The trip up to the Illinois race was very long and very scary. First mishap, Velvet chewed through her leash, and while I was trying to keep her from jumping out when we stopped to walk the others, Bucky jumped over the top of me! With my heart in my throat, I called, and thank god he's such a good boy he came instantly to my side! Whew! I'm glad I do recall training!
Each time I would have to hold back the dogs while I switched a lead from a walked dog to Velvet, then remove that leash again before heading back out so she couldn't chew through that one too. She had already put teeth marks in a second leash.
Next stop, it was Princess who managed to get by me. I've taken these dogs on several trips before and have not had as much trouble as this one! Princess is pretty good at coming to me, but I have to be fast. She came back to me and spun around just as fast and I was able to grab her leash before she took off again.
When we reached the hotel, Velvet and Princess got loose! With two of them running I was sure we would lose them, but I quickly dropped to the ground and urgently called to them both. Thank goodness again, they both came to my call! Jim grabbed Velvet while I grabbed Princess even though Jim was still holding on to Bucky. The two dogs tripped him up and fortunately he kept hold of Velvet and was laying on Bucky's leash. I ran over with Princess and helped him up as I grabbed Bucky's leash and Velvet's collar. By this time I was fearful, wondering what else would go wrong. My stomach was doing flipflops and I had a sickly feeling that wasn't all. My premonition turned out true as when I took the two girls out (Princess and Velvet) later that night on the long leads, the one holding Princess simply snapped in two at the clasp! It was a nearly new lead too! Again, I thank my stars that Princess is so well trained. She didn't come directly back to me, so I told her to get in the truck, and immediately the came to wait by the door where I was able to catch her.
Thankfully, there were no further mishaps for our lot, and we were able to attend the musher's meeting, prepare for the race and run the race. Freya and Princess did phenomenal at lead, and only were uncertain on one turn and heading for the finish chute (Freya hates going in to the crowd and Princess wants to be in the center of the crowd instead of in the chute). Yukon and Bucky were amped up! All four dogs loped the entire 2.5 mile course with gusto! We passed two other teams with only Bucky wanting to do a social call, but Yukon kept him from nosing too close to the other team. The course was wonderful, packed grassy farm trail that was perfect on the dogs' feet! The turns were exciting, and at one point I was up on two wheels, but we made each turn at high speed and it was great fun! We made great time and came in 7th out of 20 entrants.
I feel really good about this as I know at least 3-4 of the front runners were well respected racers, and all of them had time and training trails to put miles on their dogs that I could only dream of. I am extremely happy with the performance of my dogs! So kudos to my team of awesome and wonderful PB Sibes! I couldn't ask for better dogs! Congratulations to all that ran the race, so glad I got to attend. Thanks again to the organizers and volunteers! You all made it possible for me to see the best of my dogs in action. The food was awesome too! The chili was amazing and just what we needed to warm up on the cold day! Don't know if I will be able to make it so far next year, but definitely enjoyed this premiere race/fun run!
The drive back was thankfully uneventful if long and tiring. 9 hours including stops for people and dogs. But it was well worth it.