by Lorien Nettleton ~ January 9th, 2012
Montana Creek Mushing Championships were held on Saturday and Sunday, and for the Alaska Sprint-race circuit, it was an early test for teams and drivers. Well-known mushers were checking their teams’ early season form over two-days of racing, and there were some big names up front.
Egil Ellis overcame a 21-second deficit to snatch first place from Alreigh Reynolds, on Sunday. Bill Kornmueller took third place ahead of Nathan Sterling and Greg Selentin. Ellis says the recent snows and soft trail made for an exciting race.
Egil Ellis talks about the race
French Musher Christian Taveau jumped two spots from third to take the 8-dog sprints by one second ahead of Jennifer Probert from Fairbanks. Ami Gjeston (rhymes with Question) from Salcha held on to her lead in the 6 dog race. Kim Wells from Anchorage held on to her lead over Jennifer Sterling in the 4-dog race, and Becki Voris retained her lead over Greg Jurek for the 4-mile skijor.
On a weekend when the big names in Distance Dog mushing were confirming their early-season form at the Knick 200 dogsled race, one Iditarod musher chose to test his distance dogs against the speed teams at last weekend’s Montana Creek Sprint Championships. Jeff King competed in the two-dog skijor competition, and in the open-class sprint competition.
It was the same team King drove to victory in last month’s Sheep Mountain, and he says they will be his Iditarod team, because they’re the only dogs he has.
Jeff King talks about his dogs
The dogs are by no means sprinters, but King says the interval training could be great conditioning to get the dogs in top form.
Kings team and speed.
King has picked a number of shorter two- or three-day sprint races for his calendar, and even mentioned he is considering running the Fur Rendezvous in February. He finished more than 30 minutes back of Ellis’s winning time of 88 minutes, Fifty-four seconds over both days.