Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race


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Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Early March
The Iditarod is the world's longest and toughest sled dog race, across the state of Alaska from Anchorage on the south-central coast to Nome on the Bering Sea just south of the Arctic Circle. It commemorates a 650-mile mid-winter emergency run to take serum from Nenana to Nome during the 1925 diphtheria epidemic. The race, which began in 1973, follows an old frozen-river mail route and is named for a deserted mining town along the way.
About 70 teams compete each year, and the winner is acclaimed the world's best long-distance dog musher. In 1985, Libby Riddles, age 28, was the first woman to win the race, coming in three hours ahead of the second-place finisher. It took her 18 days. Susan Butcher won in 1986, and again in 1987, 1988, and 1990. In 1991, Rick Swenson battled a howling blizzard on the last leg to win and become the first five-time winner (1977, 1979, 1981, 1982). His prize money was $50,000 out of the $250,000 purse. The 1992 winner, Martin Buser, set a record time of 10 days, 19 hours, and 17 minutes. Buser set a new record of 8 days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes when he took his fourth win in 2002.
Mushers draw lots for starting position at a banquet held in Anchorage a couple of days before the race. Each musher, with a team of anywhere from 8 to 18 dogs, can expect to face 30-foot snowdrifts and winds of up to 60 miles an hour.
A number of events are clustered around the running of the race. At Wasilla, near Anchorage, Iditarod Days are held on the beginning weekend of the race and feature softball, golf on ice, fireworks, and snow sculptures. Anchorage stages an International Ice Carving Competition that weekend, with ice carvers from around the world creating their cold images in the city's Town Square. At Nome, the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic, a six-hole golf tournament, is played on the frozen Bering Sea during the second week of the race.
Various organizations have campaigned against the Iditarod and other sled dog races because of the risks to the dogs and alleged mistreatment. Iditarod organizers provide each dog with a physical examination before the race, yet, according to newspaper reports, it is not unusual for at least one dog each year to die from exhaustion or injuries sustained during the race.
CONTACTS:
Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc.
P.O. Box 870800
Wasilla, AK 99687
907-376-5155; fax: 907-373-6998
www.iditarod.com
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-622-7382; fax: 757-622-0457
www.peta.org
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Mar 24
HolSymbols-2009, p. 398
References in periodicals archive ?
The Lakefront Anchorage is also the official host hotel for the renowned Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Warm weather and a lack of snow in much of Alaska forced organizers of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to forge an untested route, utilizing the state's extensive system of frozen rivers.
Many say they fled Pakistan over increased harassment by police who told them to return to Afghanistan, a country many have never even seen, putting new pressure on both countries to find solutions to the decades-old flow of refugees (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) Musher Hugh Neff arrives in Kaltag, Alaska, during the classic endurance test of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
If the work of the Iditarod Trail Committee were limited to simply staging the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, it could be accomplished in roughly four and a half months of dedicated work by a crew of about five full-time staff, five independent contractors, and scads of volunteers to make Alaska's own Superbowl-class sporting event, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a success.
Alaska Airlines reported it will serve as the official airline sponsor of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, marking the 36th year the carrier has supported the event.
Alaska Airlines will serve as the official airline sponsor of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, marking the 36th year the carrier has supported the event.
Musher Mitch Seavey has been crowned the champion of the 2013 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The 41st Annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began Sunday, March 3, with sixty-six mushers and their teams of 12 to 16 dogs covering approximately 1,000 miles of the roughest terrain Mother Nature has to offer.
Subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) Alaska Airlines on Tuesday announced it will serve as the official airline sponsor of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Economic strains have reduced the lineup of competitors in the 37th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from last year's record of 96.
Today's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates that historic run.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, held every spring in Alaska, is considered one of the world's most grueling sporting events.