Monday, February 9, 2009

More racing, still sick, but proud

Well, it was another weekend of racing, and it was even more fun with me hacking up a lung the whole time. The kids had a terrific time, though, and I managed to enjoy them enjoying themselves and tried to ignore the fact that I was still sick.


The boys (Brandon hates it when I call them that - at 16 and 21, they're men!) entered three races, and ended up with a second place, a fourth and another first, but this time it was Brandon who took first place in the Open Class (also known as the Unlimited Division.) Alex had the fourth fastest time with his eight-dog team, and second with his six-dog team. Brandon was racing 12 dogs on a 10 mile course. Both of them got some pretty nice prize money and they were both very happy. I thought, with Brandon's first place, that it might be fun to take a look at some pictures from his dog sledding career.


First, here's Alex with his 6-dog team, screaming out of the starting chute.




When Brandon was small, he used to take naps in one of the spare sleds at the race site with one of his trusty stuffed dog companions.


Sometimes he had a snuggle buddy - a little girl whose dad was also racing.


Here they are playing in the snow. There was never a lack of fun stuff to do when the snowbanks were 10 feet high!




Brandon with one of our favorite dogs, Cinder. I think one of the biggest perks of growing up in a racing kennel was loving the dogs and shouldering the responsibilities of taking care of them. There's a lot of work - heavy, hard labor - taking care of a kennel of dogs and training them, and he's always had to do a fair share of the work.

Brandon started out racing with Cinder in one-dog junior class races. These races were really short, sometimes only a couple of hundred yards, up to maybe a mile at the most, but always on a closed course, in sight of the nervous moms and dads the whole time.


Here he is with that same little girl, a few years later, discussing their upcoming race. This was a one-dog junior class race in Marmora, Ontario. Brandon ended up seventh and won his very first prize money - seven dollars Canadian and little bags of candy and dog treats. Kathleen beat him, but he didn't seem to mind. He made me give him $7 American in exchange, and refused to believe me that he was only supposed to get about $5.50 for it.




When he was a little older, he moved up to 3-dog junior class, which competed on the longer trails - usually about 4-5 miles. It was hard to see him head out into the woods, but he was a pro from the very beginning and handled whatever happened out there all on his own.


Now he's racing twelve dogs, going much faster than I am comfortable with, but he still handles it fine. He tells me it's a rush like no other, speeding through twists and turns, up and down hills and around sharp corners with just the swishing sound of the sled runners and the wind in his face. Being out there with his beloved dogs, doing what they - and he - love best, he's about as happy as I could ever wish for. Whatever he does in the future in his life, I think he got a great start, learning that it was good to work hard for something you really loved.
Next weekend he's not racing, but Alex has a huge race, so we have a few days to get ready. Mostly that means I'm doing laundry like crazy, getting all the gear ready for another trip. I wish the Merry Maids would stop by and take care of all this stuff so I can find a minute to get over this damn cold.

32 comments:

Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Midwest Mommy said...

I just think this is so awesome. He is doing what he loves in life and that is how everyone should live.

Lynn said...

Wow you should be so proud of your young MEN ! I love the time machine photos with the one dog /just starting out racing...love seeing the happy faces on the dogs too !

OOPS ! sorry about the deletion...

claudia said...

You kind of make me want to live where there is snow, so we could do the sledding...then I come back down to reality and walk outside where the wind is blowing and the temps are about 50 degrees. I don't think for a minute I could live in anything below 40 degrees. At that I am complaining...too dang cold.
But your picture history is a really neat look into what your boys...I mean men do. How fun for them!

claudia said...

BTW...and I meant to say it up there...Get well! Can't you take just a minute for yourself and rest?!?

Odette said...

Aww it's so great that your boys are still at something that they've loved ever since they were little! I've been watching the Iditarod stuff on the discovery channel, do your dogs eat slop too? (they like feed them some sort of soupy slop from a cooler) I think it's cool!

Oh and when I was in Quebec City over the weekend they had Dog sled rides. The dogs were so cute! There were some dogs going and some tied up and whenever the guy came to switch one of them out they would all stand up and wag their tails as if to say "pick me! pick me!" They really seem to love to run!

You've got me very intrigued by this whole dog sled racing concept! :) Tell Alex good luck for me!

claudia said...

Oh yea...I am not stalking you. An Ott light is a lamp with a special bulb (kind of like fluorescent)that has the full spectrum of light. With it you can see all colors and very minute detail. Then put to work with a magnifyer, a person can see all things tiny. I do a lot of small needle work and this light is an eye saver!

Vegas Princess said...

That first picture is so cool!

I love hearing the history of dog sledding in your family. What an excellent activity for them to enjoy their whole lives. So exciting and different. Not everyone can say they are a dog sledder. :)

Laura ~Peach~ said...

OHHHHHH I love the ride down memory lane!!!! what a cool thing to grow up doing! Congratulations on the wins guys!!!
hope you feel better soon ME, I feel better still hacking and poor mike is sneezing and pitiful....

Under the Influence said...

So cute! What nice memories for your family.

Joanie said...

I'd love to see dogsledding one day. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. the pics are great!

MaBunny said...

Sorry to hear you've been under the weather. I played nursemaid to my hubby and daughter thru their latest bought of nastiness going around and knock hard on wood that I haven't caught any of it!

Congrats to your sons! I don't know much about dog racing, and didn't know they had races for younger kids. I find it pretty cool! Thanks for sharing and hope you are better soon!

Liz said...

I love love love hearing the dog sledding and racing tales!!

Becca said...

thats so cool. LOVE the photo of his one-dog team!!!!
thats cool that you travel to ontario for races. I an from southern ontario and I went to college and lived in ottawa for 10 years.
glad you liked the magazine too.

(and feel better)

Alice said...

I love that your boys (excuse me...men) care and love and race dogs. I love that they have learned how to care for other living things, work hard and set goals. You are right...no matter what they do in life, they will have a strong foundation.

Elenka said...

What a great journal of something that most of us don't even get to see ! Hope you feel better.

jojo said...

If you see the Merry Maids send them this way when they're done!

I love the pics of the boys when they were younger. It looks like they really enjoyed all the fun and now look at them...wow. I'm impressed! And you are obviously very proud.
Hope you are feeling better soon. Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comments ;)

Sue said...

Do the boys ever race outside of Maine?

I hope you are feeling better and if you are not, you better get your butt to a DR! It's been long enough!

gin said...

What a lovely story. And some great memories you showed. Ya'll seem to have some great family times! BTW our oldest son is "Brandon". How cool is that!!And I do hope you get to feeling better and get well soon!!

kim-d said...

Hey you. Just tired old me stopping by to say a quick hi, GET BETTER (enough already of the sick!), and I loved the pix!

Tonjia said...

I just love looking at these pics! Your boys have had such an amazing experience with their dogs, something that most men their age will never have. How amazing is that?

I hope you are feeling lots better today!

Scriptor Senex said...

Sorry Brandond and Alex - you'll always be the boys just as my two female offspring will always be 'the girls' - whatever age they reach.

AirmanMom said...

ME...awesome, awesome! Thanks for posting!

~AM

Sarah Laurence said...

That’s a fun action shot of the dogs – they look so happy. Congratulations to the boys! Sweet old photos. I hope you feel better soon.

Abby Reed said...

Holy cow.... that is soooo impressive!

Bella Sinclair said...

Mary Ellen, are you still sick? I hope you're much better by now.

You are so LUCKY to live where you do and to be with so many happy dogs! Wow! My daughter's class followed the Iditarod a couple of years ago, and she had the best time tracking them online. It must be such a high, flying through the snow with your best buddies happily charging in front of you. Congrats to your MEN on their wins. And thanks so much for that awesome stroll down memory lane. :D

Rick said...

Wow! Living the good life. Good luck on that cold. I just got rid of mine. Achoo!!! Almost.

Shellie said...

That looks so fun, but cold!

Reddirt Woman said...

I love the walk through the history of your boys and your dogs. It must be great fun. Never having lived anywhere where you got snow that lasted more than a week or two, dog sled racing is something I've never seen in real life, but I've lived it vicariously watching the Iditarod on TV. I can't imagine how crazy the barking gets when it's time to go. My SueSue and Chloe have the crazy barking down, but I don't think they could drag me down the wheelchair ramp, much less up it. LOL

Thanks for letting us enjoy your boys growing up with the dogs.

Now get well. Tell Hallie to come over and do the Merry Maid thing... Yeah, right!!

Helen

Reddirt Woman said...

BTW, Carol, my friend, calls her son her baby boy. When he protests that he's now 34 and a man, she just smiles and says you are still my only baby boy...

Helen

Just Joni said...

What a treat getting to see how your men grew up with racing the dogs. I imagine they have a very close relationship with their racing partners...I'm curious if they have a favored breed specifically for racing?

Wonderful pictures.

Proud Mom said...

ME, I wonder if the boys ever race in other NE states; I'd love to come & watch one with my two boys (who love dogs but will never own one until they move out of our nest...)
Meanwhile, I'm glad you're feeling better, even more glad that you found something to enjoy in the snow, and hope that your bio-mom will contact you soon.

p.s. Have I mentioned how much I love reading your blog? Most of them crack me up! I'd love to meet you in person if I'm ever in ME.