Champ was the most proud and vocal member of the 2nd place Red Team, so he would like to share his personal Race Recap. Here it is… the Red Team Wrap-up from Champ’s Perspective:

“A fast and hilly 200 hundred mile race might seem like it was a bit tough, but it was honestly a piece of cake… for me at least. The rest of the team did fairly well and Aliy seem to be able to navigate the trails somewhat successfully. She did break her sled on the second leg but I guess she said that a tree just came out of no where?!? I do believe that if I had been in lead, I could have gained a few minutes on that speedy Will Rhodes’ team. But… hey… that wasn’t my call.

“Our leaders were fairly fast and steady. For some reason, Aliy decided that Dutch (he’s my half brother on my Dad’s side) was going to be the main leader. Dutch has never been a main leader and as far as I know, he’s only bumped up into this command position about a month ago. But, I guess she decided he could do it. He ran all 200 miles in lead – passed many teams quite well, but didn’t always know Gee from Haw. (I have to be truthful… those two commands get me confused from time to time as well.)

Izzy was the other leader for the first half of the race. (She’s my first cousin and super cute!) She seemed to really enjoy the speed in the hills and got excited about seeing new trails. Izzy sat out the last race (so did I) so she was excited to be an important part of this race team. She wasn’t quite up to leading at such a fast pace for the second half, so Aliy moved her farther back in the team and bumped Commando up to Izzy’s spot.

Commando… yeah, well. He kinda thinks he’s the bomb. I mean, yeah, I get it. He did run Iditarod last year when all the rest of us youngsters didn’t get to go. But, he’s kinda a pretty boy, if you ask me. (He’s my half brother too and we’ve never really seen eye to eye.) Aliy seems to trust him in lead and he and Dutch share a similar gait. So, I guess he did pretty well, but don’t tell him I said that.

Lydia is seriously a pipsqueak. I don’t think she knows she’s that small. I could probably see over her if she were standing on top of herself. Anyhow, she ran in the swing position and added a great deal of pep and speed to the team. She always screams to go and rallies at the drop of a hat. The trails were very hard packed — like an ice skating rink — so she got a tiny bit of a sore wrist. She tried to convince Aliy to let her finish the race, but Aliy said that there are more important races in the future. So, the Race Veterinarian ~ Dr. Mercedes (cool name, huh?) ~ examined Lydia, scribbled on some papers and then Wendy walked her to the Dog Truck at the Angel Creek Checkpoint. I’m sure glad I didn’t have to go — what a bummer!

Chipper is somewhat annoying, but everyone seems to LOVE her. I don’t get it. I live next to her in the yard and she’s always yelling at me and circling like a crazy dog. I don’t think she knows what tired is. Anyhow, Chipper started the race in wheel and slowly she made her way farther and farther up towards the front. Chipper is actually a lead dog but for some reason Aliy kept saying she wanted to give some of the rookies a chance to lead during this race. So, Chipper finished the race in swing – although I’m pretty sure she whispered a few suggestions to Dutch and Commando towards the end.

Spark (left, getting straw from Aliy) was a steady team dog and also good in swing.

He’s a little dopey and tends to bother a lot of the other dogs. That’s because he likes to play when we are supposed to be sleeping. I even saw Aliy lay him down on his straw bed so that he understood S-L-E-E-P. Like I said… dopey. He’s my half brother too, so I can say that.

Spark has an incredibly fast trot (almost as good as mine!)

Mac was on my team which was wayyyyy cool. I’ve never been on a team with him. He’s really talented and super strong. I’m not sure there’s any other dog as strong as him at the kennel – well… except my Dad. Anyhow Mac seems to get kinda overheated now and then but he dips a lot of snow and cools off after we’ve been running for a while. This was a good race for him because Aliy seemed pretty happy about Mac’s finish.

I was surprised to find Sissy on my team too. She’s always been a super cutey. I was really hoping that I would get to run next to her but Aliy put her and Mac together. I think maybe they are boyfriend and girlfriend. She is a real worker and can run with super speed.

Nomex is a big lug. He’s got all these big muscles and a big head. He sure has a lot of power in the hills and I try my earnest to keep up with him. I guess the hard packed trails made him just a little sore too. After Aliy massaged him, she decided he should finish the race in the dog truck instead of on the team. I have to admit that last 65 mile leg was a doozy, so maybe she was right about that. I saw him playing with Violet in the yard today… so I guess he’s good to go.

Iron and I ran together for the whole 200 miles. He’s a year older than me but we really have about the same experience. I probably have more to be honest. He actually got in trouble at the Race Start when he decided to chew his harness – even I know we aren’t supped to do that! Iron and I worked super hard for all 200 miles and it was exciting to finish strong right next to him.

Sandy (right with Chipper) is a shy, quiet gal. She never really gets the attention that the others seems to. I wonder why that is – she’s super pretty, smooth and works like a champion.

I heard Aliy talking about her at the halfway point and I guess Sandy has really been impressing her this season. Maybe she’ll get the recognition she deserves this season.

We took the team on a stretch-out run after the race and captured some of it on video. Champ added his comments.

22 Responses

  • Great report Champ – what talented dogs at SP Kennel!!!

    Woof, woof, woof!!! Awesome finish and 2nd place!!!

    And an interesting insight into what dogs might be thinking, too!!!

    Thanks so much, Champ and your recording secretary!

  • A nice tongue-in-cheek report. I can appreciate his candid view of the other dogs and appreciate his envy, but crafty assessment of his team members. I am glad the other dogs have a chance to shine in lead .. so much talent, so few races!

  • Champ has been a favorite ever since the post in last year's Iditarod of those that were holding down the fort. He sure has lots of opinions on the other dogs at his young age. The music in the video is great too! And YES, it is beautiful there in Two Rivers. I had a good laugh at the comment about the fact Champ could see over Lydia if she was standing on top of herself. Thanks Champ for the very informative report.

  • Loved hearing from Champ! What an interesting way to recap the race. I continue to be impressed with the way you manage your dogs, who are obviously so willing and happy. My granddaughter, a 9 year old in Zimbabwe, is a Red Team sponsor and is enjoying following the teams this season! Thanks for all the information and sense of belonging it provides.

  • Awesome wrap up report Champ!! I love it when a dog takes over the Dog Log….it's a great perspective and chuckle for us Fans! I think I saw a glimpse of Nomex's odd gait on the run to the store….yes, dizzying as compared to the other smooth runners! Hey, it works for ya Nomex you go buddy! Nicely run race Red Team!!

  • Talented dogs, talented people!

    In the video, is that Nomex in team, just in front of the wheel dogs (on the right)? I'm looking for the odd gait you mentioned in an earlier post.

    SOOOO looking forward to the Quest! These awesome posts are the main reason I'm a huge SPK fan!

  • Thanks for the wrap up on the race Champ. I'm guessing you didn't run behind Nomex in the race or we would have heard about it. Loved the video, especially the 2nd half, where I got to see Nomex's swagger. Cute!

  • Thanks for Champ's commentary – obviously he enjoys training Aily and his partners-in-harness. The video (and music) of the run to Pleasant Valley store made my whole work day…..Hope the broken sled gets healed and future runs/races get Champ's seal of approval. GOOOD DAWGS!!!

  • Now that I have stopped laughing, I would like to say "THANKS" to all the mushers and staff at SP Kennel for so openly sharing and including us in your awesome lives. This was a great, great recap too. I really appreciate feeling a "part of" this tremendous kennel. I am saving every week to travel to the Iditerod in 2017 and you can bet I will be a LOUD supporter of SPK.

  • Champs Mom Spicey is a special friend of SP Kennel Crew, and lives in NZ – she must be so proud of Champ's reportage!!!

  • Just when I thought it couldn't any better, here comes this post.

    Love that Champ doesn't think there's any dog stronger than his dad. Sweet. I know the feeling, buddy.

  • Woof woof woof woof that's Denali 🐾🐾 thanking champ for his view of his teams performance we just ❤️ It . Denali thought he was running with the team with the picture Champ painted of his running mates 😄. Denali and Joanne 🇦🇺

  • Okay, Champ! Sounds like you are living up to your name here. Good on ya, boy. You keep going and help Aliy win some more, okay? I am counting on you and the rest of the gang. I know you all can do an AWESOME job. SPK is just that great.

  • Awesome report Champ. You are wise beyond your years. Tell Aliy to let you write all the race recaps. Thanks.

  • Thank you for the adorable and believable Red team wrap up!
    Everyone looks fantastic for the stretch out too.
    Watch for trail markers when you dip Sandy.

  • Always so much to learn here, so many perspectives and always always so many wagging tails. It just brightens my day day to watch.

  • Champ is such a good writer! thanks Champ and assistants for a great rewind of the race. your assessment of your teammates might be a bit biased but very revealing. I think you had better throw Chipper an extra treat tonight for not telling her side of the yard story though. Love candid side of the race as well. We all know it can be pretty seriously treacherous out there.
    Thanks to the team for all the wrapups.
    Fairbanks and Chipper's sponsor!

  • Champ you have a future as the spokesdog! It's true Sissy has a Mac crush. Thanks for taking us along on your stretch out….more in the future please!!

    Getting Yukon quest fever here.


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