The closing Eukanuba Stage Stop banquet was held in Evanston, Wyoming after the last Stage race on Sunday. And it was a great time for all of us! Thanks to the generosity of Eukanuba® and many other sponsors, all competitors shared a generous $200,000 purse. Buddy Streeper claimed the coveted first place prize with his record-breaking sixth Eukanuba Stage Stop win! John Stewart finished second for the second consecutive year running Streeper Dogs. This was an especially impressive feat as he joined the Streeper program only days before the race started. Bruce Magnusson held on to his third place overall, placing just a minute ahead of his friend JR Anderson as JR charged to the finish line the last day for the Stage win. Eli Golton finished fifth overall running Streeper dogs; he’s been training with the Streepers since this fall. We will revisit the Bruce Magnusson and JR Anderson story at another time, but this story is about the Streeper program.
As award checks are handed out at banquets like this, it’s easy for the casual observer to look at how the dominance of the Streeper dogs translates in to a hefty payday. I’ve heard them called the “Streeper Machine” more than once or the “Green Machine” referring to their racing colors. But those catchy names don’t speak to the method or the consistent training by which they earn their prize money. I know of no other kennel in the world that invests as much time and money to produce the results we all see.
The connection they have with their dogs is palpable as you see them handling 50-plus dogs on their truck. The Streepers have a small kennel feel that comes about only with lots and lots and lots of work. Behind that work is a genuine love and respect for their dogs as well as a passion for the sport of sled dog racing. And that passion is shared by their entire family as even the youngest children have a role in socializing puppies. Buddy’s wife Lina has raced and trained the dogs quite a bit, but has recently spent more time racing after those little girls. The Streepers brought Eli Golton and John Stewart to race the Eukanuba Stage Stop this year, teaching them their program and procedures. You can see the results — just look at the final standings.
Grandpa Terry Streeper started it all, of course, and his attention to detail is legend. He still travels with the racing team and from a discreet distance may be called “Sarge.” When I talk with Terry he always talks about what he’s learning and observing, rarely about what he knows. It’s a pleasure to see this family work their magic with their dogs. The results tell the story — up close it’s anything but machine-like.
Congratulations Streeper Family on another fine performance!