Feb 22-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: February: Feb 22-07
Preparations    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by David Murto
Chow time    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by David Murto
Nighttime crowd    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by David Murto
Pack passing pack    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli
Getting a leg up    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli
The Winner!    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 06:27 am:

The Upper Peninsula had its share of races over the weekend, first with the Mini-Baja we featured on Tuesday and then in Marquette, the UP 200 Dog Sled races. Luckily we had some "roving reporters" to bring us photos and news of the competition.

The first three shots were taken by David Murto and sent in by his wife Kathie, who said it was quite an exciting race and they can't wait until next year's run. David's top photo provides us a look at how some of the dogs and sleds are transported. Then how the dogs are supplied with the fuel needed to run the race. With the third shot proving just how popular this is for the crowds lined up in anticipation.

The next three photos were supplied to us by Aladino Mandoli, with one pack of dogs, passing another pack that looks raring to go. Then a photo of a musher helping the team of dogs with a push of a foot. Last, but by no means least, the Winner - Tim Calhoun, who emerged as the top dog of the event!

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 06:29 am:

Great pictures!

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 06:56 am:

Thanks for the great pictures of the UP 200 Dog Sled races! Thank you for the closeups of the dog teams. I see some dogs have boots on, but others don't for this race. I think, but I'm not sure, that boots are required for all dogs for the Iditarod. I am amazed at the large crowd packed in to watch the beginning of the race in Marquette!

I have been fascinated with watching and/or hearing about dog sled races since I first watched some of the Iditarod on TV many, many years ago. I found then a book with the history of the Iditarod to read to my sons. What an awesome journey to try to save the people in a town that the big race them tried to honor!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 06:59 am:

Looks like "a great time was had by all" dogs!

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 07:11 am:

I've loved dog sled racing ever since reading Jack London novels as a kid :)

Have never seen one live, however...must go next year....or are there any others on the schedule close by?

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 07:24 am:

I have always wanted to see the dog sled racing. So far, no luck.
However, this past weekend, after my husband and I rendezvoused
with our daughter in the LP to visit with my dad, she did have the
experience. Driving back to Ishpeming on Sunday afternoon, she
saw the sleds racing alongside the road. What an incredible
experience. Magical.

I will show today's pictures to my students. They will love them!

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 07:30 am:

I would also love to see it some time. Look! They are wearing booties!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 07:41 am:

Only some of them are, Brooke.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 08:36 am:

Nice shots. Jack London was my favorite author, writing about the cold north country, this reminds me of his books too!!

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 08:37 am:

Mary, did you mean "Rover Reporter"? Nice to see pictures of this U.P. event and looks like it is a great activity for the people in Marquette with the great turnout downtown.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 08:39 am:

Excellent pics! "Get out of the way, coming through!"

By S Milford (Grannymim) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 08:40 am:

from Memphis,TN
I love this site - I start my day with it. Of course, there are the beautiful pictures and the enjoyable chatting plus I usually learn something interesting. My interest was sparked today to learn a little about the Iditarod...all I had known before was that it was a dog sled race - somewhere. But as the official Iditarod site states - 'the Iditarod is more than a race ... it's a commemoration - The Spirit of Alaska!

The Iditarod Trail, which is now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Alaska to interior mining camps, basically from Anchorage to Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made, legends were born.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life-saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened and serum had to be brought in; by dog mushers and their faithful dogs.

The Iditarod is a commemoration of those days, a past that Alaskans honor and of which they are proud.'

Read all about it on http://www.iditarod.com/learn/

By Charles In Esky (Charlesinesky) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 08:46 am:

Mywife, my sister-in-law, and I were up to Marquette Friday
night to see the beginning of this race. What fun! Best place to
watch it, I think, is near Baby Cakes biscuit and hot coffee shop.
The temp was mild, but hot coffee was still most welcome. We
stood next to a proud parent of a student at NMU> He said he
and his wife had wanted to see their daughter, and she said this
was the time to come to catch all the fun downtown. He added
that he had to call over a dozen places to stay before one said
they had a room thanks to a late cancellation. I bet the local
merchants don't mind all that attention at all, eh?

By Greta Jones (Urbanescapees) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 09:55 am:

Great pictures. Wish I could've seen it. By the way, I wonder how the dogs get into and down from the top level of their truck. Good day to all. :)

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 09:56 am:

There is a GREAT kids' movie called Balto about dog sledding along the original Iditarod trail. You should definitely rent it. It's based on a true story. It gives me goose bumps to think of it! It's AWESOME!

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:00 am:

The Balto movie is about that 1925 diphtheria epidemic that Grannymin mentions in her post.

By Tara Opsteen-VanDyke (Vanopst) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:26 am:

Thanks for sharing the pics from the race. We go up every year. We are big Sled dog race fans--I teach Iditarod to middle schoolers. I also am part of a group called the "Bootie Brigade," and we make booties for Iditarod mushers that need help. I also make booties for other mushers, and this year I just happened to make them for the winner of the UP 200--Tim Calhoun! I had no expectations of how he would do, but boy was it a fun race to follow with him in the lead the whole time!

In regards to booties, mushers are required to have them for their dogs, but they are not required to have their dogs bootied at all times. It depends on the snow/ice conditions, which the mushers are very adept at figuring out.

I have pictures and stories of the UP 200 up on my blog: http://armchairmusher.blogspot.com

Also check out www.up200.org for more info on the race. It really is worth checking out!

By kathie Murto (Murtomania) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:28 am:

The dogs are actually lifted into the truck by the handlers/mushers. They pick them up and place them on the mushers shoulders and the dogs crawl into the "doggie condos".
Charles- you must have been standing right next to us in front of Baby Cakes- that is where we were standing and I agree it was the best place to see the start of the race. Although if you want to get a musher in action, walk down the street to first turn of the race and you will see the mushers in full race mode. It was a great experience.

Another great book to read is Sue Henry's series. It is all about her racing in the Iditarod.

(Mary the second photo was taken by Kathie Murto)

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:47 am:

The Balto movie must be based on the Balto book, that I read to my sons. It is a wonderful story! I think I remember that there is a statue of Balto. What a great dog!

Musher Susan Butcher, who set a number of Iditerod records passed away very recently, leaving he husband (also a musher) and two young daughters. The doctors thought that her cancer had been in full remission, but during a regular checkup last fall, they discovered that it had come back with a vengeance. I believe that this year's race has some sort of memorial to her.

Another movie that is more on the light, fun side, is a comedy, Snow Dogs, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr, and Coburn.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:56 am:

Another dog sledding movie that will tear at your heart is Eight Below. That is also based on a true story. Have some tissues handy when you watch it, but well worth the tears.

In the Balto movie they show that there is a statue in Central Park in NYC.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 11:57 am:

From what I understand, sled dogs can be depended on to see you to your destination in a white-out blizzard. That sort of independence and intelligence had survival value, and thus "northern dogs" do not have the same attitude towards obedience as, say, a golden retriever. At least, that was the case with our Alaskan Malemute, now deceased. She was law-abiding---no peeing in the house, no biting, no stealing food---but not particularly obedient. I liked her character, she seemed more like an adult than some other dogs I've known.

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:09 pm:

MANY, MANY years ago when I lived in Anchorage, I was able to walk down the street where I lived and watch the beginning of the Iditarod - what an experience. Wish I could've been UP there to see the UP 200!

By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:21 pm:

....and all the dogs are smiling!

By kathie Murto (Murtomania) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:26 pm:

The sled dogs must be able to see really well in a "white out" because they sure had one at their last check in point at Wetmore!! We went to the check in point at 12:01 am on 2-18-07. We were very excited be able to see Tim come in first at this check point. Just before Tim came in there was a total white out! The only thing we could see was the light on Tim's head and the beacon on the lead dogs. My camera focused on the snowflakes and made the snow look like golf balls!

By jeffryeleconte (Upwannabee) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:26 pm:


By CAL, Oshkosh WI (Cal) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:31 pm:

Coincidentally I was flipping through the channels last night and came upon "Snow Dogs" on the Disney Channel. I'm sure that one is not very true-to-life though.

By Alex J. Tiensivu (Ajtiensivu) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:40 pm:

These pix are awesome. Looks like a lot of fun. Wish I could have seen this in person!

By S Milford (Grannymim) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 12:57 pm:

from Memphis, TN, again -
Today I've become a dog-sledding fan!
Tara's pictures and stories of the UP 200 on her blog are so informative and delightful - especially the picture of her little daughter Emmaline and her 'stuffed-dog' team!
Wikipedia has a lot of information about Balto, the brave lead dog on the Mercy Race to Nome, and a picture of the statue in New York City's Central Park (I tried to post the pic but I'm lacking in that know-how).
After the success of the serum mission from Anchorage to Nome in 1925, Balto and the musher Gunnar Kaasen became celebrities. The next year the statue of the brave husky was erected in New York City's Central Park. Balto and his companions were bought by vaudeville sideshow operators and toured the country for the next two years. Hearing of this, Cleveland Ohio residents raised $2,000 to purchase the seven dogs and gave them a permanent home at the Cleveland Zoo in March 1927. They received a hero's welcome, attracting more than 15,000 visitors on their first day in the zoo.
(I'm guessing that's ice formed on the mouths of the dogs in the last picture-?)

By kathie Murto (Murtomania) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 01:31 pm:

SMilford you are correct it was ice on the mouths of the dogs.BUT there was also ice on the beards of the mushers!

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 01:53 pm:

My class had a look at the site and said "Cool!" " Wow!" and
assorted other comments.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 01:57 pm:

I think the Snow Dogs movie is meant to be more of a spoof on dog sled races, than to represent a real dog sled race. But, they never claimed that it was the Iditarod. I like to watch spoofs from time to time, as a way to relax. It has some really funny parts (ok, slapstick, in some cases) in it, and it is heartwarming.

Also, I have read that it takes different personalities for different positions on the dog team/chain. It takes a certain personality for the lead dog, and a different personality for the wheel dogs, etc. Wheel dogs would not make good lead dogs, usually. And, a really good lead dog can be very valuable. I think that sled dog teams are not always a single breed for the above reasons. And, they often have mixed breeds (within a dog), with just the right amount of a certain breed in them, closely watching breeding lines, to get the characteristics that they are looking for.

By Dunerat (Dunerat) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 01:57 pm:

The dogs in the photos all look like they have shorter hair than the conventional view of huskies or malamutes. Do they trim their fur to help them run cooler in races in the lower 48?

By Tara Opsteen-VanDyke (Vanopst) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 02:18 pm:


No, they do not trim the hair. The dogs you see running in the UP 200 pictures are Alaskan Huskies. They are mixed breeds, bred to take all of the best qualities needed for running sled dog races. The hair is one of the traits. These are the same types of dogs that run in the Iditarod. In fact, many of the dogs that ran in the UP 200 have been in the Iditarod. There are a few teams of Siberian Huskies that run in the Iditarod, and I believe there was a team of Malamutes in the UP 200 this year, but typically you will find Alaskan huskies.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 03:11 pm:

UPWANNABE, I don't know what breed your puppy is. However, Malemutes' claim to fame was never their speed but their strength; at a weight pulling competition that I watched, one dog could pull 1,000 pounds. And I seem to remember that was the low end of the possible.

By Dorothy Stewart (Bootjackbabe) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 07:15 pm:

Greetings from Biloxi, Mississippi. It's 73 degrees here--not like the Copper Country.
Hurricane damage here is unbelievable---even after two years the place looks like a war zone.
Miss the UP---this is definately not God's country rightnow.

By kathie Murto (Murtomania) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 07:23 pm:

FYI, I believe that all the dogs on Tim Calhoun's team have run the Iditarod already. I asked around about the dogs hair and was told the reason why the hair is shorter is because the husk's have thick hair and they get over heated- Can you believe that!!

By Heikki (Heikki) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:14 pm:

The lead dog by the name of Balto was known as the "newspaper dog", given more attention than the lead dog Togo that Leonhard Seppala mushed over the greatest distance and most dangerous leg of the serum run to Nome. "Togo" is the book I remember reading in grade school as the hero of the run. Why Balto became more popular than Togo remains a mystery to me.

By Tara Opsteen-VanDyke (Vanopst) on Thursday, February 22, 2007 - 10:50 pm:

Yes, 8 of Tim Calhoun's dogs ran on Dr. Ron Cortte's Iditarod team last year, and 4 of them ran on Keith Aili's team in various races. He has spent the last year putting together his own kennel, buying dogs from those men plus others.

Yes, sled dogs can get overheated. In fact, they much prefer to run in temps below zero. So while the temps at last year's UP 200 (very below zero windchills) were bad for us spectators, they were great for the dogs.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Friday, February 23, 2007 - 07:35 am:

Excellent article on Leonhard Seppala and his contribution to the breeding and racing of sled dogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonhard_Seppala

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