Thursday, March 18, 2010

News from the Trails

Tri-pawed Abner Struts his Stuff

Yesterday Abner had the opportunity to show what he is about at the Jeff Studdert Invitational Passenger Race in Fairbanks.  "Jeff's Race" is a passenger race in which the time draws 2 mushers, a driver and a passenger, around the 7.7 mile track.  At the half-way point the team must stop while passenger and driver swap roles.  

I wasn't able to be at Jeff's Race this year, as I'm stuck at work.  Tri-pawed Abner ran lead in the team of Lynn Orbison and Penny Parker.  Lynn reported, "Thanks to all who helped pull the Jeff Studdert Race together. Edie and I were the only competitive entries, all the other teams were donated to sponsors! A good time was had by all. Who knows if anyone will post results---we're all rather busy! In the competitive division, Edie and her 15-year-old friend Austin won, you can decide if Abner, Lynn and Penny lost or came in second...I personally think the whole event was a WIN/WIN!!!"

Photographer Scott Chesney captured some nice images of Abner and has posted  them under the headline "Abner the Three-Legged Sled Dog Shows His Stuff."  My favorite is one that demonstrates his professionalism.  Even though distracted by activity around him, Abner is shown keeping the gang-line taught while Lynn is hooking up dogs further back down the gang line.  There are also a pair of great images showing Abner's huge grin as he leads the team down the trail.

More I'rod Mushers Finishing Up 

Of course some of the slower Iditarod mushers will be crossing the finish line over the next couple of days.  Dan Kaduce, from Chatanika, finished in 21st position to earn the Rookie of the Year award.  He was traveling in some prestigious company, as he followed Rick Swenson, and was followed by Dee Dee Jonrowe.  

Although he's well back in the pack, many eyes are on Scotsman Wattie McDonald, who still has a full team of 16 Siberian huskies in route to White Mountain.  It's relatively rare for any musher to finish with a full team, and virtually unheard of for a rookie to do so.

16 Mushers Signed Up for ONAC

The GCI Open North American Championship will begin three days of racing tomorrow, starting and finishing at the Jeff Studdert Race Grounds on Farmer's Loop Road.  

1 Jack Berry, Homer/Salcha, AK
2 Eddie Dayton, Big Lake, AK
3 Ken Chezik, Fife Lake, MI
4 Mark Hartum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
5 Randy DeKuiper, Hesporia, MI  (Rookie)
6 Jeff Conn, Ester, AK
7 Jason Dunlap, Salcha, AK
8 Marvin Kokrine, North Pole, AK
9 Mike Stephens, Fairbanks, AK
10 Egil Ellis, Willow, AK
11 Heather Hardy, Wasilla, AK
12 Arleigh Reynolds, Salcha, AK
13 Curtis Erhart, Fairbanks, AK
14 Clifton Carroll, Fort Yukon, AK  (Rookie)
15 Gary Markley, Salcha, AK
16 Beth Manning, Fairbanks, AK  (Rookie)

Low snow conditions have forced ADMA to modify the route of the 2010 race.  A map of this year's race course can be downloaded from the ADMA site at  Just scroll down toward the bottom of the page.


  1. Had to check if Wattie McDonald of Scotland was really running his Siberians from Scotland. The details from his website suggest he is running a team of Alaskan Huskies from Dean Osmer's kennel and the 2010 race photos support that conclusion. I wish he was running his Scotland Siberians but I think they are home with his wife Wendy.

  2. Swanny, Abner is a great looking dog but it is strange to see him stretched out running and realize three legs only - makes me smile. And he looks like he is totally in his element. Regards.