SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

ID: Black Team Wrap-Up

I sat down the Allen to hear a wrap-up of the Black Team's Iditarod. Overall he thought they were a great team, he enjoyed running with them and was proud of what they achieved. Allen had hoped he could have pushed a little harder to give the youngsters the idea but with the trail conditions as they were he found when he did he could tell it was getting a little hard on them so he backed off a bit. He wanted the race to be a fun and pleasant experience for them and he thinks he accomplished all those goals. Hopefully next year some of them will be in the number one team.

The Black Team runs up Front Street towards the finish line. Photo by Tom V. Jamgochian of Nome, used with permission

BEEMER - He started out in the middle of the team. Coming off the Quest he was a little dreary however with the more conservative run/rest schedule in the Black Team he started to shine more as the race went on. Eventually he got put up into the leaders spot for the last 300-400 miles and he did an exceptional job. It was nice to see him back to his best.

DINGLE - He started out in lead with high hopes and he did really well until he developed a slight limp going from McGrath to Takotna. Allen hoped that the 24 hour layover and frequent rub down massages would cure his ailment but when leaving Takotna he started limping a bit again so Allen dropped him in Ophir just 22 miles later.

VIPER - It's really good to see Viper in the second team because he, like his brother Beemer, shined with the run/rest schedule planned for the youngsters in the team. He was in lead off and on throughout the race and did an excellent job.

RAMBLER - Another of the Car Litter (with Beemer and Viper) and he acted just like his siblings. They are all similarly talented and he also ran in lead quite often. He did great and he ate well which has been an issue for Rambler in the past.

LESTER - At the start of the race he was definitely a "middle of the team" dog. He's a dog you can forget about when racing because he doesn't do anything crazy like go off to the side and is not vocal - you never know he's there. When the "Car Litter siblings" were in lead and bobbing off to the left or right (we all know how much Viper loves to keep left) Allen ended up putting Lester in lead. He was the most steady of them all and nothing bothered him. He ran the last 400 miles over tricky parts of the trail in lead and finished in lead up Front Street in Nome. It was a big moment for him - watch the video (click here) - he looks so proud!

SCOOTER - She probably has the most potential of the whole dog team. She is definitely the fastest, most energetic and most vocal - she is more of a cheerleader than any other dog - but sometimes her speed and energy get her in trouble. She wasn't in top form in the weeks before the race (hence she wasn't picked for the Red Team) and being so energetic and loping so much she ended up injuring her shoulder. She made it 250 miles and would have kept going as she has such a big heart but Allen left her in Rohn for her own good.

OUTLAW - He was the biggest surprise! He was a pleasant surprise in that he hasn't finished a race since the Solstice 100 back in December yet his brother Clyde is very accomplished. Outlaw came through and ran his first 1000 mile race. He ate well, was steady and Allen could ask no more of him. He has a huge future and he's only two years old.

BORIS - He is one of our biggest dogs. He ran very very well which pleasantly surprised Allen. He hasn't run Boris too much in training so he hadn't seen him run that often. He was really steady however at some time from Nikolai to McGrath he overheated a little and became unwell and that was the end of the race for him. The vets out on the trail and back in Anchorage were awesome and he was back to being "Boris" shortly after.

MISMO - He was one of three Biscuit/Quito pups on Allen's team and he, along with siblings, is definitely the future of the kennel. He is two years old and finished his first 1000 mile race with flying colours. He was ready to run again just a day after arriving in Nome. It is a changing of the guard with his father Biscuit as he's getting a little older and his youngsters are moving into his place.

FELIX - He is definitely Biscuit all over again. A lot of times during training runs they ran side by side and we couldn't tell them apart. He resembles Biscuit in looks and acts more like him than any other dog which is great as Biscuit is one of the best dogs we've ever had.

IZZY - She is another Biscuit/Quito pup and Allen believes she is going to be a great leader. She led for the first time ever for a few miles during the race. She wasn't so confident to be up there so Allen put her in the swing position and she stayed there to learn to be a leader for the remaining 700 miles. A dog has to have a lot of drive to be in swing position and she has all that. She is definitely taking after her Momma.

BONITA - She is one of the "Mexicans" (Quito, Nacho, Chica and Bonita) and they are all exceptionally talented. Bonita has finished the Iditarod with Allen many times and she's rock steady. She didn't let Allen down at all.

Bonita and Tug

TUG - Tug-boat is one dog that Allen hasn't run much in training and has never run her in a race. Recently she hasn't finished a few races due to cramping but Allen was thrilled with how well she ran 1,000 miles. He had no concerns with her and she was spot on the whole race.

PUPPET - Puppet-dawg has been really good in recent past races but this year in the Quest she was feeling sub-par and never really pulled like Allen knows she can. However, that being said she had a huge turnaround on this year's Iditarod and she pulled harder than any dog, especially up hills. She even screamed going up the hills which scared Allen at first as he thought she had really hurt herself. She was just "in the moment" and Allen was really glad to see she was back to her normal, healthy and talented self.

Puppet and Tatfish

TATFISH - He has done everything a dog possibly can do at SP Kennel; he is eight and he and his brother Biscuit have run every single race we've done and he's finished most. However this year his age has finally started to get to him (as it does with people). He developed a slight wrist problem and Allen wrapped it at each checkpoint as a precaution but finally had to drop him 500 miles into the race. Allen was really sad to leave him behind.

FANG - If Allen could say one word about Fang it would be "steady". He was steady running, eating, resting and in attitude also. He's only four years old and he's finished three Iditarods so is a good dog. Good boy!


Margaret said...


Thanks so much for the word on how the Black Team made out in the infamous Iditarod XLII.

The detail provided for each and every member of the team (4-legged) was perfect!!!

Passing on knowledge from generation to generation is a great plan!

That's family life!

Holly Freeman said...

thanks for taking the time to let us hear how these fine team members shone on the trail!

Nessmuk said...

Great to hear the 3 Biscuit//Quito pups did well....it will be fun watching these three grow up at SPK! I also enjoyed seeing Bonita in the mix and relieved to hear Puppet is back to her ole self!! Ok....Ill admit.....I love ALL SPK dogs...young and old...or rather inexperienced and seasoned (funny how words matter the closer ya get to 50)! It's unfortunate dogs age faster than humans....but its cool watching the dynamics. Like hearing how they pass on the knowledge of the race to the "inexperienced" pups....it's impossible to teach a pup how to be seasoned...hence the value of running a 2nd team....they must learn SO much!! Great job SPK....Allen is an awesome trainer!! Make it FUN!!

Dryden Family said...

Thank you so much for the race wrap up with details on every dog. We are so proud of 'our' Rambler dog and the rest of the team. We truly appreciate all of the updates and our boys have been thrilled to share a little bit of the Iditarod with their classmates in Oregon!

Anonymous said...

Great wrap-up! Love reading about all the dogs and very happy to hear Rambler had a good race...he is getting to be a popular pooch!
Thanks for including us in all your journeys!

Lourdes, VT said...

Hi guys, thank you for the detailed re-cap of the Black Team performance on this past Iditarod!

I can see how much Allen loved and respected every dog on his team. And it is also very rewarding to see how the older dogs pass their skill and experience to the young ones!

You, mushers, dogs, handlers, crew and volunteers are absolutely amazing!!!!

Anonymous said...

Impressive that four two year olds crossed the finish line with Allen.
If Biscuit and Tatfish have to take a back seat to the three year olds next year, it will be Biscuits own fault for finding Quito so darn cute!
Awesome job Allen and SPK Black team.

Lourdes, VT said...

Hi Guys, it's me again, and I am very curious about something, how did Tatfish get his name??
He is an adorable pup and, for the life of me, I cannot find any fish with that name..... Would somebody tell me how did he get his name... please??
Thank you guys!!!!����

Leanna said...

Great job Outlaw! Lady and I knew you could do it! She's sending you a great big "woof!".