Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jr. Iditarod - 2/28/09

On Saturday, February 28, we went to Knik Lake to see the start of the Junior Iditarod. The lake is about 40 minutes from our house. It is a 145 mile race for kids who are ages 14-17. There were 21 mushers in this year's race. The videos and the pictures are a bit deceiving. It looks like a raging blizzard. In reality, it was a gorgeous day. The snow came in big flat flakes with absolutely no wind. It stacked up on a person if you didn't keep it brushed off. The temperature was a balmy 20*, so it really was a perfect day. The first musher left at 10:00 AM. The kids take a trail 82 miles and then have a mandatory 10 hour layover. Then the continue for another 63 miles to the finish at Willow (where the adult Iditarod race begins). The winning musher finished at 12:30 PM on Sunday, March 1st. The last musher finished about 7:30 PM Sunday. Some of the kids came from mushing families and others have no one else in their family who mushes or raises dogs. The winner is the stepson of Lance Mackey, who has won the Iditarod the last two years. Lance will be competing for his third consecutive victory next weekend. You can read more about today's race and about the mushers on If you would like to read about the Iditarod, check out

(P.S. to Mr. Brooke: The snow was truly "wafting" down - perfect hot tub snow!!!)

Race Security Detail.
The lathes with the orange tips in the back of the first snow machine are trail markers.

More race security detail members.

Putting booties on the dogs prior to the race.

Dog kennels come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Team out on the line before they are harnessed and ready to go.

Let's go!! Let's Go!!!!!

This sled dog's eyes were blue, like a Siamese cat's eyes.

Back-to-back Iditarod winner Lance Mackey is to the left of the guy in the orange hat. They are all standing at the start line waiting for a musher to take off.


Concession Stand

This young man got bored and brushed away the 8-10 inches of snow off the ice. What you see at his feet is the frozen lake.

The ultimate multi-tasking mom -- a baby in the carrier on her back, one in her arms, one at her feet and taking pictures too!!

Jr. Iditarod Videos

The teams lined up in a circle before the start. We stood in the center of the circle to shoot the video. This is about 1 hour before race time. At this race spectators are allowed to wander amidst the dogs and mushers and take all the photos they want. That is one of the neat things about going to the smaller dog races. At the Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage and at the re-start in Willow, spectators are fenced off from the mushers.

This is about 40 minutes before race time and the mushers are beginning to get their dogs out and prepare them for the race. The dogs begin to sense this and you can hear a few of them barking.

The first team is called to the start line. Notice that the dogs are NOT quiet now. Every one of them wants to GO.

Another team is called to the start line. You can see how the volunteers help to catch the sled and stop it on the start line, so the dogs don't take off before they get the signal to go.

The dogs are ready to go, and another musher is off and running.

Melissa Osmar walking her team to the start line.

If you listen, you will hear the starter countdown the last 5 seconds before he says "GO!"