Who are our athletes that are on the way to Whitehorse?


Commando has always been a focussed and talented dog even since he was a puppy. Allen loves him because he is fast. He is a powerful and driven lead dog and has been in lead for the entire race. This is his third Quest. Commando is four years old and is one of the 11-strong Fire Litter. His siblings also on the team are: Nomex, Chena, Spark, Violet.

Commando is very alert and is the security alarm at the kennel. He barks at moose, intruders and even good friends. No one will sneak up on him… on the race or otherwise.

Commando is sponsored by the Willis family for Annie Hall and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Jennifer Smith, Susan McCandless, Suzanne Clodfelter, Ryan Metcalfe, Mrs. Price’s 3rd Grade Class, Barbara Tharp.


Dutch is five years old and this has been a rock star year so far! He truly became a main lead dog last season and hasn’t stepped back from that position this year. Dutch has been either in lead or swing for the whole race so far, and in lead since Dawson. His strength is his never-ending enthusiasm. This is his second Quest. Dutch is five years old and is one of the Secrets Litter. His siblings also on the team are: Junior and Kodiak.

Dutch is always excited to go and has a little “chirp-chirp-chirp” that escapes from his lips as the team gets ready. His other particular quirk is his dexterity to get his booties off by himself – so much so that he has to be bootied right before the team leaves camp.

Dutch is sponsored by Sue Stortz and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Jack Johnston, Metta Canez.


Kodi’s been a main leader since a yearling and is supremely talented. Allen can count on Kodiak to be in command in all situations. He wants to be in charge. Kodiak has been strong swing position for the last half of the race having lead most of the first half with Commando.This is Kodi’s third Quest. Kodiak is five years old and is one of the Secrets Litter. His siblings also on the team are: Junior and Dutch.

Kodiak is also a sensitive soul. He LOVES cuddles and sweet whispers in his ear. But don’t raise your voice around him he is a big softy and will pout for hours.

Kodiak’s sponsor is Trish McAleer and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Ruth Robertson, Jennifer Smith, Val Lycette, Midnight Steiner, Steph Jones, Becky Green, Marilyn Cozzens, Susan McCandless.


Everyone loves Sparkie-doo-dah. He is a happy, friendly fellah who is also an extremely talented lead dog. He has been rotated into lead and swing all race. He led briefly in the early part of the race and has been a strong support in swing position for the rest of the race. Spark has run the Quest once before from Whitehorse to Fairbanks. Spark is four years old and is one of the 11-strong Fire Litter. His siblings also on the team are: Commando, Nomex, Chena, Violet

Spark is always happy and carefree. He loves people and thinks everyone is his best friend. He wags his entire hind end – not just his tail. You will often see him running in the team with his tail slightly elevated… just waiting for someone he can wag it at.

Spark is sponsored by Deb and Hunter Davis and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Crystal Windgassen, Susan P, Marilyn Cozzens.


Clyde is the veteran of the bunch at six years old. He is a stronger team dog – but will run in lead if necessary – he has quick feet and often lopes down the trail. Cylde is a very durable and tough dog. He was a Yukon Quest Champion in 2014 and has come second in the Iditarod. This is Clyde’s fourth Quest, so he has seen it all. He has two sons, Rodney and Five, on the team with him.

One of Clyde’s best attributes as a sled dog is his eating and voracious appetite. It can be a danger because he will eat everything and anything – rather quickly. He has passed this trait on to his son Rodney.

Clyde is quick to wag his tail at the crowds. He is a nice dog and appreciates ear scratches.

Clyde’s sponsors are Marion and Charlotte Davis and his fans are: Jennifer Smith, Val Lycette, Debbi & David Robinson, Carol Miller, Pamela Kirkpatrick, Greg & Vivian Martin.


Champ fits in this team perfectly – he has a little attitude and a lot of ‘get up and go’. He is a lead dog but has run back in the team all of this race. He has been a real cheerleader in the Quest team. This is Champ’s second Quest at four years old. Champ’s papa Nacho, a Quest champion, and the father of nine of the dogs on the team. His Mama Nutmeg is a Quest runner-up in 2012.

Champ really stands out in the team with his dark colouring and yoda ears. And is often quite pleased with himself and will howl in order to tell you just how great he is.

Eunice Thaeler and Lynn Danielson sponsor Champ and his fans are: Marilynn Davis, Joanne Jacobs and Marilyn Cozzens.


Three year old Rodney had a breakout season last year and has continued his stellar career. He is a bigger dog with power and strength. He is the kinda dog who truly pulls you over those Mountains. This is his second Quest.  Rodney and his brother, Five, are on the team with their Dad, Clyde.

Rodney is a loudmouth who is in constant motion: running down the trail / circling around / waiting to run down the trail. He is also a great eater. We even entered him into the Two Rivers Valley Funale Hungry Dog competition last season.

Rodney is always happy: he’s happy to run, happy to rest, happy to eat and happy to greet people. He is a nice dog to be around.

Jessie and Chris Alloway sponsor Rodney and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Jane Smith, Frances Sherertz, Joy Ayala, Metta Canez, Donna Wilette & Family, Beth & Mike Metcalfe.


Five is a Quest rookie. Making this team and racing to the finish is a huge deal for him. Anyone who knows him, is very proud of him. Five will run in lead, but likes to stop to use the bathroom, so he has been in team position all race. He is a big guy with conviction. He runs with his head down down and his shoulders bent forward – leaning into the harness. Five and his brother, Rodney, are on the team with their Dad, Clyde.

Five is a much more stoic dog than his brother. He is a serious power team dog who just gets on with it. He is the true “meat and potatoes” of the team.

Five and his siblings had a difficult start to life due to illness at just a few days old and as such, they are real survivors.

Five is sponsored by Barbara Boucher and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Frances Sherertz, Candace Koranic, Val Lycette, Christine Grabovski, Donna Wilette & Family, Charlene Kellerman, Linda Miller.


Nomex is a big headed boy with drive. He can lead the team but has been in a spot near the rear this race. He has a powerful body but is also agile enough to maneuver the line. This is his second Quest. Nomex is four years old and is one of the 11-strong Fire Litter. His siblings also on the team are: Commando, Chena, Spark, Violet.

Nomex is a very alert team member. He likes it when everyone is doing their job and if they aren’t (either pooping, peeing or dipping for snow) he will tell the musher about it. He’s like drill sergeant. “No time for games when you are in harness!”

Mary-Beth Schreck sponsors Nomex and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Jennifer Smith, Kathy Schreck, Angela Presley.


Five year old Driver is new to the Quest trail. He is a big, happy fellah who is usually in team position but led the team over the line into third position in the 2018 Copper Basin 300!

Driver is a real steam roller of the team and easily the biggest dog.

Driver is not a fan of being blanketed, but during the 36 layover in Dawson the temperatures got to around -50F. Jeff was watching over them at night and snuck into the shelter when Driver was asleep to cover him. He said it looked really comical to see just his face poking out of the mound of straw.

Driver is sponsored by Sherri Suppelsa and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Cindy Schaus.


Chena is one of the most talented lead dogs at SP Kennel but is currently partnered near the back of the team with her sister, Junior, who has been in heat for the entire race. Chena is running her first 1000 mile Quest. Chena is four years old and is one of the 11-strong Fire Litter. Her siblings also on the team are: Commando, Nomex, Spark, Violet.

Chena is kinda morose when hooking up and coming into a checkpoint – she looks like she would rather be anywhere else, like her Auntie Chica used to be. Once she starts running she is a different dog, animated and happy and you can see that from photos on the trail. She yips as the team runs uphill.

Margaret and Alfred Wittenberg sponsor Chena and her fans are: Becky Pacas, Becky Green, Marilyn Cozzens, Erica Miller, Christine Grabovski, Mary Lynn Roush, Mia Bobowski.


Junior is an excellent leader – one of the best – but she has not run in lead this race. The reason is that she has been in heat for the duration of the race. This can cause complications in a team full of intact males and ignorer to avoid conflict Allen ran her in a position near the rear of the team and surrounded by other females and neutered males. She will still get her moment to shine, don’t you worry. Junior is five years old and is one of the Secrets Litter. Her siblings also on the team are: Kodiak and Dutch.

Junior is a real sweetheart. She will “coo coo coo” in order to get your attention and then squirm around until you cover her with pets. It’s nice to have lovable dogs on the team.

Cliff Michel and family sponsor Junior and her fans are: Becky Pacas, Melissa Burnett, Julie Scott, Midnight Steiner, Mary Crowley.


Quest rookie, Violet, is at home in team or wheel position although can lead the team if needed. She and Felix have a great working relationship and curl up together when they are camped. Violet is four years old and is one of the 11-strong Fire Litter. Her siblings also on the team are: Commando, Nomex, Spark, Chena.

Violet eats like a savage through out the summer and fall yet when she gets in her best fitness, she starts to “go off” her food. This year, she got a care package of delightful meat sausages. She devoured them up until the starting line. YUMMY! Some things a girls just can’t say no to. Right?

Becky Pacas is Violet’s sponsor and her fans are: Becky Pacas, Crystal Windgassen, Susan P, Marilyn Cozzens.


Six year old Felix is a replica of his papa, Quest Champion Biscuit. He looks just like him and runs in the same position. He has his own talents however and is a smart and agile wheel dog. This is Felix’ third Quest.

Felix is not an overbearing dog and will sometimes get ignored because he has never been the squeaky wheel. But when given the opportunity, Felix will sit in your lap and simply cuddle. He will sit there all day if you let him.

Danielle Carver sponsors Felix and his fans are: Becky Pacas, Joanne Jacobs, Rae Long Memorial.

Apart from Clyde, who is a Quest champ himself, it is interesting to note that every dog on the team is the son or daughter of at least one Quest champion. Kodiak, Dutch, Junior, Chena, Commando, Nomex, Spark and Violet are offspring of two champions: Nacho and Olivia. Champ’s papa is also Nacho. Felix and Driver are the sons of two champions: Biscuit and Quest Golden Harness winner Quito. Rodney and Five are sons of two champions: Clyde and Chica.


60 year old Allen is 185lb (although right now we guess 170lb) of muscle and determination. Allen was a collegiate athlete playing basketball and football to high competitive levels. He’s been mushing dogs for 25+ years and has won the Quest in 2013 and 2014.

Allen’s biggest fans are his wife Aliy and daughters Bridgett and Jennifer and grandkids Jacob, Timber, Khloe and River.

Read more about our athletes on the Dogs Page and become a Dog Fan and the Dog Fan Club Page.

15 Responses

  • Congratulations to the entire Black Team and all the supporting cast at SPK. It says a lot that all 14 dogs completed a very difficult 1,000 mile race. The training and care of the K9 athletes is excellent. I must admit to having a soft spot for FIve, given his rough start in life it is heartwarming to see him have such success in this race.

    Way to go Allen and SPK!!

  • This is a great post….highlighting every team member who have worked hard and done their job well! Bravo Black Team YQ 2018 👏👏👏👏

  • GREAT post….timely to read about each individuals contribution to the Team while they are just miles from a 1st place finish! This is a VERY talented group of athletes! Nacho, Quito, Chica, Olivia, Clyde, Nutmeg and Biscuit…you done good on the creation of this bunch!

  • I love this write-up! The close-up shots have really helped me pick out the dogs on the line. They all seemed the same to me at one time. Now I see their differences and can pick a few out here and there.

    What a great team Sir Allen has. 19 miles to go as I write!! Hot Springs are-a calling Allen!

  • Brilliant – really. I think you should quit working for the school district and write canine biographies of the rich and famous!

    I loved this post. I have not listed myself as a fan of any of them because we had trouble just picking one puppy to sponsor – how could I possibly chose among so many wonderful dogs. To the clever sponsor that sent Chena sausages – great work.

  • PS – After I wrote the above bit, I thought about the very thorough knowledge of each dog and while Moira knows all of them so well, I wondered if Aliy didn’t do some of it herself. If that is the case, just so you know, the recommendation to write canine biographies for a living does not apply to you.

    Keep on those runners!

  • This was a great post! You have a great way of helping us “know” the dogs and that personalizes your team to those of us watching from a distance. I am really proud of this magnificent team of 15 and their accomplishment!

  • Loved ‘meeting’ all these wonderful canine athletes and fascinated by the kinship links among them. Genetics are magic thing.
    Thrilled silly they all got to run the whole way! That is a truly awesome accomplishment. Sure, there is an element of luck but the smart and dedicated tend to make their own. SPK absolutely rocks.

  • This is an amazing post. The gorgeous faces, some frosty from the race, are all wonderful. I love the insights into the athlete’s individual personalities.
    Thank you for their Quest history information, and acknowledging their individual sponsors.
    I love the treats info about Violet. She might need a delivery before the Iditarod, if there’s time.
    I need to sign up as a fan of Clyde and “Yoda ears” Champ. Impressive race guys!
    Love it!

  • Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed reading about all the athletes in the race. Clyde, Chena, Spark, and Dutch are my favorite SPK dogs, but all of them are amazing!

  • You guys should do a calendar. I would buy it! I Love this post. Anything about the different personalities is interesting to me. Us SPK fans are very spoiled, you know!

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