Well folks, since I have been relegated to the computer during this race, I will attempt to get this blog rolling again. I know, I know, I’m a bit late, but we’ll back up a couple days and start at the beginning!

It is Iditarod time and this will be Paige and our team’s rookie run to Nome. While Paige is a rookie in the Iditarod, she finished 14th in last years Yukon Quest 1000 mile race, so she has a feel for running a 1000 mile race. She is also starting the race with 10 dogs that ran in Cody’s Yukon Quest team, so she has a very experienced group of dogs that are miled up and ready to roll.

The entire Iditarod experience includes much more than just the race. Mushers must get to Anchorage early in the week to take care of pre-race business, including vet checks, musher meetings, pre -race banquet, sponsor parties and of course the ceremonial start. The Idita-week for Squid Acres, started on Wednesday. Paige drove down to Anchorage and connected with her parents, Susie and Don, who flew in from South Carolina for the festivities.  Thursday the musher meetings started. Here the mushers are primed on the race, rules, and trail reports. They also have a lunch with the Idita-rider. The Idita-riders are the lucky folks that are riding in the mushers sleds during the ceremonial start. The spots are auctioned off and Paige and her brother Steve, bought the spot in Paige’s sled for her father Donald for his birthday.. She was super excited to have her father in the sled, but also very nervous that she would crash in the streets of Anchorage with Dad in the sled


Awesome Sullivan Steakhouse / Squid Acres Kennel hoodie – available at Sullivan’s in Anchorage

Thursday night, Cody rolled in with the dogs and it was time for the banquet. The banquet kicks off the entire race and gives mushers the chance to thank supporters and sponsors and mingle with the public. It is also where the draw for starting position occurs. Paige drew bib #14. We also got the chance to hang out with some of the great folks from Sullivan’s Steakhouse, one of our main sponsors.

Friday night, we were lucky enough to have a party thrown for our kennel at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. They made an amazing meal for our main sponsors and supporters early in the evening and then we moved to the bar to mingle with foks in town for the race. What a dinner and what a blast we had. Our friend Diana played guitar at the bar and we chatted with friends, mushers and fans about the upcoming race.. Sullivan’s Steahouse has been super supportive and we really appreciate all the help this racing season. We hope we can continue this partnership for years to come. Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Anchorage made some great Squid Acres hats and hoodies for us, their staff and for sale at the restaurant.  Stop in and pick one up!

Saturday is the big day for Anchorage. It is the day of the ceremonial start. In the ceremonial start, mushers run 12 dogs down the streets of Anchorage for a short run. It is more of a parade than anything and it is not timed or part of the real race. It is a chance for more fans to see their favorite teams roll through the streets with a smile on their faces. We were helped by a great group of friends to safely get our dogs down to the starting line.

Our ceremonial start handlers.

Our handlers pictured above (from left to right) were Tom Ruskowski, Allison and Alan Heavirland, Jeff Seward, PatTilsworth, Natalie Monnacci, Adele Wiejaczka, and Kristin and Andy Pace. They had the important job of keeping the dog team under control as we moved several blocks from the truck to the starting line (seen at right). I (Cody) rode behind Paige’s sled on a tag sled for even more control of the team.

I mentioned before that Paige was nervous that about a couple of the tight turns on the street with her father/iditarider in her sled. But t. he short parade like run couldn’t have been funner. We gave Don a bag full of old booties that we had stuffed with goodies like candy and Sullivan’s Steakhouse coupons. The kids along the trail would yell “booties” and Don would toss them out to kids along the way.  Thousands of people lined the streets and trails for the 12 mile run holding signs and sharing cookies, hot dogs, refreshments and chants along the way.

A couple notable fans along the way… our friend Matt Rafferty had a big blow horn and had a huge group of people chanting and cheering for Paige.  We stopped with Megan Moody for some photos  and for hot dogs and shots of whiskey.. Great to see our old friends along the way!

Paige, Don, and Cody rolling down 4th Avenue.. Photo by Scott Chesney


Here is the video of leaving the ceremonial starting chute.. What a blast!