Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS to Matt Hall and Amanda and the whole crew at Smokin’ Ace Kennel. You have an amazing dog team and you ran a well executed race. We’re very happy for you! Two Rivers really is the “Valley of Champions”.


Just to ensure the teams experienced the whole gamut of weather conditions: this morning we enjoyed some freezing rain and +20F temperatures. It’s the Quest… what do you expect?

Allen got up from his nap a couple hours before leaving time and gave the dogs another meal and packed his sled. Each dog got to stretch his or her legs then went back to nap for a wee bit as Allen ate more eggs and made final preparations. As the temperature was ‘warm’ he took off their puff jackets and cold weather gear.

Allen readies to leave as Paige Drobny goes about her chores

At 10.05am he and and all 12 Black Team athletes pulled out of the checkpoint ready to run the final leg to the finish. We were so excited to see them trot out of the chute – they’ve run this route many times this winter in anticipation of just this moment.

Let’s go!

Mismo and Izzy led the team out with Commando and Junior in swing, Spark and Dutch, Kodiak and Amber, Rodney and Champ with Felix and Chipper in wheel. We will watch the tracker all day and maybe try to catch sight of them as they go by Pleasant Valley Store and through the neighbourhood.

Family and crew sending them on their way; Stephanie and the “pee stick”

Another important thing that happened at Two Rivers (as well as Dawson and other checkpoints along the way) was the urine testing of the dogs. Stephanie expertly manoeuvred the “pee stick” to gather samples from random dogs, recorded the microchip numbers of the sampled dog and the urine will be sent away for testing. They are checking for banned substances including pain killers and caffeine among other things. It’s really important for the integrity of the race to ensure no athlete has anything illegal in their system, but mostly it’s in the best interests of the dogs.

10 Responses

  • Yes…congrats to Matt…awesome run for this guy. It's cool he grew up around the Quest…he has a bright future!

    Wow…that is some wild changing weather…freezing rain??? Really?? That is just not right on many levels!

    I'll be heading home to watch the tracker as well tonight….enjoy the run on the "ole home turf" SPK Black Team! Wonder if the dog yard will sense they are close to home? Always fun to watch the tracker at the moment they pass near the kennel!

  • Definitely congrats to Matt. I watched him arrive via the tracker and got the tail end of the Yukon Quest live on their Facebook page. Hopefully I will get to see Allen arrive at least on the tracker and maybe if they are posting live on Facebook again. I will be out of pocket for a couple of hours this evening so I may miss it, dang it! A big Valentines hug to all the awesome Sled dogs on the black team (and those at the kennel too) and a high five to Allen and the SPK crew.

  • Congratulations Matt!

    Go SPK. I'm so proud of all of you….Mismo, Izzy, Commando, Junior, Spark, Dutch, Kodiak, Amber, Rodney, Champ, Felix, Chipper and Allen!!!
    What a journey?!

  • Thanks for all the updates! It's been a busy day at work, but you've been on my mind all day!!!
    Matt Hall and his pups deserve many congratulations indeed! Great race!
    That Izzy, what a wonderful dog! She just got to work, and she DID work!!!
    Congratulations Allen, pups, Aliy, Moira, and all the amazing people at SPK!!! You all rock big time!!!

  • What? Decaf coffee for the dogs? Ha! Great race, Allen! Will love to read the details on the dogs after the race. From what I could see in pics and read in posts Junior has pulled Swing Left the entire way! We're proud of her and the entire Black Team! Go Allen! Go SPK!

  • Ditto to all above and so happy for these young dogs of the Black Team!!!

    What they've learned in these 10 days plus!!!

    A real challenge of a wintry kind, SP Kennel rocks!!!

    WOOF WOOF WOOF to Allen!!!

  • Very very happy for the SPK Black Team – congratulations to Matt for a great race and congratulations to Allen and all the SPK 4-leggeds for coming this far – 12 happy and healthy dogs still in harness and on the home stretch – so far, so good! One final blast and then the finish. Cannot wait – cheering you all on from here. I hope Nomex and Daisy are anxiously waiting for 'their' team to get to the finish, too. Thank you to the handlers and the (Moira?)posters who have kept us all up to date. My 'refresh' skills are now primed for the Iditarod. On GO SPK! Woo-HOOOOO!

  • Wow! Just think what the team would have accomplished if some of them hadn't had bad tummy bugs! Looking forward to Allan's evaluation and the Iditarod. Great job, and Congrats to all that finish!

  • Hurrah for the SPK Black and a well run race. There are unique challenges each time but we count on SPK to meet and master them in their usual fine style and again were not disappointed. Watched the video of Matt coming in and he and the dogs looked good. THis young man should have a good career ahead of him!
    Two Rivers seems to be the home of champs! As I write, Hugh is close to the end and Allen not far behind. Almost sad to see a good race end but the Iditarod is just around the corner! Also proud of Paige and the Squids' good showing this time. Still, SPK is tops on my list!! Rodney deserves a special treat for his first big race. Good show, guy! We'll be seeing more of you I am sure.

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