Bob Payne met Chinooks in the mid-1930s. During the winter of 1937-38 he drove tourist rides for the Eastern Slopes Inn, in North Conway, NH. All of the dogs on his team belonged to the Eva & Milton Seeley at Chinook Kennel. Power, a Chinook, was his lead dog and all the dogs he worked with were veterans of the Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Bob raced one race with the team that winter, the Winnipsaukee Open on Lake Waukewan in Meredith NH.
During the 1930s, Julia Lombard owned the breeding rights to the Chinook breed. However, Arthur Walden was still very much an influence on the breed. In fact, Bob Payne saved letterhead from the Wonalancet-Hubbard Kennel that identifies Julia P. Lombard as Breeder, Arthur T. Walden as Director, and Edward L. Moody, a notable musher and sled builder, as Trainer.
In the summer of 1938, Bob Payne went to work for Wonalancet-Hubbard Kennels. The other people involved with the Wonalancet-Hubbard Kennel raced their own teams. So, Bob, who cared for the dogs, drove the Wonalancet-Hubbard team.
During the 1938-39 sledding season, Bob again did some tourist rides in North Conway. He also raced in five of the nine races sponsored by the New England Sled Dog Club (NESDC) in Class B. Bob saved all of the original NESDC Bulletins with the results of each of the races. Running a team of seven Chinooks, with Oomilik in lone lead, they placed 4th in Chester, VT (11 mi), 3rd in North Conway, NH(1st day 12 mi, 2nd day 6 mi), 1st in Camden, ME (12 mi), 2nd at NE Championship in Jaffery, NH (3 day event), and 1st in Bridgeton, ME (15 mi, 2 days).
Bob maintained scrap books with photos of the dogs (many labeled with names) and other memorabilia. Bob went on to have a son, Doug, who has maintained these momentos, long after his father's death. Doug has graciously shared this history with the Chinook community. Doug also hopes to one day add photos of his own Chinooks into the scrap books.
Here are some more photos from this era, labeled only when known:
It's remarkable to find so much history kept in such outstanding condition. The post card to the right was Bob's holiday greeting card (he's harnessing the dogs for a run). The Chinook Owners Association offers heartfelt thanks to Doug Payne for sharing this piece of history with Chinook owners everywhere.
If you're rediscovering Chinooks and have a part of Chinook history in your attic or on your coffee table that you'd like to share, please contact our Information Coordinator.