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Reynolds' dogs look strong on Rondy's first day

Mike Dunham
Jesse Mellor gives his son Mason Mellor a ride as he clears snow chunks the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Jesse Mellor and his team won the 2013 Fur Rondy competition and just got back from the National Competition in Wisconsin.
Bob Hallinen
Karl Schaff of Schaff Family and Friends photographs the Arctic Bowling piece they created at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Call of the Wild by Mourice is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Pegasus by Team Zim is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Tiawna Magda holds her childhood toy horse which she and Conner Bethka and Patrick Boonstra are using as a reference for their entry "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Cathy Ellis pauses for a photo at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Last Stand by Ak Awesome is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Woolly Mammoth by Fish Heads is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Minions carved by the Service High School Partners Club remind visitors of the Despicable Me movies at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Conner Bethka, on the snow sculpture, Tiawna Magda and Patrick Boonstra work on "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Visitors check out the results of the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors musical is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Arctic Bowling by SFF Team is popular at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Chase, sculpted by the Snow Warrior team, depicts a moose on the start line of a race at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown. Pegasus by Team Zim rears up in the background.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Jesse Mellor gives his son Mason Mellor a ride as he clears snow chunks the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Jesse Mellor and his team won the 2013 Fur Rondy competition and just got back from the National Competition in Wisconsin.
Bob Hallinen
Karl Schaff of Schaff Family and Friends photographs the Arctic Bowling piece they created at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Seals and a walrus tempt a bowling bear at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Call of the Wild by Mourice is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Pegasus by Team Zim is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Minions carved by the Service High School Partners Club remind visitors of the Despicable Me movies at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Tiawna Magda holds her childhood toy horse which she and Conner Bethka and Patrick Boonstra are using as a reference for their entry "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Last Stand by Ak Awesome is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Woolly Mammoth by Fish Heads is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Chase, sculpted by the Snow Warrior team, depicts a moose on the start line of a race at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown. Pegasus by Team Zim rears up in the background.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Conner Bethka, on the snow sculpture, Tiawna Magda and Patrick Boonstra work on "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Cathy Ellis pauses for a photo at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors musical is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Arctic Bowling by SFF Team is popular at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Pegasus by Team Zim is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Jesse Mellor gives his son Mason Mellor a ride as he clears snow chunks the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Jesse Mellor and his team won the 2013 Fur Rondy competition and just got back from the National Competition in Wisconsin.
Bob Hallinen
Visitors check out the results of the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Seals and a walrus tempt a bowling bear at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Call of the Wild by Mourice is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Woolly Mammoth by Fish Heads is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Minions carved by the Service High School Partners Club remind visitors of the Despicable Me movies at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Karl Schaff of Schaff Family and Friends photographs the Arctic Bowling piece they created at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Last Stand by Ak Awesome is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors musical is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Arctic Bowling by SFF Team is popular at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Chase, sculpted by the Snow Warrior team, depicts a moose on the start line of a race at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown. Pegasus by Team Zim rears up in the background.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Tiawna Magda holds her childhood toy horse which she and Conner Bethka and Patrick Boonstra are using as a reference for their entry "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Cathy Ellis pauses for a photo at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Seals and a walrus tempt a bowling bear at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Call of the Wild by Mourice is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Pegasus by Team Zim is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Conner Bethka, on the snow sculpture, Tiawna Magda and Patrick Boonstra work on "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Visitors check out the results of the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Last Stand by Ak Awesome is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Woolly Mammoth by Fish Heads is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Jesse Mellor gives his son Mason Mellor a ride as he clears snow chunks the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Jesse Mellor and his team won the 2013 Fur Rondy competition and just got back from the National Competition in Wisconsin.
Bob Hallinen
Karl Schaff of Schaff Family and Friends photographs the Arctic Bowling piece they created at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Cathy Ellis pauses for a photo at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors musical is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Arctic Bowling by SFF Team is popular at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Minions carved by the Service High School Partners Club remind visitors of the Despicable Me movies at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Tiawna Magda holds her childhood toy horse which she and Conner Bethka and Patrick Boonstra are using as a reference for their entry "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Visitors check out the results of the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Seals and a walrus tempt a bowling bear at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Call of the Wild by Mourice is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Chase, sculpted by the Snow Warrior team, depicts a moose on the start line of a race at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown. Pegasus by Team Zim rears up in the background.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Conner Bethka, on the snow sculpture, Tiawna Magda and Patrick Boonstra work on "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Karl Schaff of Schaff Family and Friends photographs the Arctic Bowling piece they created at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Last Stand by Ak Awesome is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Pegasus by Team Zim is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Visitors check out the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Jesse Mellor gives his son Mason Mellor a ride as he clears snow chunks the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Jesse Mellor and his team won the 2013 Fur Rondy competition and just got back from the National Competition in Wisconsin.
Bob Hallinen
Tiawna Magda holds her childhood toy horse which she and Conner Bethka and Patrick Boonstra are using as a reference for their entry "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Cathy Ellis pauses for a photo at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors musical is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Woolly Mammoth by Fish Heads is displayed at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Minions carved by the Service High School Partners Club remind visitors of the Despicable Me movies at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Conner Bethka, on the snow sculpture, Tiawna Magda and Patrick Boonstra work on "Pegasus" their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Visitors check out the results of the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Seals and a walrus tempt a bowling bear at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
Arctic Bowling by SFF Team is popular at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown.
Erik Hill
The Chase, sculpted by the Snow Warrior team, depicts a moose on the start line of a race at the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, at Ship Creek Avenue downtown. Pegasus by Team Zim rears up in the background.
Erik Hill
Dannielle, Kevin and Mars Mellor work on their entry in the Fur Rondy snow sculpture competition near Ship Creek on Saturday, February 15, 2014.
Bob Hallinen

Arleigh Reynolds showed he has the team to beat in this year's Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race.

His sled was the seventh to leave the chute on Friday and the third to cross the finish line. Reynolds' day time of 90 minutes, 57 seconds was a minute and a half faster than his closest competitor, five-time Rondy winner Egil Ellis.

Reynolds, a veterinarian and associate dean at the new animal medicine program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, won last year's Rondy. His team of 14 was headed by two lead dogs, Guts, who was on last year's winning team, and Stratus, who replaced last year's co-leader Stock.

Ellis, who finished second last year, ran with just 10 dogs. It was the smallest team in the field.

Ellis said he planned to retire after last year, but hasn't quite gotten there yet.

"I still have dogs, so why not run the Rondy?" he said. All 10 looked fresh as they returned and Ellis said he figured they'd all start on Saturday for the second of three heats that make up Rondy.

Less than 30 seconds separate Ellis from Kevin Cook and Jason Dunlap. Cook started with 18 dogs and Dunlap had 14.

Lance Mackey, running with what he described as "a puppy team," started and finished in last place. The four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion is competing in the Rondy race as a rookie. Health issues have kept him from signing up for the long-distance races this year.

Mackey said he was hoping to stay out of the way of the other racers and would be completely satisfied with claiming the Red Lantern.

All of the dogs on his team are related to his famed leader Zorro, Mackey said, but most are yearlings. They left the gate with the most enthusiasm of any team, bounding in the air. A double rooster-tail of snow sprayed up behind Mackey's sled as he tore down Fourth Ave. They returned with tongues out, looking a little stunned.

Mushers described trail conditions for the 25-mile run as excellent. The run down Fourth Ave. was white and packed. Compared to the soft and gritty condition encountered in many years, it looked and felt like an ideal sled racetrack.

"The city ought to get some kind of award," said race marshal Janet Clarke.

Not only were the streets in prime condition, but a propitious snowfall earlier this week and steady below-freezing temperatures had made it possible to groom the Alaska Sled Dog Racing Association trails into similar shape. The bike trails, which have to bear the traffic of skiers, pedestrians and winter cyclists, were not as good as the sled trails, she said, but still in very good order.

"The city has taken the cleaner snow from lesser-used streets and piled it in strategic locations for us," she said.

The teams will leave in reverse order of their first day times from the starting line at Fourth and D St. at noon on Saturday, meaning that Mackey will leave first.

Reach Mike Dunham at mdunham@adn.com or 257-4332.

Fur Rendezvous World Championships
25 miles
Friday's results

1. Arleigh Reynolds, Salcha,

90:57

2. Egil Ellis, Willow,

92:26

3. Kevin Cook, Preeceville, Saskatchewan,

92:43

4. Jason Dunlap, Salcha,

92:55

5. Greg Taylor, Fairbanks,

93:40

6. Ken Chezik, Fife Lake, Mich.,

94:42

7. Marvin Kokrine, North Pole,

95:44

8. John Erhart, (Tanana),

96:11

9. Donald Cousins, Crooked Creek, Alberta,

97:39

10. Jack Berry, Homer,

99:32

11. James Wheeler, Clam Gulch,

100:56

12. John Hanson, New Stuyahok,

101:21

13. Bill Kornmuller, Willow,

102:59

14. Dave Turner, Sandy, Ore.,

105:58

15. Lance Mackey, Fairbanks,

107:31

 


By MIKE DUNHAM
mdunham@adn.com