Monday, February 01, 2010

Annie's Army

"If you want to make the world a better place, take a look in the mirror and... Change....."- MJ

And they're off!!! The heart of racing season begins this weekend with the start of the YukonQuest in Fairbanks. I love this race unlike any other, it truly has a grip on my heart and soul for this is where I learned to...? SURVIVE! What has me excited for this year's saga? Well, competing against dogmushing friends is always fun and challenging but in all honesty it's Terra, the LAND, that keeps the anticipation heightened. One thousand miles of pure pleasure, this will be our 1oth Quest race but with so many amazing views I'll always feel like the eternal rookie. Heading over Eagle Summit, sunsets on the Yukon river, the valley view from up on top of American summit- Dawson City- the hills heading in to Scroggie creek. The twisty rollercoaster ride just outside of Carmacks and finally the Emerald valley that guides one for the last remaining miles into the wondrous city of Whitehorse. And best of all? 14 of your favorite furry friends to share each and every exhilarating experience with. Quest mushers truly are some of the luckiest humans on the globe!

This year's squad is dubbed Annie's Army- along with her brothers Walter and Watson, 3 of her sons will be participating- Jester, George and Amigo. The other dominant litter is from our retired leader Omen, they are- Delilah, Tyler, Tolliver and Ellsworth. Rounding out the team will be Shifter, a pooch we picked up from Lance Mackey last year, Zodiac who we acquired from Lance's bro Jason. Tamra's boyfriend Nathan will be back again as well as my hero-Mr. Wonka. (check out our website for pics) It'll be an interesting group of kids to play with considering the average age of the team is 3-4 years old. If you are a fan whose only desire is to follow a 'winning team' I suggest you check out someone else's internet sight- our kennel's sole purpose is having fun. I've seen too many other mushers over the years lose their souls all in the pursuit of defeating others. That type of attitude is not only bad for dogs but for a lengthy dogmushing career as well. Our goal as I've stated in the past is to finish with wagging tails that are ready and roaring to go on to the next adventure. What's best for the Quest? the more finishing squads the better. In mushing just as in life, one should never worry about being 'better' than those around them- just don't beat up on yourself. Take this from an Eagle Scout who has witnessed a thing or 2 over the years- Be Prepared.

We plan on racing in 5 or 6 more competitions this season- the Quest, Iditarod, Roadrunner ( a 100 miler in Whitehorse) possibly the Percy Dewolfe, Yukon Flats 400 as well as the Kobuk 440 in Kotzebue. As in other years it's quite the full slate but if one has a deep passion, their energy is limitless. And that is what mushing is all about- the ENERGY. When you and the team are as one single entity that train is a ROLLING round the bend- and it doesn't matter if you ever see sunshine cuz the beauty of the trail will never end. Here's wishing all my Quest compadres well on the trail. If you want to be successful always remember to lose the stress, compete not with others but with yourself and most importantly- Unleash the BEAST within.
Enjoy the view, Hugh

Paw Partners Rick and Wanda Hilman
Susie Calderwood 49er Feed
Karen Russo Kipmik
Pat Barrett Gerry Willomitzer
Hans Gatt Ray Redington Jr.
June Shelley Caitlin Santos
Sam Harrell Roland Riley
Our awesome handler Elie Lafave!
All of the school teachers and kids we have had the pleasure of visiting.
And so many others- if I forgot you my apologies.
Follow the race :


At 1:39 PM , Blogger Loon said...

With that attitude, Hugh, you'll "win" every race - no matter where you finish!
I strive to remember to have fun above all else.
Thank you for your inspiration,
Happy and safe trails to you and your team.
Mushing Loon

At 7:42 PM , Blogger jplife said...

Like your note there.sounds like you are ready for the trails.Have a safe a blessed race year.

At 8:00 AM , Blogger Leaps and Bounds Kennel said...

good luck on all your races..will be watching your progress online for boththe Quest and Iditarod. Happy Trails and Wagging Tails.

At 1:01 PM , Blogger Lela Kennedy Criswell said...

Dear Tamra & Hugh - when I went to look at pictures of your dogs on your kennel's site, I kept getting a "page not found" error from the "DAWGS" buttons on your site. Would you please fix that link so we can see them? They are doing SO well in the Quest!

At 5:10 AM , Blogger Ute said...

Check another site when wanting to follow a "winning team"? Not at all! Your dogs are all winners just because they have the privilege to be Laughing Eyes Dogs! I follow your team because I want to see winners in life not trophy decorated slaves! And because from you I can learn how to make the eyes of my pooches laugh, too.
So GO DOGS, WAG TAILS, SHINE EYES! Have a lucky trail and win the race your way!


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