I'm excited to announce this year's 2017 Yukon Quest Roster!
Katy- 4-year-old Yukon Quest veteran. Katy has been a leader in training and mid-distance racing, so I'm hoping she'll step it up to be a main leader in this year's Quest team. Her namesake, Katy Human (my mother) is rooting for her from the sidelines!
Lefty- 3-year-old Quest rookie. This will be Lefty's first Quest; however, he finished everything (including Iditarod) last year. He has been leading a lot in training, so like Katy, I'm hoping he'll be one of the go-to leaders. He's a bit of a weirdo, but he's lovable and has limitless energy.
Fenton- 3-year-old Quest rookie. Like his brother Lefty, Fenton finished everything last year. He's not a leader, but he seems to have an exceptionally short recovery time and is always ready to go when it's time to pull the hook. Fenton doesn't make much noise or bang his harness, but he stands tall and alert to let you know it's game time.
Belle- 3-year-old Quest rookie. Belle has been looking great in training, but I'll be honest, she was dog #18 on the Quest roster. With the minor injuries to other dogs, Belle is getting her chance to shine! She's a little more lackadaisical than her siblings, and while she does pull, she likes to leave a little in the tank, which is great for a 1000-mile race.
CJ- 3-year-old Quest rookie. CJ probably has the BEST recovery time of any dog I've ever seen, but that being said, she also is easily bored. If CJ can stay focused throughout the whole race, I'd bet she'll be one of the best dogs in the team. If CJ decides that the Quest trail isn't as interesting as advertised, then well, she might choose to end her race early. I'm hoping she'll stay focused the whole race!
Niagra- 5-year-old Quest veteran. Niagra has been incredible in all the mid-distance races, but she has yet to finish either the Yukon Quest or Iditarod (although she was in both teams) Both times, she was a cheerleader and strong team dog, but small issues would prevent her from finishing. My goal for Niagra- to finish!
Coot- 3-year-old Quest rookie. Coot is starting to hit his prime and is looking stronger than ever. He loves to eat, loves to pull, and especially loves to pop my snowhook (meaning he gets the team moving even when I want them to remain stopped). He finished the Iditarod last year, so he's ready!
Drake- 3-year-old Quest rookie. Drake will most likely be running a lot with his brother Coot. They both have similar gaits and work well together, plus there's not a more lovable pair to snuggle when camping. Drake is a monster in the hills, so watch out Eagle Summit!
Jana- 5-year-old Quest veteran. Jana really stepped it up in last year's Iditarod and ran the last 750 miles in lead, so she's my secret weapon. The responsibility of leading can occasionally be a big burden for Jana, so she'll remain comfortably in team until it's time for her speed! This little girl has finished everything and never had a slack tug- she can do anything!
Drummer- 5-year-old Quest rookie. Drummer has really come out of her shell this year. Even though she's been with the kennel for three years now, she's made me work hard for her affection! Recently, I feel like I've finally gotten in her good graces. Drummer has finished ever race that she's ever started, loves to eat, and does best when running with her sister Jana.
Rucu- 4-year-old Quest veteran. This. Dog. He's my rock. He'll be running with Fenton since they're about the same height. Even though he's not a leader, Rucu takes it upon himself to make sure that the sled never stops moving.
Supai- 4-year-old Quest veteran. Like his brother Rucu, Supai is just rock solid. I'll probably run him with his sister Kindi because I love to run siblings together. They also both inhale their food on the trail, so this way they won't be stealing food from neighbors.
Kindi- 4-year-old Quest veteran. Kindi is looking stronger than ever. She's built like her mom, Scooter, and can sometimes get a sore tricep if we're training too fast. Because of this, Kindi stayed home during Copper Basin and is 150%- she's ready to dominate the Quest.
Goblin- 4-year-old Quest rookie. For those of you who followed our Iditarod last year, you'll probably recognize this name. Goblin officially joined Ryno Kennel a couple weeks ago from Sebastian Schnuelle. Since running in the 2016 Iditarod and falling in love with his shy but affectionate personality, I've been pestering Sebastian about Goblin. I can't wait to run another 1000-miles with him.
And there you have it! The final 14!
You might notice that some big names are missing from the roster this year. Truthfully, I was pretty devastated when I made the call for them to sit out this race because they're some of my main leaders and core teammates. I have so much trust and faith in them that it's hard to imagine traveling 1000-miles without them, but dogs ALWAYS come first. We might have to run a slower pace, and we might not be as competitive, but the entire reason we run is to share this adventure with the dogs. They come first!
Fire's sore shoulder came back. I babied her in training, hoping that I could keep her healthy to run the Quest, but I'm afraid her shoulder issue is becoming more common as she ages. Fire will forever be one of the best leaders that I've ever had the honor of following. Fingers crossed that next year, she'll be healthy. If not, she'll be the BEST puppy trainer around!
Ham believes that he should be on the team, but the vets and I say no. During the Copper Basin, Ham developed a bump about the size of a dime just above the middle toe on his back paw. It never seemed to cause him discomfort, but I wanted to get it checked out before embarking on a 1000-mile race. Sure enough, the bump formed due to an agitated toe tendon (the vets have a much more complicated phrase, but that's my dumbed down understanding). Even if they aren't causing pain, tendons take several months to heal. Ham is unhappily resting the remainder of the season, but he'll be glad when he's 100% next year!
Cartel's tricep has been a little tight the past couple of weeks. Typically, long massages and heat packs are enough to loosen up triceps, but her's has been very persistent. Cartel has started every race with me, so it was a very hard decision to leave her behind.
Perm has a tight pectoral muscle. Like a tricep, you can often work out the knots. Most people would never know that anything was bothering Perm; however, after the last long run before Quest, If I rubbed her pectoral in just the right way, I could see that she was a little uncomfortable. She was another one that was yelling "Put me in coach!" but she unfortunately has to sit this one out.
Boone, ahh Boone. If a human, Boone would be an athletic supermodel. The reason I say supermodel is because she occasionally likes to watch her weight and skips meals. The Copper Basin was a trial run to see if she could maintain her weight. While she did eat pretty well during the Copper Basin, she skipped a few meals at the kennel after the race and doesn't have enough reserves to start a 1000-mile race where she'll be burning 10,000-12,000 calories a day. I'm working on finding out exactly what kinds of food Boone craves at different times so that she'll be ready for a 1000-miler in the future.
So while I'm disappointed that these amazing athletes won't be in the team, I'm very very excited to give some of the less proven dogs an opportunity to shine! We can't wait to hit the trail tomorrow!