Maliko did an absolutely incredible job racing with the young team in the Copper Basin this year. I asked her to share her thoughts on each athlete's performance, and here is what she wrote-
Wow, what an amazing weekend! I don’t have enough wonderful things to say about this up and coming team of two year olds and the adults that pulled me to the finish of the 2016 Copper Basin 300, but I’ll try and give a small summary of each dog.
Niagra – Great command leader! She’s been a steady team dog with Ryne, but this race was her time to shine up front, and shine she did. Not only was she a hard driving dog up front, but she has really shown her ability lead like a champ.
Boone – This little lady has also been a great team dog for Ryne with some experience up front, but during this race she proved to be a powerhouse leader. She obviously knows commands, loves to speed around corners and ADORED hills! Every time she saw one coming up, she broke into a lope and probably would have pulled us all up on her own if she had to.
Derby – If every dog had the heart that Derby did, we’d all win every race. Derby is always willing to go, she was a cheerleader leaving every stop we had and had endless energy.
Sally – What a fun little dog! Sally ran swing the whole race, did a great job keeping the team in line and helped make sure the leaders were going the right way. She also loves SPEED and made sure we never slowed down.
Charley (He joins Ryno Kennel from Amanda Gecas with Boundary Sled Dog Kennel. You may remember him from last year's Copper Basin team and Yukon Quest team) – Steady and strong are probably the two best ways to describe Charley. He’s always willing to get up and go and he’s got the strength to keep us moving. Charley is a great dog because he’s one you often forget is there. Always moving, always doing his job and always ready to pull.
Fenton – Another great and steady worker, Fenton is going to mature into a big, strong, hard worker. He was another dog that I tended to forget about because he was so consistently good.
Coot – Coot was probably the best eater on the whole team. He’d try to steal snacks from his neighbor and ate everything I put in front of him, a great asset in a young male.
Drake – Having a big dog like Drake on your team when you’ve got long hills to go up is an incredible asset. Drake hits hills like a bulldozer and powers up them. He was always happy and in a great mood.
Brant – Little Brant! I love this dog, he’s matured so much since we first started running together this fall and has been growing on me ever since. Even though he started to get a little tired towards the end of the race, he was always willing to give it his all. After almost 300 miles, Brant still wanted to lope to the finish!
CJ – What a girl! CJ is a funny dog who has often been easily distracted during training, but she buckled down for the race and proved to be a solid team and wheel dog.
Belle – Belle is another one of my favorites and I was devastated to have to drop her for a sore shoulder in Mendeltna. Belle doesn’t like to lope when the rest of the team speeds up, instead she moves her little legs in a trot so fast they’re almost a blur, and she’s always bubbly and happy, not matter what kind of terrain or mileage you throw at her.
Lefty – Saving the best for last (don’t tell Brant and Belle), Lefty is going to have a bright future at Ryno Kennel. Lefty is a big boy that likes to lope and already shows great promise as a future leader. He did well in any position I put him in all the way down to the wire. Whenever he saw a team ahead of him, he’d start pulling as hard as he could to catch up and pass them! This boy’s got some competitive spirit!