Day 1 & 2 – American Dog Derby

Day 1: Beautiful morning, trails were in excellent shape just like a highway. We were first out and it was nice to have electronic timing, but there was no countdown. BRK made the best of it with the help of some enthusiast school kids. Plenty of high 5’s up and down the starting line. Then we were off!

Dogs were very eager to run and Jerry stood on the drag mat the whole way. We returned to the truck in first place of the day with the dogs screaming for more. 

That night the Ashton Chamber of Commerce put on a great “Soup challenge.” We paid $2 person and got to sample10 homemade soups plus dessert. We sampled ALL of them (some twice) and then voted on our top two favorites. 

Day 2: Saturday morning awoke to warm temperatures, but before race time the clouds rolled in and light breeze picked up making for great temperatures. Once again the trail was excellent. 

BRK finished first in the event overall, putting our name on the trophy once more. John Stewart finished 2nd, followed by Laurette Kimball 3rd and Chris Adkins in 4th. 

In the 6 dogs class there were 17 entries. So happy that Liz Stewart and Alix Crittenden finished 1st and 2nd! Jacobite Racing was a pleasure to hang out with this weekend. 

The Saturday events also included Skijoring – 1st place Lila Wheatley, 2nd Linda Larson and 3rd Scott Lee. The two junior mushers were out next followed snowshoe racing, kids sled rides and dog weight pulls to finish out the weekend. 

Following a quick awards ceremony everyone said their goodbyes and talked how to make it bigger and better for next year’s 100th year. 

ALL YOU MUSHERS WITHIN A DAYS DRIVE….THE AMERICAN DOG DERBY HAS BEEN HERE FOR US FOR 99 YEARS. WE HOPE THAT YOU WOULD CONSIDER RETURNING THE FAVOR AS A COMPETITOR NEXT YEAR! This race has changed formats to meet the mushers requests. Any and all ideas for a grand 100 year celebration are encouraged and wanted. Let’s all give something back to this small Idaho town that has given so much to us through the years!

 

99th American Dog Derby – Ashton Idaho

This was a couple of years ago! Great trophy the continues to add to every year with the winner of the big race. Jerry is on there 5 times :)
This was a couple of years ago! Great trophy that continues to add the name every year of the big race winner. Jerry is on there 5 times 🙂

As we headed out this morning I (Sandy) had to start cleaning the house. This time of year, mud season drives me nuts and I cannot stand to come home to a really dirty house. This of course drives Jerry NUTS! (insert smiley face)

Still we were out of the house by 9am and headed into town to get a couple of chores finished. On the truck is Sled Rat – Little Bit, along with the team; Culliver, Kristoff, Quincey, BJ, George, Amelia, Betsy, Tweel, Abby, Mattie. Also, Anna is on board. She is recouping from a herniated navel surgery and is doing just fine. 

Our drive today was the full spectrum. We started off with clouding sky and lite drizzle. By the time we got to Jackson, we had wind and snow. Heading over the Teton Pass we hit darn near whiteout conditions and then dry roads from Victor to Ashton. 

Vet check …smooth sailing! BRK is #2 in the 10 dogs race. This year due to the warm weather there will be no 12 dog race. The 10 dog race has been shortened to the 8 dog course (22 miles) for safety. The course goes over rolling potato and is known for it’s flat light and low visibility. 

The people are always full of hospitality and we really enjoy coming to Ashton! Fill you in with all of the days Trail tales tomorrow after day one of the race. 

Final leg – Evanston

The team in the shoot and ready to roll!
The team in the shoot and ready to roll!

The final leg: Evanston Stage 8 Eukanuba Stage Stop Race

Once again the alarm went off and we were up and ready to roll at 5am. Drop and fed dogs. Everyone looked good! First mushers truck to the trailhead. Vet check at 8am and race started at 9am. BRK start time 9:33.

Smaller trail met up with a larger groomed trail only a mile and half out. Hard right and away we go. Except the dogs went left as some other musher had done knocking the stacks down and not putting it back. Three different times I led the team over to the right putting the stacks back only to go back to the sled and they’d left again. I was getting very tired and there happened to be two gentle sitting in a truck not 25 yards away watching. I hollered and waved my arms asking for help and then they came to helped me get on my way. I believe they were volunteers assigned to that corner. 

We didn’t have the best leaders up front, but the combination of Culliver and Sonja worked so good in Pinedale I tried to recreate that team. And that folks was the down fall of the day. 

It the 17 mile mark Precious got a ride in the basket because she was sore after going thru a section of trail that had been plowed and reapplied snow to, I believe she stepped on a big chunk of ice and it moved causing her to bruise the back of her wrist, so she rod in the sled the rest of the way. 

Almost every time we past a musher or met a snow machine Culliver and Sonja would stop causing a tangle. This happen so many times I lots count, but I was determent to work them through it. I had finally had enough after losing too much time and put Tweel up front with Sonja and place Culliver in point. The dogs did great the rest of the way in. 

We slowed a little bit on the hills due to having extra weight, due to Precious in the bag. Arrived at the finish line, crowd was wonderful! Precious received ice for 10 minutes then followed by a massage and sweat wrap and is resting comfortable in her box on the truck.

It was a pretty good day, it could have been better BUT that’s racing. 7th place finish today and 5th overall.  Darn proud of our poochies!

Kemmerer – Stage 7

Jerry with Junior musher Caleb in Kemmerer
Jerry with Junior musher Caleb in Kemmerer

Kemmerer – Stage 7 Eukanuba Stage Stop Race

Great night sleep at the Fairview Inn in Kemmerer! Did the usual morning chores with pups and headed to the race site 45 mins away, arriving at 6:45 am. 

Today’s lineup: Tweel, Abby, Precious, Amelia, Kristoff, Ranger, Danger, BJ, George, Betsy and Little D. Yearlings are underlined. 

Weather report was highs in the 20’s and wind. The wind never materialized, but it did get warm on top. Abby was in lead with her mother Tweel. She kept jumping in Tweel’s face and jumping in front of her. So, after a few miles I stopped, shorted her tug line and doubled her neck line. This kept her from cutting Tweel off and running us off the trail. 

Had a good run until the hills and Abby decides to say “HI” to everybody behind her. She seemed to be saying something along the lines of “look at me, I’m in lead!, breaking our momentum on several climbs. She was doing such a good job otherwise. Her job today was to gain experience. She drove the team fairly well, but not as well as her sister Mattie yesterday. Abby seemed to be looking at her mother from guidance on the turnoffs. 

It really got warm on top and the snow was sticky and mushy for 5 to 6 miles. I felt the team really slow down. On the way back the trail improved as we decended through mostly shaded areas. We passed a few team along the way.  Caught sight of Bruce a little after the halfway, but I could not catch him, staying within 2 mins. of him the whole way. 

I knew we were having good runs because we never saw either Streeper team all day! JR had an excellent run. The only time I saw him was in the parking lot before and after the run. 

We finished in 2nd place today and are thrilled with this performance. It is so fun to be racing with such GOOD people. This is one of the best Stage Stop families ever! The race tomorrow will be nail biting. JR, Jerry and Bruce will be racing for 3, 4 & 5. JR is up on Jerry by almost 3 mins. and Jerry is up on Bruce by 1 min. CRAZY! We all came to race and that is exactly what we are doing. 

Big Piney – Stage 6

Big Piney: This mornings lineup – Tweel, Mattie, Amelia, Precious, Culliver, Kristoff, Ranger, Quincey, Danger, Sonia and Little D. Love is in the air over half of the girls are in heat. 

A new and wonderfully groomed trail by Wyoming State Trails with a course running 43 miles. Trail was in decent shape this morning, much better then the old trail would have been. We caught JR at the 12 mile mark, caught a passed Bruce at the 15 mile mark. Our turn around time was pretty close to Buddy’s. Dogs ran very steady. After their superb performance yesterday I did not want to ask to much of them. We played it safe and ran a consist race keeping it steady on the flat and fairly strong in the hills. 

We can across the finish line in 3rd place for the day. Could not be prouder of this team. 

After finishing up watering, snacks, foot care and more the dogs are in their boxes as we travel on a snow blown road to Kemmerer, WY for a banquet tonight and a race Stage 7 tomorrow. Until then, we’ll see you then. 

Oops! One sour note…Jerry has to return the yellow bib back to Buddy 🙁

Special footnote:  Jerry carries with him a leather pouch on his sled. It has some of our (much loved and missed) Badger’s ashes. Badger was a once in a lifetime dog. Setting many records, competing in many races, but his spirit is still with us. As there is 8 dogs on this years team that are from his bloodline. Lots of kids at the starting which always makes Jerry smile. He loves to give them high fives! Jerry always gives me a kiss goodbye as he heads out for the run whether at home on a race, After come this he turned to the team the morning sun shined off of the yellow bib reflecting on the dog team and Jerry thanked each one of them. It was a very emotional moment as the countdown continued 10, 9, 8, 7….it was as if Badger energy was all around us!

Pinedale Stage 5

Pinedale – Stage 5 Eukanuba Stage Stop Race

A little below zero this morning at 5am as the dogs stretched their legs and had breakfast. Truck was packed and ready to roll 37 miles to the Cora staging area/ race start. Drivers meeting 8am. Race start 9am, Jerry’s start 9:24am. 

Freshly groomed trails were a welcome site compared to the last couple of days. Today’s team: Sonya, Culliver, Tweel, Amelia, Kristoff, Ranger, BJ, George, Betsy, Little D and Precious. 

The dogs really wanted to run so I stood on the drag pad to keep the speed at 14 MPH or under for the first 15 miles of flat to rolling terrain. Then we started going up some hills. Caught and passed 2 teams go up the hill. The trail leveled off and the team was really wanting to run, back on the drag pad we were. During the coarse of this run we had several stops, some tangles either because the leaders would stop or while trying to pass other team we got tangles. 

All fellow competitors were very courteous on the trail as usual. We came upon a hard 90 degree corner that I knew was going to be difficult. The point dogs took the command “Haw” the the lead dogs say “huh?”….piling the team up like an accordion while I tipped over in the soft snow. Not bad only one crash today! 

I think the team needs a new musher! hahaha

As we continued on the it seemed like the team kept getting stronger. I let them run a bit when it was safe and protected them with brakes when it wasn’t.

We started passing teams every few miles having a small tangle with almost every pass. We got to the last 7 miles and I figured there was only 2 teams ahead of us. We slowly passed them both before the finish line. I knew we had a good run, but noticed others were running really good too. So, I was a bit surprise I heard we took first today.  

We received the yellow bib at the banquet…quite an honor. Honestly, I dream come true. 

Dogs are all in great shape. Eating and resting well and now it is time for us to rest before the next drop at 9:30pm. 

Stage 4 – Lander

Lander- Stage 4 Eukanuba Stage Stop Race

MORE SNOW –  South Pass was OPEN! There was lots of confusion and talk about South Pass roads being closed. When we woke up the first thing we did was hop onto the WYDOT website at 4am to see that the roads were open, but there was an advisory and that is what confused folks. 

6am on the road with EVERYTHING loaded including a couple of extra dogs that will be moving to new homes after this race. 

7am after traveling on some great roads, not too icy at all we landed at the stage around where Jerry trains, Louis Lake parking lot. We let the dogs out to stretch their legs. Drivers meeting at 8am. Race started at 9:00, BRK went out at 9:18 with 11 dogs on the line. Tweet, Mattie, Abby, Amelia, Precious, Betsy, Little D, Sonja, Danger, Quincey and Ranger. 

The trail had been groomed last night, but due to high winds and more snow another SLOG was in the works. We started out fairly conservative, mile marker 5 we passed our first team. Mile marker 11, we passed 2 more teams. Mile marker 15 WE got passed. Approximately mile marker 18, where we leave the Continental Divide Trail towards Worthen Medow the volunteer trail crew neglected to put up any snow fence or leave a person there and the team thought they should go home that way. After all it’s only a few more miles to home! (Wrong way)

I spent at least 10 – 15 mins. exhausting myself turning the team around and around trying to get them to go the right way. Finally, the team was so confused and I was so exhausted we started on the correct trail. After about a mile or two the teams’ spirits picked up again and we made the turn around and back out headed the right direction.I requested the trail crew head up to the so called ‘Place of the incident” and get a person up there so no other teams ended up in Lander. 

We passed said point on the way back the team felt defeated, like someone slooowwwly let the air out of the tires. The long climb up Blue Ridge was slower then any training run we’ve ever had and yet we somehow passed a team in the process. Cresting Blue Ridge at 9500 feet the team picked up speed somewhat. We began the loooongggg decent in Louis Lake at half throttle. Team Magnusson passed before the next climb leaving the lake and we followed them up to the top. Where they left us in snow flakes. 

After another decent and climb I stopped the team and let them roll around in the snow and did a ‘Happy Dance.” They caught their breath and headed for the truck. With Streeper teams lurking in the distance it looked like we were going to be sacked, but we held them off to the finish line. 

BRK finished pretty strong considering the day with a 5th place finish. Which brings us up to a overall placing of 6th. 

Headed to Pinedale for a banquet. We dropped and fed the dogs 1/2 way before we lost daylight. Everyone looks good. Elwood is resting really well, sucking up ALL the attention and massages he can get. He is much better today! Culliver enjoyed his day off and may be in the team tomorrow.  

Tomorrow schedule put us racing out of Cora at the Green River Lakes trailhead where there is no cell coverage. It is suppose to be below zero tomorrow. OH BOY!

After that we head to Big Piney aka “the coolest stop in the nation” which is extremely limited in the internet coverage. So, not sure about blog post for tomorrow. 

Headed in to the banquet! Good night!

2016 Eukanuba Race – First 3 Stages

Jackson Hole – Stage 1 (Jerry talking)

Everything went well until the end. Everybody was stopping their teams at the park. To avoid hitting another team that stopped suddenly in from me, I swerved to the left and caught another teams planted snow hook, suddenly stopping our team in it’s tracks and I launched over the handlebar. But, I had my snow hook in hand and planted it as I landed. SAFE! Very sore ribs and hip. 

And then after we put the team up I was coiling up the gang-line when another team came along and ran over my gang-line  with their brake sending me off my FEET again!

Then we went off to the mushers reception and guess who we found???? The Shade Family 🙂 Fun was had by all as we enjoyed fireworks, hamburgers and torchlight parade. 

We fed the dogs and headed out over the pass to Driggs Idaho. Getting in  around 9:30pm. Dropped and watered the dogs, then headed to bed around 11pm.  Long day and lots of fun. 

Driggs – Stage 2

Alarm went off at 5:30am and the craziness begins. Readied ourselves for the conditions outside and head out to let the dogs out, stretch their legs, feed the dogs their breakfast soup. STILL SNOWING

On our way by 6:30am arriving at the staging area at 7am  First musher dog truck there. Great parking spot, right by the starting line. STILL SNOWING! The trail groomer had groomed the trail the night before. Since then there was well over a foot of fresh snow. STILL SNOWING & BLOWING!

Mushers meeting at 8am. Discussion of rules and a small break in the weather. 

9am Race starts. Our start time was 9:18am SNOWING LIGHTLY! 

The race trail crew had snow machine tracks for us to follow the race trail. The crew does set out markers which are a 4 foot wooden lath with orange paint on top. These are placed along the route showing us which way to go at trail junctions. Lots of recreational snow machines use these trail systems also. With this much snow it makes it difficult for the dogs to stay in the right trail.  When you got off of the main trail you knew it, the dogs would go for a swim in the deep snow. 

The first 10 miles was a steady climb and our teams hill experience really paid off. We ran 11 dogs, 4 of them yearlings. Culliver, Ranger, Mattie, Amelia, Little D, Elwood, Danger, George, BJ, Quincey and Kristoff. Descending 6 miles off the other side, going through several tight switchbacks to a turnaround and back, up, and over to the finish line. It was a tough trail but everyone (8 dog team as well) had to run it. 

We arrived at the finish line in 5th place and happy with the run. All dogs looking good. No injuries with the yearlings barking for more. 

When the dogs first come in it is important to let them cool down. So, we leave them on the line to rest, catch their breath for 10 mins. and then we water them, then they get a froze electrolyte snack consisting of powdered electrolyte, ground meat and water, followed by 2 salmon steaks each and more water. 

Then we move onto foot care. Each gets each paw carefully examined for splits. Every paw will get a special homemade foot salve to relief any issues. Off comes the harnesses. At this time each dogs gets a quick muscle rub down. The point of this rub down is to catch any tight or sore muscles and treat as needed. In the boxes they go! We are on the road and back to Driggs by 2:30pm for a Meet n Greet with the public and to view their lovely ice sculptures. 

4pm Once done with the downtown fun we let the dogs out to stretch their legs and have some supper. We grabbed a quick coffee and it’s off to Alpine with the dogs resting in their hay filled boxes. 

We arrived in Alpine very slowly due to slick roads but all is good and we are safe and sound. Once we get everything into our room. We drop the dogs and water them. Monitoring each dog for any issues. All dogs seemed will rested and full. Back in the boxes they go! 10pm Last dog drop of the evening. They get to do their thing and then back in their boxes and to bed we all go. 

Alpine – Stage 3

5:30am alarm goes off! AND IT’S SNOWING! By 6:30am all dogs have had their breakfast and back to their warm beds. We finish packing the room up and putting everything back into the truck and realize there is a COFFEE SHOP open next door. Once we complete our caffeine fix, we are on to the race site just a few miles away. 

Arriving at 7:15 ish. Driving meeting is at 8am. All is good!

Race start 9am. BRK goes out at 9:24am. Today’s lineup: Tweel, Precious, Betsy, Amelia, Little D, Sonya, Kristoff, Culliver, Elwood and Ranger. 

The trail was a long 60 miles following the beautiful Grays River. It was a wide good trail with LOTS of snow machine traffic. The trail has a lot of southern exposure which means direct sunshine which causes the trail to get soft and makes hard work for the dogs. 

At mile .5 Jerry misjudged a sharp corner and with the team at full throttle the sled tipped on it’s side and down he went. Holding on and yelling “Whoa, whoa!” They did not stop! Jerry plowed a swath, cutting the corner and back on the trail. Somehow he got to his knees, flipped the sled upright and drug himself back up on the runners. Once standing he cleared his face, pockets, sunglasses etc of the excess packed snow. (Footnote: This was a last minute add on….only because Jerry says, “Oh yay I forgot to tell you about my wipeout.” How does one forget about a wipeout?)

Jerry says at mile 2 1/2 Elwood and Ranger got into a little disagreement so he separated them by changing their positions in the team. Mile 27, Culliver was getting a little tired and not pulling hard like he usually does, so Jerry slowed the team down for the next few miles. Stopping often to let the dogs roll in the snow and cool down. 

After a few miles it worked! The dogs picked up the pace finishing strong in 7th place for the day and 7th overall so far. There is still lots of trail left. 

Elwood is looking forward to an extra day off. His is a little sore and has a bit on his right wrist. We iced and wrapped it. He also got a should vest with hot packs due to sore pectoral muscles. Culliver and Elwood both received a full exam from race vet Lannie Hamilton (Hamilton Vet of Lander) Culliver is fine, just tired. Footnote: We are blessed to live in the same town as Lannie. She has been an Iditarod Vet for many years and has wonderful experience with sled dogs. 

Same routine is done after each run. Cool down, water, snacks, feet, muscles then nap time for the dogs while we move on down the road to the next town, Lander. Feeling very happy to be in our own beds tonight. 

Lander downtown event happens at 4:30pm – 6pm on the 200 block of Main Street, tomorrow Monday Feb. 1st.  Lander Bake Shop will be hosting the 2015 race video. See ya there! 

Remember: We are NOT professional writers, Sandy is a better talker then a typer and we will be almost rummy every time we are attempting to do this blog, so thank you for excepting us as we are! Hugs  FACEBOOK is the place for pictures. Come join us there….  Jerry Bath 

Race Season 2016

12471377_1056088141120827_7401310165869423780_oThat’s my HUBBY Jerry Bath! Almost time for the BIG race..

Click on this link to the Eukanuba Stage Stop Race Facebook Page to follow the 2016 race.

Posted by Sandy Palmer Bath on Friday, January 15, 2016

2015 IPSSSDR has begun!

Actually,  it began on Friday Jan. 30th in Jackson WY with great fanfare. Junior mushers got the ride of their lives going through downtown Jackson with race dogs.

Please make Jerry Bath a friend of yours of Facebook to up to the minute posts.

As for myself, Sandy Bath that is, I stayed home this year for the first half because I was blessed with a respiratory doozy! Feeling like hell and did not want to share or get worse. So, I am looking forward to seeing Jerry tonight and work on the team tomorrow. A big shout out to our oldest son, Ben for going in my place and helping his Dad out.

The Meet n Greet on the 2nd block of Main Street starts at 5pm, ending at 6pm. Lander Bake Shop will be staying open later to join in the festivities. They also have some race programs, as well as Union Cellular, Chisholm’s Jewelry and In My Window. Stop and get one so that you can have your favorite mushers sign them.

We look forward to see the great folks of Lander and thank you for sharing in the 20th Annual IPSSSDR. See ya soon!