I sat down with Allen and asked him about his team of Yukon Quest Champions!
Firstly he said he was really proud of his team and how they responded to all the challenges in the race. Some have been there before, many times, others haven't had as much experience and he said they all performed really well.
Olivia is another "Golden Girl"; she's a good steady leader that takes commands well and will go through any situation when asked! That's why Allen will normally have her in lead at the end of the race or during any difficut situation.
Scruggs is a good steady leader, but not a loping leader. In the last three years he has been as steady as any dog in the kennel and is a very important member of the team; always.
Scout is a great leader also; he was up there with Quito over Eagle Summit. He has a lot of drive in him and focus which is important over 1000 miles.
Beemer is kind of a moody dog but he's not flamboyant and sometimes, Allen said, he can forget he's there! He's always steady and that's what you need for a race like this.
Chica is a quietly understated dog and was an essential part of the winning team. She was lunging at the harness to leave checkpoints and steady and strong. She is one of three "Spanish" dogs in this team (along with Quito and Nacho), all of them are awesome!
Allen was extremely disappointed to leave Scooter in Dawson. She is such a good cheerleader for the team and had performed strongly in the first half of the race. Scooter is still a young dog at three years and could potentially be another Quito in terms of "super-stardom". She eats very well, she's a FAST dog and she lopes a lot which sometimes can cause injuries - which it did this year. If we can keep her injury free she will be as dominant a team dog as Quito is a lead dog.
Puppet surprised Allen. He has always rated her as a really good sled dog and she and he have a strong bond but in this race she really came into her own, she ran better than she ever had and was the hardest pulling dog up hills as Allen has ever seen. She can be skittish and a bit temperamental (you can't raise your voice with her), as long as you stay happy she will give you her all.
I.V. didn't make it all the way this time. She is inexperienced at 1000 mile races and the lessons she learned will be really valuable for her very bright future. She definitely could be the future Quito: she is a talented leader, she's fast and she's an eater. In fact, she's a copy of Quito in her early years. She has an exciting future!
Biscuit is a star always! No one is as steady as Biscuit, nor has as much energy - after nine miles or 900 miles. When you say "are you ready?" he is jumping in the harness no matter what. He is one you can put into lead in challenging conditions and you know he will go, whatever is in front of him.
Tatfish is always fun to have around. He works so hard and provides such entertainment along the trail that Allen was sad to leave him behind in Pelly Crossing. He's Biscuit's brother and what you say about Biscuit you have to say about Tatfish. They have been steady for years now and have won many races for us. When you say "Are you ready?" they are going to go - always. Storms, water... it doesn't matter.
Willie is an outstanding team dog although he can lead the team if asked. This is the first long-distance race Allen has run Willie and he was "super great!"
Nacho another Spanish superstar! He has endless energy and is such a good natured fella, he is great to have on any team.