We were on the road by 4:00am, with the stars to guide us to Binghamton and then the sun started to break through and stayed with us for the rest of our uneventful trip.
Dan Plosila's scale was used instead of Lisa's (which weighs heavy by at least 3 lbs). Cinnabar weighed in at 111, and Sebastian at 146. Steve Jackson told Sebastian that he squeals like a little girl - LOL! He didn't do much squealing, but just enough to get noticed. Wendy asked me if I minded that Sebastian weighed in in a different class (the 150lb class versus Unlimited) and I said no, he can earn points in 2 classes. I prefer he be the the 150lb class, which is where he belongs. A good weight for him being between 145 to 148.
We had about 30 dogs pulling pro. 3 in the 20lb class, 13 in the 60, 8-10 in the 80, and about another 10 in the 100/125/150/Unlimited classes. After the sanctioned pull, we had around 10 novice dogs pulling.
After weigh ins we celebrated Starbuck's 11th birthday:
As usual, a goodly number of malamutes at this pull. My boys, Susan pulling Cassi in preparation for Nationals; David pulling Harra & Takani; Michele pulling Shiver, Yukon, Tundra & Nikko; Eileen with Kodi, Lori with Elim, LT & Trouble; Pam with Koda. Steve & Wendy's Alaskans were joined by Sammies, pitties, rotties, mixes and the three tiny tots.
Steve Jackson was our chief judge & I apprentice judged the 60lb class under him. He & Wendy judged all the other classes.
20lb class pulled in 25 lb increments & their cart weighed 75 lbs. 60 lb class pulled 100lb increments, 80 lb class pulled 150lb increments and pulled together, the 100/125/150/Unlimited classes pulled 150lb increments & pulled together. The cart weighed 225 lbs.
I took photos of the 20lb, 80lb, early rounds of the 100 & up classes & the novices.. Joan Albro took photos for me of the big dogs once my boys started pulling.
After the 60lb class pulled (11 year old Starbuck coming in 3rd to two of his sons), we took a lunch break, courtesy of John & Michele. John worked the grill & the fryer to provide hamburgers & delicious fries to anyone who wanted. I don't think anyone turned him down. When awards were handed out, he got the best chef award :).
The weather was absolutely glorious. I got some shots of Lisa's front lawn being mowed & the agility setup in her pasture.
Cassi pulled great for Susan in the 80lb class:
Old man Takani also did a good job in the 80lb class for David:
Michele used the pull as a training session for her kids, starting them on the empty cart & every time. Her strategy was a good one, she got some light bulb moments from all of them. The biggest turn around being Yukon. Previously, I had lots of photos of Yukie looking handsome standing in the chute looking at Michele. No more, the boy was working! All her kids looked great pulling.
Harra also worked great for David:
I started Cinnabar at 825 lbs. and Sebastian at 975lbs.
I single passed them until we got to the 1400/1500 range and then no more passing. Because they were on different increments until the final stages, they both got lots of mom time in the holding area. Sebastian was very well behaved in the holding area, no posturing at all.
When it got down to just my two boys left, David pulled Ranger for practice in between my two boys, giving me a break. Ranger was getting a break in competition this weekend, but this way he still got some practice in. Joan got a spectacular shot of him "practicing".
Cinnabar started talking on the 1725 pull, but settled in, worked it hard and made if for me. He did it in 34.78 seconds, so I withdrew him. He took first in his class.
Sebastian was doing well for me. He easily pulled the 1875 in 13.29 seconds.
He already had MWP with that, but because he did it so easily and was working for me, I wanted him to pull the 2025. We took a few minutes and he got some mom time in the holding area and then gave it a shot. He pulled it a few inches and laid down.
I started whistling "If I Only Had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz and he sat up. I asked him to work, he tried and sat back down. I did a jig, made faces at him and was just plain silly to get his attention. He did get up and start working.
He was working it without any troubles, but brat boy emerged and he left it about a foot short of the line and time expired. I take it as a major victory that he got up and worked after pulling his "I don't wanna" shenanigans.
Then the novice class pulled. David pulled Hemi a couple times in novice. He's recovering very nicely from his surgery:
I also got a sweet shot of him after the pull:
As well as the two 13 year old birthday kids - Ace & Molly:
Getting those 2 feisty seniors to stand still & face in the same direction was a challenge :)
After awards there was time for us to all stand around gabbing before heading out. I don't think we solved all the problems of the world, but we got a good start on it - LOL!
Both boys were good in the motel. Sebastian did the usual bounce on a new bed routine, then they both ate & zonked. I got to watch a little baseball before zonking myself.
The next morning was beautiful, the sun started to peak out and melt off the ice on the car windows. It stayed a little chillier than the day before, but still a gorgeous day.
We lost a couple dogs from the day before, but also gained a couple. One was a Sammie in the 40lb class, who is a relative newbie. Her name is Artemis and she pulled the heck of it.
I again judged the 60lb class, and Michele took photos of the class for me, so I've got shots of all the dogs involved between the two days. Thank you Michele! Starbuck again did a great job, coming in 3rd to two of his sons, Junior & Mole.
I again started Cinnabar at 825 lbs. and Sebastian at 975 lbs.
Cinnabar started talking on the 1575 pull. He settled in and pulled it. On the 1725 pull, he again started talking. I shushed him, and talked quietly to him. I held my arms out to him to draw him to me. When he started working I kept my voice soft and rythmic and he finished it in 62.16 seconds. I withdrew him after that wonderful effort. He got first in his class.
On Sebastian's 2nd pull, he dragged me past the chute and started to chow down on some horse poop. Why is there always a story with this boy? LOL! Well, it charged him up. On his subsequent trips to the chute, he was raring to go, hoping for more "treats". He tried dragging me back there again, but I got him going in the other direction.
He pulled the 1875 in 11.44 seconds. He gave the 2025 a shot, did play some games with it, and became totally unfocused. I had them give the cart a boost when he gave it a shot. He again got MWP, the big goofy boy.
Lots of gab fests after the awards, and one was going on in the barn where the dogs were crated. I backed my car up to the barn, so I didn't have to haul the crates very far. I got out and there was some shouting, "Dave are you ok?". I look down and there's David under the back of my car next to tire pretending I'd run him over. Darn it, my camera's battery ran out. :) We've got a good group in our region that has fun, the dogs have fun and we're competitive. I love it.
I had the car packed up, gave goodbye hugs & was on the road before 3. The weather was perfect the entire trip, and a beautiful sliver moon greated me in the twilight as we pulled into home at 7:30.
Another terrific weekend of pulling and both boys did well and had fun. I'm so proud of them. And the Phillies swept the Reds! Nice way to cap off the weeknd!
Photos of all the dogs & more of Sebastian & Cinnabar
Video highlights from this pull:
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Purebred Dog Breeds into the 21st Century