3/09/2008

Mush On

Mush on! Mush on! Hello all my trail buddies, Buford T. Porcupine here. The 36th Iditarod sled dog race is underway! What Nascar means to you all who watch it in the lower 48, it's the Iditarod to us here in Alaska. Sunday, March 2nd was the Iditarod restart in Willow on Willow Lake. The last great race, 95 mushers, with 16 doges per team (1000 dogs), all heading out on the adventure, with 26 checkpoints and over 1150 miles on the race to Nome. Temperatures for the running of this Iditarod have been substantially different than races in the past. With temperatures running into the low to mid 40 degree range there have been issues with the dogs running in the "heat"! Nine teams have scratched out of the race and one has withdrawn. These dogs are born and bred to run and do it very well, but not in the warm temps we are seeing up here. The dogs like it COLD! All of us here have our favorite dog mushers and the support for each and everyone of them is overwhelming. The last couple of years I've been on Willow Lake in and around the starting gate. Going to such an event, one would go just to soak in the amount of people that come out in all their outdoor attire, from the snowmobiles, to the latest fashions with their sleds, to the rugged fur wearing outdoorsman, such as myself, oh it's a sight to see. But you also have to like being in and around so many people and feeling like a sardine in a sardine can. This year I moved farther down the trail about 5 miles out on Lake Vera. Ahh, now this was truly a nice place to view each and every dog mushing team coming by.

With such names as Lance Mackey (below), who ran the race in 2005 & 2006, and 2007, in which he won. He also mushed in the 2007 and 2008 Yukon Quest and won both years. Lance's dad, Dick Mackey was one of the founders of the sled dog race which was offically organized 1973. Dick Mackey also won the iditarod in 1978.


Other names in this year's race, such as Martin Buser (below left) and his son Rohn Buser (below right), for the first time, are mushing in the same Iditarod race.

DeeDee Jonrowe (below) began mushing in 1979 and has won many awards throughout her racing career.


Jeff King (below), is recognized as the winningest musher in the world! His victories include 1993, 1996, 1998 & 2006 Iditarod and over 2 dozen first place finishes in races across Alaska!

And the names go on with a long list of mushers from all over the world. At least once a day I find myself checking where the teams are in the race, listening to the reports and positions. Let me tell you, it looks like this is a Lance Mackey-Jeff King race. Lance holding in 1st and Jeff king 2nd. Winner's Purse is a brand new truck along with big money. Lance gave his truck to his wife last year and is well on the way to getting a truck for himself this year! It's a wait and see race. I don't know how many of you follow this "Last Great Race" down there, but it's the highlight up here, with a lot of people and growing in popularity every year and growing in purse money as well. You just don't know what you're missing! So with that in mind, check the pictures I've included. Wow, what a great time! Hey see you down the trail - spring isn't that far off.
Buford T. porcupine

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