with special appreciation to Walt Tremer for his kind permission to share this!)