Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dog Race Ends Minus a Leg

Nunavik's annual Ivakkak dog team race ended today in Salluit. Already over a week late and dogged by adverse weather from the get go in Quaqtaq way back on March 6, it was decided to move the finish line to my home town and eliminate the last portion to Ivujivik.

Although the weather conditions were a relatively balmy minus 17 C, the winds on the ice by the town's shore brought the windchill down well below minus 30 C - so cold I froze my fingers twice while taking pictures. But a large number of people turned out to cheer the tired teams across the tape. The winds were so strong that the lines holding the pennants and community flags were bowed outward dramatically.

The race was won by Peter Keatainak, who has had a virtual lock on the trophy for the past four years, and his younger partner Peter Qisiiq. Both hail from Kangiqsujuaq, and were the odds-on favourites amongst the bookies. Coming in a very close second was 65-year old Tamusi Sivuarapik and his son Johnny, pictured above being hoisted by the crowd atop their qamutik in honour of their accomplishment. The clothing worn by this team is traditional, and in stark contrast to the high-tech garb of "professional" racers in more southern parts of North America and Scandinavia. The leggings, by the way, are made of caribou skins. I've tried them before and found them toasty warm, but the fur sheds like nobody's business.

A couple of dogs were on the limp and had to be brought in by ski-doo, but the thing which struck me the strongest was the placid demeanour of the normally exciteable, and potentially agressive huskies. They let themselves be patted by anyone who wanted to, and seemed to realize their journey was at an end, for this year at least.

Tomorrow night is the awards ceremony at our town hall, and if I know my fellow residents well there will be a square dance afterwards.

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Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I love the last picture, no matter what kind of husky you have, they love people. Do you have more pictures posted somewhere? I am interested in seeing ore dog photos.

1:36 AM  
Blogger D said...

That's awesome.... even though my stomach sank when I read the title and was expecting some sort of amputation to be involved. How cool for your town tho!

11:26 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:10 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Phos: It was such shitty weather I barely got a few shots in before retreating to the heated confines of a truck. I'm sure there will be a large gallery of photos uploaded to in the next couple of weeks.

d: I take my headline-writing style from the National Enquirer. And yes, it was not only very cool, but incredibly cold at the same time.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Beautiful pups, pity about the weather. Minus whatever...brrrrrrrrrrrr.
We're now into daylight saving time!

PS Is word verification staying?

10:58 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fuff: my wristwatch, computer clocks and half the clocks in this house are still set to Standard Time. My kids think I'm nuts - they may be right.

Yes - I'm going to keep word verification on. The Spambastards were infiltrating the sanctity of this site too regularly.

8:38 AM  

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