Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The 2010 Iditarod Mushers

Here are the mushers that signed up at the volunteer banquet:

1 Matt Hayashida Willow AK

2 R Kurt Reich Divide CO

3 Ken Anderson Fairbanks AK

4 Ryan Redington Wasilla AK

5 R Jane Faulkner Kasilof AK

6 Lance Mackey Fairbanks AK

7 Karin Hendrickson Chugiak AK

8 R Nancy Yoshida Thompson ND

9 Jessie Royer Fairbanks AK

10 R Newton Marshall St. Anne Jamaica

11 R Quinn Iten Kotzebue AK

12 Sue Allen Wasilla AK

13 Lynda Plettner Houston AK

14 Cindy Gallea Seeley Lake MT Canada

15 Jeff Deeter Wasilla AK

16 Jim Lanier Chugiak AK

17 Robert Nelson Anchorage AK

18 Cim Smyth Big Lake AK

19 Jeff King Denali AK

20 Sven Haltmann Willow AK

21 Terry Adkins Sand Coulee MT

22 Ramey Smyth Willow AK

23 Michael Suprenant Chugiak AK

24 Hans Gatt Whitehorse YK Canada

25 Sonny Lindner Two Rivers AK

26 R Emil Churchin Anchorage AK

27 Kirk Barnum Seeley Lake MT

28 R Kim Darst Blairstown NJ

29 R Justin Savidis Willow AK

30 R Kathleen Frederick Willow AK

31 R Hank Debruin Haliburton Ontario Canada

32 Ross Adam Grande Prairie Alberta Canada

33 Linwood Fiedler Willow AK

34 Martin Buser Big Lake AK

35 Allen Moore Two Rivers AK

36 Mitch Seavey Seward AK

37 R Tamara Rose Fairbanks AK

38 Gerald Sousa Two Rivers AK

39 William Pinkham Glenwood Spring CO

40 R Scott White Woodinville WA

41 Dallas Seavey. Seward AK

42 Zack Steer Sheep Mtn. AK

43 R William Johnson Unalakleet AK

44 R Pat Moon Chicago IL

45 Sebastian Schnuelle Whitehorse YT Canada

46 Blake Frekking Finland MN

47 Fabrizio Lovati Brenua Italy

48 R Dave DeCaro Denali Park AK

49 R Michelle Phillips Tagish YT Canada

50 Zoya DeNure Gakona AK

51 Aliy Zirkle Two Rivers AK

52 Dee Dee Jonrowe Willow AK

53 Paul Gebhardt Kasilof AK

54 R Wattie McDonald Stonehaven Scotland UK

55 Karen Ramstead Perryvale AB Canada

56 R Chris Adkins Sand Coulee AK

57 Ray Redington Jr. Wasilla AK

58 John Baker Kotzebue AK

59 R Kristy Berrington Kasilof AK

60 Warren Palfrey Quesnel BC Canada

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Aily Zirkle Releases Her Iditarod 2009 Trail Notes

For a truly exciting and detailed first-hand tale of the Iditarod, check out Aily Zirkle's "Trail Notes" at the SP Kennel Dog Log.
She journals the entire race, checkpoint-by-checkpoint, detailing the stops along the way. From the personal logic behind each decision, to the descriptions of the obstacles along the way, this is an insider's view of the race that few outside of the participants ever get. Whether you're a professional musher looking for an edge, or an amateur hoping to learn, or a fan just wanting the entertainment, Aily's notes are required reading!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Dog Yard

The Mushing Loon Kennels dog yard is behind our house, 100 or so feet to the north. We can see it from our kitchen window above the sink, from the kitchen table, out of the basement sliding door and directly from our deck.

To the north is our windbreak, behind that is a cornfield and across that is the woods that we'll run in the winter. I chose this location to be close to the house and easily viewed from inside. Each dog has a tree to the SW to provide shade, plus they can dig at the base. There is room for four more dogs, one more in this row and then three could be in a row across from them.

I used some old water pipes we had on hand, and bought the rebar swivel from Cold Spot Feeds for their stake outs.

I made the single-sheet plywood dog houses with the plans from Jon Little.

Alice and Nicky can reach each other and have a nice big hole between them. I gave them a nice log to play with and they take turns pulling it across the hole to their individual circles.

Alice loves to run around her entire circle, while Nicky runs along this side of his, then hops around to jog back.

They can see the driveway when cars pull up and they can see to the farm dogs in their run out by the barn. With bird feeders nearby they can watch them, as well as stalk the chickens who come to feed beneath.

I have a fifty-foot zip line behind them between two trees that they can run around on for exercise. Alice does great free-running but Nicky won't return reliably, so he is limited to the zip line for now. I hope to build a larger fenced in area for them to run, time and money allowing.

It sure is heartwarming to look out and see sled dogs in the yard!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Great Mushing Media Sources

Here are some great sources of mushing (and other) images, videos, books and other resources that are seen and heard throughout the mushing world, as well as on The Loon's Mushing Report:

Muzzy Graphics
Jan DeNapoli has great photographs of mushing and other outdoor activities, plus she offers mushing tours and other adventures.

Northern Light Media
Owned by Mark and Helen Hegener, they provide race coverage, photos, and information about sled dog racing in Alaska, as well as producing books and videos, including “Appetite and Attitude: A Conversation with Lance Mackey,” the popular DVD with the champion musher.

Husky Productions
Veteran television producer Donna Quante has released the well-received "Pretty Sled Dogs" DVD about Iditarod veteran Karen Ramstead and her siberians, plus other mushing-related video projects, with more in the works.

A complete source for all types of mushing information, operated by Theresa Daily. News, race updates, photos and videos, and links, this is a comprehensive collection of information on all types of mushing and mushers.

Your time would be well spent perusing these fine websites, no matter what your interest or knowledge of mushing may be!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The First Run

I'd had Nicky and Alice for one week. We'd been getting along great. The weather in early May was still cool. We decided it was time for our first-ever run!
I get out the quad and the harnesses - this is gonna be great! The dogs are fired up, they want to go! I get them hooked up (Alice was a challenge, she can't stay still) at the quad, parked by the trailhead, twenty feet in front of us.

I had cut a short walking trail around an acre of mostly grass and weeds with a few trees and scrub brush - the "East Woods" as we hope it will become. It is crossed by a grassy waterway that runs a quarter mile down through a cornfield. "They will just follow any trail" I was told, and I think that the waterway "looks" like a trail. I fire up the quad and yell "Hike!" and the dogs pull completely to the side, around towards the back! So I go up and talk to them, and pull them toward the trailhead. A couple of false starts later (I am working on remaining calm) and we actually get moving! We make a fifty foot run and hit the junction with the waterway. "Haw" commands the dog driver. Straight run the sled dogs. I stop and pull them to the left. "Right here, let's go" I tell them. Eventually, we head down the waterway. Hmm, it's really wide and nothing like a trail, I realize. Part way down, we stop and I physically turn them around and we actually RUN back up to the East Woods trail! Yay, I'm a MUSHER! Sweet, this is fun! We go around the trail (they DO follow a trail) and come back to the waterway. "Haw" commands the driver, straight run the sled dogs. Time to jump off the quad and pull them to the "trail". This is a good workout for me, I'm working up a sweat already! Down the waterway, stop, drag them around, back to the trail. This is fun when we're running, but we need to work on our "Gee" and "Haw".
After about a mile and a half, I turn them around and we head back to the kennel. Hey, they'll run that way! We unhook and get petted and watered. I was a bit frustrated, I waited years to actually "mush" and it wasn't very smooth. Mrs. Loon reminds me that it is our first run and I knew that we will ALL be learning, but you know, I just wanted it to be easy!

Stay tuned for more later...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mushing Loon Video

Here's a short video from an early run when I had only recently got the dogs. I've sunce learned to shut up and let them run!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lance Mackey to Train Jamaican Dogsled Team

A press release posted on Mushing.com announces that 3-time Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey will train Jamaican Dogsled musher Newton Marshall, who finished the Yukon Quest in 2009, to run the 2010 Iditarod.

June 5, 2009
Press Release
Ocho Rios, Jamaica Three-time Iditarod and four-time Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey will be training Jamaica Dogsled Team musher Newton Marshall as he prepares to race the Iditarod in 2010.

“I was fortunate to have Hans Gatt train me over the past two years and help me finish the Yukon Quest” said Marshall. “Now I will get the chance to work with another champion – he has won three Iditarods! I know I can do this race.”

Marshall successfully completed the Yukon Quest last year in thirteenth place. He was awarded the Spirit of the North Award by the Race Officials of the Yukon Quest. Last week in Jamaica, Marshall was presented with a special award from the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce for his success in dog sledding and the whole team was there with him to celebrate.

“We are thrilled to be working with Lance Mackey’s Comeback Kennels as we prepare for the Iditarod,” said Danny Melville, President and team founder. “The new terrain, dog team, training races and style of Lance and his kennels will all help Newton as he prepares for the Iditarod.”

Marshall and sprint musher Damion Robb both have an impressive schedule of races planned for 2009-10 that will culminate with the Iditarod in March.

“We cannot wait to work with Newton,” said Tonya Mackey of Comeback Kennel, Inc. “He has shown his dedication to the sport of sled dog racing and we are excited to have the opportunity to get him ready for the Iditarod. Plus, we will get to show him some Alaskan hospitality!”

The team dogs in Jamaica are rescued from the streets or from the Jamaican Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (JSPCA). A portion of proceeds from the Jamaica Dogsled Tours and DVD sales on the team website benefits the JSPCA. The Jamaica Dogsled Team is sponsored by Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Chukka Caribbean Adventures, WestJet Vacations, Alpine Aviation and Annamaet Petfoods.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dog Trip

On Saturday, May 2nd, my wife, daughter and I drove 4 hours to Minneapolis. Got a room and went to the Mall Of America. (Ugh!) At about 9:30pm (Central time), Nicky and Alice were being dropped off at the Anchorage airport. Got a call from Greg saying they were delivered and on their way.
They landed in Minneapolis about 5:40am, about 15 minutes early. We were at the Northwestern Cargo office at about 6:45, as they said it would be about an hour until they would arrive there after landing. After 15 (nervous) minutes waiting, they were here! I signed some papers and backed my pickup to the loading dock. Pulling up on a forklift were the 2 carriers on a pallet. We quickly loaded them into my truck. Both dogs were nervous and growling. Nothing to do at that point but get them home as fast as possible!
About half an hour towards home, I received a call on my cell from the cargo office. You "forgot" the paperwork! What, after I signed the receipt, I asked if that was all I needed. Oh, the veterinary certificates and the Pedigrees were left behind. Did I want to turn around and get them? Oh, and add an hour and a half to the 4-hour drive home for the poor doggies who have been cooped up for 10 hours already? Can they mail them to me? We should be able to...
After we got out of town, we stopped at McD's for breakfast, and I talked to the dogs. Nicky was a little less bothered, and he accepted treats. Alice was quite concerned and wouldn't take the treats from me. But at least they had both settled down some.
Four hours later we arrived home in Iowa. I had their chains and houses set up and ready for them. We locked up the farm dogs (see earlier mushing posts) so there would be less distractions. Then came time to reach into a kennel and grab the growling dogs by their collar and pull them out! I knew to be calm and confident and Nicky came out easily, he was glad to get out of that box. Alice was more nervous (foreshadowing) and I had to be a bit more forceful with her. Once out, they were excited by all the smells! That evening, we took them for a walk around their new farm and we all got along fabulously!

These photos are from their first night with us. You can see they are still a little uncertain...