Allen will take the following 14 athletes with him on the Yukon Quest 1000 later this morning:

Kodiak, Dutch, Junior, Mismo, Izzy, Felix, Chipper, Champ, Commando, Amber, Nomex, Spark, Rodney and Daisy.

Amber and Nomex, two of the seven YQ1000 rookies

Izzy is the only dog on the team that ran Whitehorse to Fairbanks in 2015. Allen said that could be either a good thing or a bad thing climbing Eagle Summit and Rosebud! He has seven Yukon Quest 1000 rookies and two of them, Rodney and Daisy, have not run 1000 miles before.

Aliy says: The Yukon Quest team is more than a team, it is a family. All fourteen dogs are the pups of the three SPK Kennel All-Star 10 year old siblings: Nacho, Chica and Quito. So even though they are no longer racing – Nacho and Quito are at the kennel and Chica is in Anchorage – their presence on this race will be overwhelming.

Over half of this team is Nacho/Olivia puppies: Dutch, Kodiak, Junior, Commando, Amber, Nomex, Spark and Daisy. Nacho has one more pup on the team, a Nutmeg puppy: Champ. The Quito and Biscuit puppies are Mismo, Izzy, Felix and Chipper. Chica has one puppy on the race: Rodney. He is the youngster on the team.

So, if you wonder how well do our dogs know each other? Or how tight knit is the team? There are probably few, if any, other dog teams in long distance mushing in which ALL the team mates are siblings or first cousins.

Watch a few of our SPK videos featuring the Secrets, the Fire Litter, the Latinos and the Golf Litter as puppies. Or this past Fall 2016, I took some video of these litters as well. (You can find them in the archive section down the left hand side of the blog. Perhaps something to do when you are waiting for the tracker to update?)

For more information about the athletes, check out the race roster page.


Aliy has 12 team mates going 300 miles with her:

Driver, Violet, Chena, Ernie, Ginger, Hotshot, Scooter, Iron, Outlaw, Tinder, Schmoe and Woody.

Ernie and Ginger make the squad

The Red Team has four from the Fire litter, three from the Golf litter, two from the “S” litter, two from the “Five” litter and one of the “Outlaws”.

Ernie, Ginger, Hotshot, Tinder and Woody are YQ300 rookies and technically so is Schmoe but he has raced the 1000 mile version four times so he’s seen these trails before.

For more information about the athletes, check out the race roster page.

It’s always a difficult decision to pick who will and won’t be on the team. Sometimes it is easy: if someone is sore or tired from training or another race we will not pick them to give them the best chance to be ready for the next race. Allen had 16 dogs on his roster right up until last night with numbers 14, 15 and 16 bracketed. Each had great reasons to be picked and each provided some element of uncertainty.

As far as Aliy’s team is concerned, it was even harder. There are a number of dogs back at the kennel that could do 300 miles and are proven over that distance but we already know will be important for one of the Iditarod teams so are being rested for that. This gives other younger dogs the chance to prove themselves in this race. We always pick the “in-form” players for the top team but also keep the long term in mind when choosing, which is why you will see some youngsters in the Red Team instead of more established faces. Aliy and Allen really wanted to see what some of those youngsters were made of.

Thanks Chris and Ruth who are caring for and continuing to train those left at home.

13 Responses

  • It's going to be quite an adventure for the pups at SPK!!! You guys will win in both, the 1000 and the 300!!!

  • Incredible teams – good luck and safe trails to the mushers and canine athletes alike. Go SP Kennel!! We are fans of Commando, Chena and Hotshot and it is great to see them get to go down the trail with their fantastic teammates.

  • This most certainly will be an SPK Family Adventure for the Black Team!! So cool Rodney and Daisy made the Team….can't wait to see how they all do…I am confident Izzy will have no problem telling the Team how to get up and over the summits….you go girl!!

    The Red Team looks like a fine Team as well!! "Rookie" Schmoe will no doubt wonder why they are stopping at 300 miles…bet he will be barking for more at the finish! It will be fun to see how the Rookies do…..we love seeing the young talent of SPK race!

    SPK is blessed to have such a deep bench to draw from…deciding on the final rosters has to be difficult indeed! As for the Bench Warmers at the Kennel…..I'm sure they will be getting extra butt rubs and ear scratches from Chris and Ruth as they continue to train!

    Now let's RACE!!!

  • I've been waiting to see this and even though "my guy" Five is back at the kennel, I will be cheering for his siblings, since the Five litter is my favorite. Best wishes to Allen, Aily, crew and teammates. Will be thinking of you every day until you reach the finish. Go SPK go!


    Writing this e-mail post wearing SP Kennel red cap (black cap at the ready)!!!

    Ditto on Lourdes comment – as well as Steve's (WOOF Woody)!!!

    Go RED TEAM Go BLACK TEAM – love you guys!!!

  • First thing I did this morning was check the blog for the team rosters – even before my morning cup of tea. Is that weird?

    Seems to me Allen often mixes things up to keep life interesting and to see what the dogs can do – this team is case in point. I am actually happy to see so many rookies on the team – great time to bring those big litters into the big time.

    Good luck to both Aliy and Allen. I am still hoping to see my little girl on some team this year (sidelined due to weight loss), but if not, then hopefully next year.

    Will be watching and pulling for you, as always.


  • Happy trails for Allen & the black team so excited to see how Daisy goes on her first 1000 miler. Denali and l will be sending good thoughts to you Daisy and the rest of the Black team.
    Happy trails fo Aliy and the red team , have fun youngesters.
    Go SPK πŸ–€β€οΈ Cheering hard and refreasher fingers at the ready πŸ‘‰πŸ». From Denali 🐾🐾 and Joanne πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί

  • Blood will tell and I think the close relationships of the dogs in each team can have some real positive effects. I am delighted to see members of the Five group (that I call the Surfivers and have a special attachment to) are getting to run in the big leagues now! A big cyber hug for Ginger, one of my fanned group, and all sorts of positive energies and cheers for both the Reds and the Blacks–and their human team members too! I will be following closely and thankful for the internet and those who do the sharing with us too-far-away to participate directly. GO SPK!!!

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