Dog sled squad that went viral whittled down to final 14 for endurance race
The dog team have been reduced from a squad of 20 to 14.
A group of sled dogs who went viral earlier in 2019 have been whittled down to a final team ahead of the Iditarod race in Alaska.
The BraverMountain team is made up of Blair Braverman and her husband Quince Mountain, and in January their squad of characterful dogs went viral while training for the 1,000-mile race across the Alaskan wilderness.
But with training over and the race on their doorstep, it was time to announce the lucky bunch of pups selected to join sledder Blair on the adventure from Anchorage to Nome.
Raise your hand if you are ready to meet the BraverMountain 2019 Iditarod team pic.twitter.com/QjiYbpBjc0— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) March 2, 2019
“First, I want to say that we are so proud of ALL our dogs. Every single pup is part of the team, whether or not they run in this particular race,” Blair wrote on Twitter.
“We made this decision based on the dogs’ attitudes in training, their endurance, their enthusiasm for eating a lotta (sic) food, and how well they rest along the trail.”
First on the team sheet is leader Pepe, who Blair has previously said “is smarter than all of us”, adding: “She is basically everyone’s mother.”
1. PEPÉ— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) March 2, 2019
Pepé will be leading the team. She led every single one of my qualifiers and I trust her instincts and wisdom completely. pic.twitter.com/0wtF2lVBDq
Others who made the cut include Flame, Spike, Boo, Colbert and Wickson, all of whom bring something unique to the table when it comes to racing.
2. FLAME— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) March 2, 2019
Do you think I’d go anywhere without this girl?? I’m proud to report that Flame has earned her place on the team through sheer athleticism, not favoritism. She did two tough 80-mile runs last week made it look like a breeze. pic.twitter.com/QOVm71D22H
3. SPIKE— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) March 2, 2019
Pepé’s large-headed son will be following in his mama’s footsteps. pic.twitter.com/5djOsf6kB2
11. COLBERT— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) March 2, 2019
Everyone’s favorite Catholic sled dog will be pointing all his super-powerful energy toward Nome. He is the only dog who may gain weight during the race because we’ll finally let him eat whatever he wants. pic.twitter.com/dK3ZqWdvqt
But while celebration was the theme of the squad announcement, it was tinged with sadness as Blair was forced to recognise that retirement was beckoning for a legend of the team.
“As some of you know, Jenga’s getting older and has been dealing with a touch of arthritis,” Blair wrote.
“It responded well to glucosamine and she’s trained with the team all winter, but she’s let us know in other ways that she’s getting ready to retire and be a lady of leisure.”
Jenga will then join the team for the ceremonial start, before Timmy takes her place.
So in honor of her years of leadership and love (and many more to come), Jenga will be joining the Iditarod team in a position of honor for the ceremonial start. She will lead us through the streets of Anchorage, just like she’s led me through so many miles of wilderness. pic.twitter.com/8pKYjZPfaD— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) March 2, 2019
But what of the pooches who don’t get to race?
“The dogs who don’t race will be staying at the lodge enjoying fun runs and plenty of attention,” wrote Blair. “As far as they’re concerned, they’re the stars.”
To follow the race, click here