What a night! Congratulations to all the award winners and finishers in the 2016 Iditarod!

Once again the culinary team from the Lakeside Hotel in Anchorage put on a delicious and plentiful meal – their white and milk chocolate dipped strawberries are legendary.

At the start of the Award Ceremony, Race Judge Karen Ramstead, who was the judge in Nulato, asked Aliy and Jeff to the stage as the wonderful people of Nulato wanted to present beautiful pair of beaver mitts made by Cesa Sam of Huslia, and an apology. Aliy said there was absolutely no apology necessary – she has mushed those trails for over 20 years and will continue to do so.

I think Aliy was the only one in the room surprised when she was awarded the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for exemplary care of her dog team during the race. Aliy said that she couldn’t have good dogs on this race unless she got the dogs from Allen (from the Quest) in great condition, so she shared the award with him. It was really so moving and thrilling to hear her name read out as the winner.

After the other special awards we got to hear from every finishing musher. That’s my favourite part of the evening as we hear stories from the trail: of camaraderie and friendship, of competition and challenges. A number of mushers acknowledged Allen’s sportsmanship firstly helping get their dogs teams across the open water then lending a sled to a Ed Steilstra who broke his in Unalakleet. Allen talked about Quito and how well she led the youngsters over the trail.

Aliy congratulated Dallas on his win, acknowledging that although he makes it look easy, she knows it is not and that she appreciates his work ethic, competitive spirit and how he strives to improve, even though he is the best. She joked how after the events on the river she decided to be “un-Aliy-like” and hide from people so tried to choose inaccessible camping spots – she really thought the camp on the pack ice would do it. She also thanked Karen Ramstead and Mark Nordman as well as all her family and friends.

32 Responses

  • Siting here in Melbourne , Australia . feeling very proud for Aliy and Allen and all the SPkennel family . A well deserved award πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ”΄βš«οΈπŸΎπŸΎ. ❀️ Denali and Joanne .

  • I just watched the insider video of Aliy receiving the humanitarian award. A humble response to a well-deserved award. Often throughout the YQ and ID watching Aliy and Allen, a song called Humble & Kind by Tim McGraw came to mind because that's what I saw in both of them. SPKennel is a class act. When I get time I will watch the remainder of the videos of the banquet. Safe travels back to Two Rivers everyone.

  • A night to remember and cherish by all!!!
    Many congratulations to Aliy, Allen and precious dogs!!!

  • Thanks so very, very much for this so prompt report!!!

    I watched Iditarod's video too, without the sound, not want to wake anybody – will watch with sound later.

    Mr. Clyde should be proud, too!!!

    But once again, your description and photos make all the difference in bringing home the meaning of the event, thanks again,



  • SP Kennel followers sure know that Aliy (& Allen) deserve the award for dog care! It's one of the many reasons we love them! What great tributes to all, and to all a good night. Thank you for keeping us with you on this journey of love, dedication, and perseverance. We love you all! Good dawgs! Can't wait for more trail stories. Hint, hint

  • Congratulations Aliy and Allen. You both are so deserving of the awards you receive. Your love and care of your dogs is awesome and so recognizable by all. You truly are the BEST!

    Ann and Tom

  • I'm THRILLED Aliy got the Humanitarian award – so well deserved. She, Allen and all of you at SP Kennel take fantastic care of the dogs and it's wonderful that you get recognized for it. So happy you all had a great time at the banquet and enjoyed the rewards for a race well done. You're the best and I'm a very proud fan here in North Carolina! Safe travels back to Two Rivers.


    Great response upon receiving the Leonhard Seppala Dog Care award (for the second time). So glad to see Stu Nelson explain how carefully the vet team evaluates each dog and team, how they've made out along the trail, too!

    No doubt Clyde impressed them with what a great eater he is!!!

    Thanks again for these wonderful pictures, and nice speech that we were able to see this morning on Iditarod site re: Nulato, coordinating with Jeff, too!


  • Congratulations to Aliy and Allen and all the fantastic 4-leggeds of SP Kennel. Those BIG happy healthy teams trotting across the finish line. That says it all. Glad the Iditarod chose to highlight the great care of the SPK dogs. Way to go SPK!

  • Woohoo! Congratulations Aliy, Allen and all of SPK for receiving the coveted Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award!!!!!
    Ya have to admit Aliy, no one else had to, or managed to protect their team by fighting off a maniac on a chunk of iron, like a NINJA SUPERHERO!

    We always feel like you deserve this award. So nice to see it happening.
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    PS Who's that skinny kid with you in the last pic?

  • Beautifully written blog. It is very fulfilling to read of Aliy and Allen's contributions to the quality of everyone's Iditarod experience. It's not a surprise to those of us who have been following their progress over the years but It does make us happy for them. Congratulations to the extended SP Kennel family and to you the blogger who is the anonymous oracle from Alaska that adds so much to our experience in Iditarod 2016. Well done to all. I now will begin my annual Iditarod withdrawal.

  • It's so awesome Aliy was awarded the Humanitarian Award for dog care! I was also touched she shared the honor with Allen…you two make a great Team! One of the reasons I support SPK is your reputation of being a dog first Kennel…you never ask your dogs to perform outside of their abilities thus you show up at the finish line with happy and healthy dogs each and every time! Congrats to SPK….what an honor! Makes me proud to be a SPK Fan!

  • Matson needs to change their colors to Red and Black! lol. Once again Aliy and Allen impress the heck out of me with their graciousness. Congrats!

  • Aliy, You are an inspiration to all of us that have had traumatic experiences. It took huge fortitude to accept the gift from the community. I mean that in the sense that you did not want the publicity, but graciously accepted their humble apology. I admire you, Allen and your team.

  • Aliy, you are a class act. Allen you are a class act. Support team, you are a class act. And doggies, you are world class. So proud to be your fan and supporter.

  • I was sad the whole banquet was not broadcast like last year but was very thrilled with Aliy's award which as she pointed out is really an SPK award for she and Allen both as well as the backup folks all contribute to the care and fitness of those fine dogs. And I know the Red and Black teams will be back racing next year and better than ever. They are always winners because they really are the best!!! So proud of you guys!!!

  • Congratulations Aliy on your humanitarian award! It was such fun following the Iditarod once again and wishing SP Kennel the very best.

  • I am so very proud of SP Kennel and Aliy, this was a very tough emotional year that reverberated through all of us. With every adversity you only become stronger and that is what we have witnessed. Congratulations on all your hard work and the entire team behind you.

    We can't wait till next season!! You always amaze us!

  • Aliy is making history: 5 consecutive years in the top 5 and a 3 time award winner of the Leonard Seppala (that's right 3 times). Since this is only awarded to top finishers, this is quite an achievement.

    I was especially happy that Allen was included in this moment. I was surprised (and grumpy) that he was not awarded the VET award from YQ veterinarians. Returning to the finish with 13 dogs in great spirits was really something.

    I notice everyone has commented on the great dog care, which is self-evident, but I also am thinking that it is a testament to their careful and thoughtful breeding program. The Nacho/Olivia Quito/Biscuit leaders were crafted from among the most capable and hardy hounds that SPK has to offer.

    Amazing and wonderful dogs coming out of the kennel these days.

    I also respect how Aliy acknowledged the hard work that Dallas puts into winning; but I would like to point out that she came in third, after a traumatic experience and without having to drop dogs down to a minimum.

  • Of all the awards presented, I believe that the Humanitarian Award for the care of dogs out on the trail has to be the most coveted in the sport of mushing. Aliy is so deserving, always! This year, she is even more deserving for all she and her team experienced. Aliy's sharing of the award with Allen, who's also deserving, demonstrates the quality and compassion that is SP Kennel.

    Both Allen and Aliy are class acts and superior role models for the mushing community. There is no "I" in the word "Team," and Aliy, Allen, and the SPK family embody that.

    To say "congratulations" hardly expresses the kudos I want to send! I'm so proud to be an SPK fan.

  • Congratulations on this award–we the fans know how well you do with
    the dogs. It takes a team and Allen & Aliy you are two of the best!!
    Much deserved!! Celebrate!

  • Congrats Aliy! Congrats Allen on another successful run and faster than expected.

    I wish they would put the banquet program on the web! I think it would give a really good feeling as to the comraderie that exists at ID, and in these Alaska villages as well.

    Steve Laine

  • Congratulations on winning humanitarian award, Aliy & Allen. I agree with Linda Toth that Allen should have won vet care award at YQ. SPK arrive at the finish line with an outstanding number of happy, healthy dogs in every race(and they do not drop healthy dogs so they can speed to the finish). ID should certainly change the rules.Thanks Moira for the pictures and post.

  • I will add my congratulations as well. The strength of SP Kennel is it's dog care training and philosophy. Thank you to the the best – the dogs, Aliy, Allen and crew for giving us a very exciting racing season. Enjoy your summer down time. In a blink of an eye it will be October again!

  • This year exhibited and verified to all, of which a lot of us already knew, how humble and dedicated Aliy and Allen are to thier athletes, fans, and all citizens. They make everyone so proud just to even know them. They are both roll models for all of us to learn from. They are truely a class act!!! Thank you for sharing all that you do so we can be involved. I would say welcome home and to relax and enjoy some time of your own but I know you won't because of who you are so be safe and enjoy and THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

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