Saturday, June 27, 2009

I'rod 'Sign Ups' Started Today

Iditarod Sign-Ups Today

Although I'm not a sled dog racer, I nonetheless have an intense interest in what is happening on the race trails. My mentors are all racers, and the techniques that work on the race trail are often just as useful on the recreational paths my team frequents. In all truth, I have to admit that I am a big-time fan of sled dog racing, especially the middle and long-distance races.

Today was the first day of sign-ups for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. According to the Iditarod web site, 60 mushers put in their paperwork for the first day, and the list pretty much reflects all the usual suspects. Those who have performed well enough to become household names in Alaska are readily apparent on the list, including Lance Mackey, Martin Buser, Jeff King, Mitch Seavey and Sebastian Schnuelle. I was pleased to see that former Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt also submitted his paperwork for the first day. Some of my neighbors from Two Rivers have signed up, including Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore of SP Kennel (see link on left side of this page) and Sonny Lindner.

Newton Marshall of Jamaica ran the Quest last year, and has signed up as a rookie in the 2010 Iditarod. Apparently he's been bitten by the racing bug in a big way. Kim Darst from New Jersey is going to give the trail another shot. Ms. Darst scratched along with Blake Matray in this year's race to save a dog that had become dangerously hypothermic. I'll wish her much better luck next winter.

I don't see Rick Swenson's name on the list, but I can't imagine him not running the race. I also didn't notice Brent Sass. With the deadline not until November I'm sure there will be several additions.

Hedlund Husky Puppies Born Today

In more "old school" fashion, Linda Newman of Points Unknown kennel reports a new litter of Hedlund huskies were born very, very early this morning (Saturday morning). Her bitch Tuloon gave birth to 5 healthy puppies, from her dog Mackenzie. 'Kenzie is an important stud in the Hedlund husky preservation project, and is the father of my own "Mitten Twins", Rose and Nels.

Most Hedlund's are gray in color, and the line is frequently referred to as "Hedlund Gray Huskies" to differentiate from other types of huskies bred by Rose and Nels Hedlund. White colored Hedlunds do occur, but are relatively rare. Tuloon's litter included two white females. You can "ooh and aww" over puppy pictures on Linda's 'To Points Unkown' blog.

Helund huskies were developed as general purpose dogs, able to serve as both "traveling" and "racing" dogs. The line is noted for rangy, hard working dogs and tends to produce a higher than typical percentage of leaders.

Old School Alaskan Blog in Print
My "Old School Alaskan" blog received a very nice mention in today's Fairbanks Daily News Miner, in the "Our Town Plus" section (page C-1). I didn't see it in the on-line version, but those who pay money for a print subscription deserve some of life's little 'extras', don't you agree?

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