This is the history of the Northern Blast dogs. Use this as a reference page if wanting to know how we acquired a certain dog. Our dogs are divided into the following categories: Race Team, , Retired, and In Memory.
We started off with mostly rescue Siberians, running as recreational teams. Then we performed some breeding's and transitioned to racing Siberians. The following is how we acquired all of our dogs.
To learn more about each of our racing dogs, go to the Meet The Racing Dogs page for their personal descriptions, accomplishments, and pictures.
Northern Litter, born 3/17/05, Indy x Holly: Spirit Of The North, "Spirit"
Arctic Rose, "Rosie"
Leap Year Litter, born 3/9/08, Ernie x Spirit: Leap Of Faith, "Faith"
Quite A Leap, "Kwyta"
Leap For Joy, "Joy"
Look Before You Leap, "Looker"
Leaping Lizards, "Lizzy"
Leaps And Bounds, "Bounder"
Native American Litter, born 8/1/11, Orbit x Kwyta: Anasazi, "Ana"
Nez Perce, "Nezi"
The following information shows how these litters fit into the Northern Blast history.
The race team started because of these two dogs: Holly and Indy
Holly comes from Snoshu Ranch, Bob and Lee Hills. Her lines are half show, half running, although her personal training is limited and she has never raced. Back when Holly was 4 years old, we still co-owned her with Lee. Lee still had some frozen semen from Terry Hinesly's lead dog Indy, who led Terry across the Iditarod finish line in the early 1990's. He has been diseased since the later 1990's, so we've never met Indy. The frozen semen worked just fine and on Mach 17, 2005 Rosie, Spirit and Tundra were born, the "Northern Litter". (Spirit and Rosie have now moved onto the rec team.)
In January 2008, we bred Spirit to Tumnatki's Ernie (now at Dashing):
Alan, Spirit, Ernie and Karen Yeargain, the day we picked Spirit back up. She is barely pregnant in this photo.
Tumnatki Siberian's is Karen Yeargain's kennel of running line Siberian's. We loved the look and success of her dogs and after some long and careful thought we picked out Ernie for the breeding. On March 9, 2008, the "Leap Year Litter" was born. As pictured left to right: Looker, Faith, Joy, Bounder, Lizzy, and Kwyta. (Joy has now moved onto the rec team.)
What a difference it has been raising and training these two litters since birth compared to the rescue dogs we started with. In just 2 breeding's there is a large difference in both structure and attitude from Holly to her grandkids. We made strong progress forward in the type of Siberian racing team we wanted to have.
Later, on a visit to Karen's with a small crew of dogs, we left home with 8 dogs, we came home with 9! Drew unexpectedly joined our kennel as a two year old. Cousin to our Leap Year Litter we quickly made room for her at Northern Blast. Clipping into the gangline that fall with the Leap Year's first season, Drew showed she was a hard worker and soon stepped into a role as leader with Kwyta.
Eagle and Orbit. These cousins, born 10 weeks apart in 2010, came to us as young pups, from two of my favorite sisters, Ella and Twinka from Tumnatki Siberians. When I was told by Karen Yeargain that Ernie was to be a father again, I was intrigued. When she told me that she bred him to Ella I knew I had to have a boy from the litter. I felt this was going to be an INCREDIBLE litter so I named our pup after the INCREDIBLE Eagle Cap Extreme race. Then when I found out that Twinka was due to have pups and the father was Weaver, another wonderful male of Karen’s, I knew I would have to have a boy from this litter as well (Orbit). Short on boys on my team at the time this helped make up for it and soon I started training a 12-dog team. It was very exciting adding these high-energy boys to our kennel.
On 8/1/11 our third litter was born: The Native American Litter.
Cree, Nezi,Cheyenne, Apache, and Ana.
Sire: Orbit, Dam: Kwyta
A lot of thought and effort went into this breeding. Kwyta is one of the best from our second litter with so many strong qualities: born leader, great body lines, perfect feet, intelligent, sense of adventure, high energy, and a very sweet girl. Orbit is another high-energy dog with a gorgeous build, and has shown he has what it takes to lead. He is also backed up by an impressive pedigree. Orbit and Kwyta's offspring are quite amazing. With each new dog we add to the kennel the energy, strength, and excitement to run intensifies, and these 5 have taken it up another notch. All are strong runners and are comfortable in lead with some excelling quite quickly. Hook up time is more chaotic but the strength, speed, and overall performance of the team has improved greatly. A huge difference from where we started.
Currently all of our retired dogs are from our original rec team. Prior to putting together a race team, we started off collecting older dogs, mostly rescues, to run recreationally. Although they were all Siberians, most of them had no sledding experience nor were they bred as such. Of course we had no experience either! Nor did we understand all there was to know about Siberians or where this sport would eventually take us. It was quite an experience taking a bunch of misfits, older dogs with no training, and teaching them all how to be sled dogs. At the same time, they taught Alan and I how to be mushers. During this time we started to learn about the Siberian, their history, their different lines, and what to look for in a good running dog and eventually our focus shifted, especially after our first litter and noticing the obvious differences. Until that shift occurred, these were the dogs we trained with. Only two dogs remain from that first crew. The rest can be found in the 'In Memeory' section found below.
Baby Steps, Putting It All Together: Our first 4 dogs, an old and rickety free
cart, and some gear. We did small trial runs on this day in 2004 right on the
property of Lee Hills Snoshu Ranch. I am on the cart while Alan runs on the
side, then we would switch roles.
Several years later, Alan on a training run with a 7-dog recreation team and
upgraded to one of the ultimate training tools, a quad!
We intercepted Mackenzie's (Mack) trip to the pound when he was 5 months old He was our first purebred Siberian and he will turn 12 in May 2015. He comes from a strong show background which we tried and decided it wasn't an interest for us. He has been through beginners and intermediate obedience. Alan then trained him lead commands and he stepped into that role as Alan's main leader. In 2010, Mack survived an episode of bloat with emergency surgery. He now lives a quiet retired life.
With Mack and a borrowed dog from Lee Hills, Skadi, Alan and I tried a bit of skijouring that winter, 2003/2004, and found that although we love cross country skiing, we were not very good at skijoring. That is when we decided to collect a few more dogs and some more gear and we moved on to sledding.
The next dog we picked up was Polaris (Po), 5 months after getting Mack. Po became available at a shelter in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. Approximately 18 months old, we made the 5 hour drive to pick him up and he and Mack became best friends. Po became the kennel sweetheart, everyone liked him. He just had a great personality. He was trained in beginners obedience and then took his spot next to Mack as second leader. He was never really good with commands but he liked to run and was our fastest dog for a while. Po kept that first rec team moving. He is now retired, his age is around 12-13 years old. He has slowed down and is starting to show several signs of his older age.
Some of the dogs that we started with on our recreation team are no longer with us and we will never forget our beginning experiences with them. We would like to acknowledge the following dogs:
Holly, half sister to Skadi mentioned previously, was owned by Lee Hill's daughter. When she decided to sell Holly at the age of 4, Lee, Alan and I bought her together as co-owners. Holly had been living at Lee's kennel for several years and already under our care. The thing that ownership changed was we could then run her and breed her, and so we did. Holly is a combination of show and running lines. She had no pull training prior and had never raced, even though she is the foundation of our race team. Lee signed her portion of ownership over to us when we moved onto our property, taking Holly with us in 2007. Lee passed away on Easter Sunday 2012 and Holly joined Alan and I at her memorial service. In 2013, just before her 13th birthday, Holly started having seizures, most likely from a brain tumor, and was placed on medications for several months. She never fully recovered from her symptoms and passed away. Holly was a hardy dog that really enjoyed all the kids. It is sad to lose this generation from our kennel. Holly diseased, 5/12/14.
Searching through a Siberian rescue site on the internet from Eastern Washington I found some other Siberian's that I thought we could use to complete our first little team. We agreed with the rescue on 2 dogs and they met us in the Dalles, OR, where we collected our new dogs and brought them back. One dog was Stuart (see below) and the other was Comet, a blue-eyed white Siberian. He was about 21/2yrs old with some sledding experience and became one of our wheel dogs. When not training he always enjoyed lounging in the sun. He enjoyed a few years of retirement before passing away in 2014, age 12-13. Comet diseased, 4/22/14.
We picked Ahhsoo up, along with some sledding equipment, from southern Oregon as a 6 year old in 2005 just after our first litter was born, and became his third owner. Ahhsoo had some racing experience and really added strength and much needed enthusiasm to the rec team. During his time with us, he became best friends with Keeper as well as training partners. I felt Ahhsoo took on the appearance and behavior of a dog a bit older than we knew him to be his last couple of years and I wondered if he was older than we thought. Arthritic stiffness worked its way into his joints until the day he could no longer move. Ahhsoo diseased, 5/12/12
We picked Stuart up at the same time we got Comet from the Siberian rescue in Eastern Washington. Stuart was about 18 months old and had lived with a foster family that did some mushing but hadn't included him on their team yet. Stuart became Comet's wheel partner and friend. He was a bit tall and a little gangly with a bit of an awkward gait earning himself the name of "Paddle Foot" but he loved to pull and his enthusiasm grew stronger with each year. In 2010 at the age of 9, Stuart showed the signs of an illness that progressed very quickly. Stuart diseased, 12/31/10
Keeper was dropped off at Snoshu Kennel as a 4 year old abused dog. He needed to be rehabilitated then placed in a new home but it didn't work out that way. It took 18 months just for him to trust us. He didn't run on the teams the first couple of years but the other dogs accepted him as part of the pack and later he became best friends with Ahhsoo. When we moved onto our own property, Keeper came with us. We didn't hook him up for any runs at first, not until he seemed comfortable with it. Although still shy of strangers, we got to see a whole new side of Keeper blossom. He was strong and pretty agile for his size, and he found that he loved to run. He also became comfortable with his home and his pack. During his last year Alan tried Keeper in lead where he did an excellent job! At the age of 9 he suddenly became ill with no real hope of a cure. We had to say good-by two days later. This was our first loss of a sled dog. We are glad to have known Keeper and feel he enjoyed the 5 years he had with us. Keeper diseased, February 2010
I would also like to mention two other dogs who are no longer with us: Sunny and Skadi. Before moving onto our own property, when Alan and I were still putting our unusual menagerie of dogs together to train with at Snoshu Kennel, Sunny and Skadi, owned by Lee Hills, were part of this group. Skadi is Holly's half-brother and Sunny is their father. Sunny, at age 10 or 11, had plenty of previous experience, it had just been a few years since he had run and he was thrilled to give us the year that he did. Sunny stood out among this group. Skadi, as a 5 year old, had no experience and learned with the rest. My first team was the 3-dog team of Sunny, Skadi, and Holly. When we moved onto our own property and Lee sold Snoshu Ranch, Sunny and Skadi went to live with Skadi's breeder. After a year or so, both separately, and just months apart, became ill with different diseases and both passed away. Sad that this part of the family is gone but glad they were a part of our beginnings. We will never forget these two boys.
Old scanned picture: Sunny foreground, Skadi directly behind, Stuart right, Po
left (only dog pictured not diseased), Comet white dog in back. Fall training 2004.