SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Iditarod Sign Up 2018 Race

Today was the first day to sign up for the 2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Both the Red Team and the Black Team - Aliy and Allen have officially sent in applications. This would be Aliy's 18th race and Allen's 11th Iditarod. A total of 52 mushers signed up for the race today. Only 251 days until RACE START!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Midnight Sun Festival

Summer solstice is an amazing time in Interior Alaska. The midnight sun allows everyone to enjoy outdoor activities all day and all night long. Visitors to Alaska often do not know night from day. The Fairbanks Downtown Association holds the Midnight Sun Festival every year on the streets downtown. Allen and Aliy went to the Festival on Sunday and joined the Verizon gang at their tent.

Allen, Aliy and Scruggs brought a racing sled to Downtown Fairbanks on Sunday.

Many vendors and public service associations have booths. Probably the most popular was the enormous Fire Truck and extended rescue ladder. But, Yukon Quest Champion and Iditarod Sled Dog, Scruggs, was rather popular as well. Of the over 10,000 people enjoying the Festival, we figure Mr. Scruggs greeted a fair percentage of them!

There was quite a crowd at the Festival.

Scruggs was the most popular besides the enormous Firetruck. But he usually kisses back.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

SP Kennel All Star - A Love Letter to Nacho

Everybody loves Nacho!

We have been saying for years that he is the epitome of an All Star so we figured it was about time it was made official. The perfect day to celebrate Nacho's SP K Status is today, Father's Day.

Nacho has won the Yukon Quest twice, he's been Iditarod runner up three times and is a multiple Copper Basin Champ. He is father to some of our most talented current athletes, is as tough as they come and is also one of the happiest dogs there ever has been!
Congratulations Nacho on your induction into the SP Kennel All Stars Hall of Fame!

Nacho far left. Photo: Sebastian Schnuelle

Nacho was one of five pups born 11 years ago on June 12, 2006 to SP Kennel star Venus and Lance Mackey's Zorro. Phenomenal blood lines can look great on paper but sometimes don't emerge in practice but with Nacho and his siblings, their potential was realised, and then some!!

In fact, he is such a huge part of this kennel his likeness is immortalised in our kennel logo. Ten years ago Nacho had "that special look" that caught everyone's eye.

When racing, he brought determination and a huge work ethic. He was low maintenance, drama free, and got on with his job happily. He could run next to anyone and in any position on the team... the perfect dog.

In Aliy's 2012 Iditarod Trail Notes she described him as:
"Nacho was happy from start to finish. His silly antics made me smile. Nacho is an amazing sled dog. During this race, he was powerful, dedicated and confident. I watched Nacho race the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, back to back, and never lose his smile."

In Aliy's 2014 Iditarod Trail Notes she described him as:
"Nacho once again was the ‘back up man’. He was always one step behind Quito and usually ran together with Chica. These three siblings are unstoppable. Nacho always keeps a little pep in his step, even after hundreds of miles. This energizes me, as well as the rest of the team. He is a wonderful dog."

Nacho looks like he's in lead, but he is actually in swing with Chica - Quito is in single lead coming into the Safety Checkpoint. Photo: Dr. Al Hallman

Nacho has 21 offspring right now at the kennel and many of them are currently, or will be, mega stars in their own right. They are talented and personable, just like their papa. When you look through our Dog Page you can easily be overwhelmed by the "Nacho Puppies".

Nacho third row on left. Photo: Donna Dewhurst

Nacho is a happy, happy dog! He is friendly to all he meets will give you a big fuzzy hug at any opportunity. He has a lot of fans from all around the world. Often times when Moira is asked why she keeps coming back to Alaska and whether it was because she has a boyfriend there, she says "Yes, his name is Nacho".

At 11 years old Nacho is now a bit slower than his famous sister Quito and much slower than the main Racers. His gait has never been smooth! Aliy says he looks like a raccoon loping across a picnic table. Although he was never a main leader during the bulk of his racing career, last season he led most of the time so that he could set the pace ~ usually 7 or 8 mph. Slow and steady will also get it done!

Nacho and Olivia are currently living together in 'The Plaza' an outdoor pen built by Aliy's dad, Doug, last summer. It is a cozy pen directly off the kennel's main house.

Olivia sunbathes whereas Nacho prefers the Lazy-Boy in their pen: 'The Plaza'.

Check out this "getting to know you" video from four years ago:

Video from April 2013

We have a saying here at SP Kennel: "He's Nacho dog, he's my dog". Of course when its said with an Arkansas accent it sounds much better: "He's naught yo dawg, he's ma dawg!"

Happy Father's Day Nacho - you are AMAZING.

Check out our other amazing SP Kennel All Stars here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer Dog Exercise Day

Here is some fun we had a few days ago with the dogs on the trails around SP Kennel.

Monday, June 12, 2017

California Conference

Aliy and Allen were in Huntington Beach, southern California this past week for a Verizon Wireless Conference. The WOW ~ Women of Wireless ~ gathering was a two day event that brought together 350 of the best, brightest and most enthusiast women Verizon employees from California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. (Photo on left: Allen, Pepsi LaMar, Aliy and Irwin Siongco.)

The conference was headlined by Tami Erwin, the Executive Vice President for Verizon Operations and one incredible person. Tami had the stage just before Aliy. She centered her talk on the concept that women must often break the mold that we are cast into, yet simultaneously retain our personal strengths and beliefs. There is no position a woman can not reach - but expect to work hard, stumble and get right back up again!

Aliy sharing who exactly she is.

Aliy got on the stage next. First and foremost she explained WHY she was there? A Dog Musher? In California? At a business conference? Seriously? So, after a few "icebreaker" minutes, Aliy opened up and told her very authentic story of how she became one of the most talented, successful women in the state of Alaska. "...work hard, a few stumbles but get right back up again!" Sound familiar?

The topic of Aliy's talk was: Personal Branding ~ What's makes your Brand?
Aliy first needed 45 minutes to share WHO exactly she is before sharing her thoughts about maintaining her brand. The final 10 minutes of Aliy's presentation focused on what she considered most important in maintaining her image and brand.
So... if you don't know WHO ALIY IS ... here you go.
This is directly from Aliy's presentation:

- Authentic, Strong and Honorable: The concept of 'being true to yourself' should go hand and hand with being true to your community and fans. I am truthful about who I am. I can imagine nothing worse than living a lie. I know that not everyone will appreciate me or my dog mushing lifestyle. But - take me or leave me - I am incredibly proud of who I am.
- Positive and Inspirational: I try to be positive. Absolutely everyone has problems and hurdles in their life. There is no reason I need to add to the negative when a positive view can be so much more helpful. In my life (as with all of us), I have many challenges. I find that I can more easily overcome these obstacles when I smile. So, when in doubt... smile!

- Stay relevant and current. Yet always be ready to evolve: This is the most challenging concept for me. Our society expects instant gratification and constant communication. The fact that I try to retain my personal touch in my brand makes it nearly impossible for me to to correspond with everyone. The SPK Dog Log is a helpful tool but it even has its challenges.

- I am personally responsible to maintain my image and brand: This statement is by far the most important part of who I am. I determine my future by my actions today. I take this seriously. I am fortunate that I believe in who I am. I enjoy upholding my values, my brand and thus, my self.
But, I also need to remember that EVERYTHING MATTERS! Whenever I forget this concept, some small force will remind me. Just prior to leaving for California I received this letter (below) from a young fan who ironically, lives in California. Once again, EVERYTHING MATTERS.

This is the letter:

Monday, June 5, 2017

Drawings from Young Fans

Now that school is out or winding down in many parts of the world, we are receiving less correspondence from children. Over the last few months we have received many excellent drawings, cards and posters. Thank you for every single one! As a season finale, we decided to have an Art Show. So, here are five selected drawings from the talented students at Del Mar Pines Elementary School in San Diego California:

Allen's favorite.

Aliy's favorite.

Wendy's favorite.

Wes' favorite.

Moira's favourite.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

All Aboard!

Aliy and Allen are back onboard the Denali Wilderness Express Railroad adventure ride. Cruise ships guests board the luxury train at the Port in Whittier. Then they travel 10 hours north - through Turnagain Arm, across the Susitna Valley, and into the Alaska Range Mountains. The ride ends at the Denali National Park Railroad Depot.

The Mushers jump onboard just prior to Hurricane Gultch - a small flag stop depot southeast of the Alaska Range - and ride for approximately 2 1/2 hours. The train carries anywhere between 450 and 600 passengers. Aliy and Allen entertain all of the guests with their personal mushing stories. They also pass out postcard handouts (Schmoe and Chemo are the SuperStars on the handout this season.) Plus, a dozen lucky passengers receive SP Kennel souvenir t-shirts.

This train route only runs a couple days of the week from mid May until mid September.


Here is the front of the handout postcard that we are giving about 15,000 Princess and Holland America guests.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Coffee Break

We are enjoying the beginnings of summer in Two Rivers. We are rotating the dogs through our three 'Play Pens'. Today Decaf and Creamer were in Pen #1 and Rodney and Ginger in Pen #2. Scruggs and Sandy spent the afternoon in Pen #3.
Here is a fun video:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's a dog's life

Spring and summer are excellent seasons to be a husky in Alaska. Granted, we are not going on thousand mile adventure trips across the state... BUT we are exploring the trails and forests in our own neighborhood. And sometimes, as people say, sticking around home is kinda fun. Right, dogs?

Yesterday, the morning group of dogs on the walk was: Mismo, Izzy, Champ, Chipper, Willie, Tig and Aliy. There was a minor miscommunication between Chipper, Izzy and Aliy. Chipper antagonized Izzy in the last 200 yards and the two rushed off together in a "huff". Aliy assumed they LEFT HER and ran the mile home to the kennel. The dogs know the way home. So, Aliy took the rest of the dogs home. But she was wrong! Chipper and Izzy only went around the curve in the trail. When they came back they realized Aliy had LEFT THEM!.

No one panicked. Well... Chipper is so high strung it would be hard to tell what her 'panic state' might be. But, we all met up 10 minutes later at the same spot we had "lost" each other. There were a few glares, eye rolls and 'what the heck did you do that for' moments. But then Izzy and Aliy both decided it was all Chipper's fault and the three trotted home.

The afternoon group was: QT, Amber, Commando, Felix, Olivia, Aliy and Wendy. After the first 5 minutes of Commando strutting his stuff and Felix coming out of his shell, the hour long walk went great. We even have photos!

The slough still has a little ice. The afternoon was beautiful.

Olivi and her kids; Commando and Amber smell the only green around.

L - R: That is Amber NOT a beaver; QT stares at the camera!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers' Day to you all, whether your children are human or not!

To celebrate let's take a quick look back at some of our mothers being mothers.

Chica and her Five puppies

Five minutes with Five puppies

Olivia and her Fire Litter

Big O and the Fire Litter at three weeks

Quito with her Golf Litter

Quito and her Latinos

Video of the Latinos at one week old

Quito and her Golden Harnesses

Quito and her Olympics