Here is our team at the 2007 Mount Massive Sled Dog Race in Leadville, Colorado. This picture captured all 16 dog-feet in the air. I was very proud of all the dogs: Lightning (left lead), Moonrise (right lead), Canyon (left wheel), and Nimbus (right wheel). Lightning and Moonrise (who are siblings), celebrated their seventh birthday earlier in the year. The whole team worked as if the altitude and warm sun were of no importance. This was a fabulous race site on the highest golf course in North America. The course went out along a fairway, then wove back and forth through the forest before returning.
The two grey dogs on the far right are another team that left the starting line at the same time we did at this “dual start” race. We had never started this way before, and it went really well. As you can see, we beat the Alaskan Husky team out of the chute, and followed them closely for a mile or two.
This was one of the races that helped our team earn the SCA Top Sprint Racing award for the 2006-2007 season, as well as the 2007 OWS Sled Dog Racing award. Our dogs won these awards all three seasons they raced. Running this team was a dream come true!
The 2007 Siberian Rendezvous, Sammies Too race took place above Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It was a race for pure-bred teams only. The course was nearly 10,000 feet high, and a bit steep. We all felt the thin air, but still the team ran hard and finished the race with a respectable time. Lightning
(left lead) and Moonrise (right lead) were seven years old at this race. The rest of the team consisted of Nimbus
(right wheel) and Canyon (left wheel).
In the 2007-2008 winter season, we borrowed two wonderful girls from Kay Hallberg of Wolf River Samoyeds. Moonrise (right wheel), an experienced sled dog, and Canyon (left wheel) added a great deal of power and enthusiasm to our team. The Chemult Sled Dog Race in Oregon was my first time racing a four-dog team, and it was just thrilling. The course was incredibly fun, and beautifully groomed. The dogs ran hard and strong. This race helped our team to win the SCA Top Sprint Team award for the season. I think our boys, Lightning
(left lead) and Nimbus
(right lead), enjoyed having the girls helping them out.
(right lead) and Nimbus
(left lead) are teaching Paul how fun it is to race with a dog sled. We had two fairly good runs at this race. Day 1 - Paul’s sled bounced off the side banks about 100 times (the course grooming device left a crown down the center), but the team still averaged 15 mph. We shocked the crowd by being the first team to the finish line. Day 2 - Paul only hit the sides 20 times so we averaged 15.9 mph. We took 4th Place overall out of ten teams. The best part was at the finish line where the crowd was amazed to see a two-dog team keeping right in time with all the 3-dog Alaskan Husky teams.
The 2004 Shaver Lake Sled Dog Race was Paul’s first experience driving the team at a race. Temps were around 50F degrees, and the course was slushy, steep, and very rough. Experienced mushers said it was the toughest race course they had ever run. Lightning
(right lead) and Nimbus
(left lead) placed 2nd in the 3-Dog class. First place went to a well respected musher who usually wins several classes on the California circuit. Even though she ran a team of three Alaskan Huskys, our 2-dog Samoyed team beat her on the second day! Although this was not quite enough for us to overcome the edge she had from the first day, it was a very impressive showing. Paul and the boys earned tremendous respect from her and the other mushers.
In the winter of 2002-2003, our team won the International Sled Dog Racing Association 2-Dog Gig racing class. This was the first time an all-Samoyed team ever won an ISDRA class. They did it again in the 2003-2004 season! Together, Lightning (right lead) and Nimbus (left lead) won many other sledding awards. These powerful boys won the Samoyed Club of America Top Sled Dog/Sprint Team award all three seasons they raced. They also won the Organization for the Working Samoyed Sled Dog and Skijor awards multiple times.
In 2003 our team traveled to Priest Lake, Idaho for our first race on snow. We entered the 3-Dog class, and ran it with our two boys, Lightning
(right lead) and Nimbus
(left lead). The other nine team ran with full three-dog teams. We finished the race in 3rd Place, averaging nearly 15 miles per hour throughout the course! This race helped our dogs to earn the SCA Top Sled Dog award for the 2002-2003 season.
Lightning sailed along the 2.6 mile Novice Skijor course at the 2002 Chemult Sled Dog Races. Partnered with Paul, our team averaged 9 miles per hour over the two day (5.2 mile total) event. Lightning was the only single-dog entry, and still came in 2nd Place, beating 2-dog Alaskan Husky and Alaskan Malamute teams. Conditions could not have been nicer, and fun was had by all.
raced in the Cascade Skijor Classic, our first competitive event ever! Here are Paul, Linda, and Lightning waiting for their second run to begin. Twelve month old Lightning did well for such a young lad, but stopped to water some bushes along the way. Linda is not a strong skier, and does not know how to "skate ski", a must in the competitive world. Thus, we placed 5th out of five racers in the 4.2 mile - two day event. Lightning and Linda were presented with the coveted Red Flashlight Award, a parody of the award presented to the last place finisher in the Iditarod race. The flashlight represents a light to find one's way to the finish line.
We had a blast and will be racing again next year!