Saturday, March 6, 2010
The Last Great Race
The Iditarod, known as "The Last Great Race," borrows its name from a gold-mining town lying on the 1,049-mile path between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska. The race is a memorial to mushers who formed a dog sled relay team in 1925 to deliver dyptheria serum to miners in Nome during a winter epidemic. The closest source of serum in those days was Anchorage, which is nearly 1,200 miles away. The Iditarod's founder, Joe Reddington, suggested they make the memorial race 1,049 miles in length, representing a 1,000-mile race through the 49th state. The first race was run in 1973. This morning at 10:00 am Alaska time 71 mushers and sled teams left Anchorage on another historical journey to Nome. You can check out the race at www.iditarod.com or www.cabelas.com Cabelas is a sponsor of the Iditarod, and Jeff King.
I have been an avid fan of the Iditarod since the days of Susan Butcher, and have faithfully followed the race every year.
I am a member of the Bootie Brigade, which makes booties every year, primarily for the rookie mushers and those who do not have the big sponsorships.
Doug Swingley, the Montana Musher was always my favorite. These are some photos of him and his dog teams.
Doug is retired, but still trains and raises dogs in Lincoln, Montana. I must admit the race was very exciting back in those days when he won several races in a row. He was not highly favored among the Alaskan mushers or fans. I don't think they liked someone coming in from "the outside" to show them how to win the race.