Monday, March 19, 2012

Iditarod Ceremonial Start - March 3, 201

This year we made dog foot ointment and packaged it for use on the trail. We have done that the past three years. We volunteered for a new activity this year. We moved merchandise from the central race headquarters to the auditorium where the Mushers Banquet was held on Thursday evening before the race. We sold a lot of merchandise through out the evening. The highlight of the Mushers banquet is that each musher draws for his starting position in the race.
One of the highlights for us was meeting some folks from Schade Vineyards, a South Dakota winery. They had made an Iditarod wine and placed labels with each mushers picture and information on individual bottles. A silent auction was held for those bottles of Iditarod Ice wine. They also had designed some Iditarod wine glasses which they sold. The big surprise was that they knew Chris & Melanie (our kids in South Dakota).

On Friday we went cross country skiing (I put that in a separate post). Then on Saturday we attended the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage. I have taken lots of pictures of the start and have posted them previously. So I didn't post any from downtown this year.
In this post, I did post some pictures from the Campbell Airstrip, where the teams end up after an 11-mile run through town.

Musher Hugh Neff is a huge supporter of reading. He wears a red & white stove pipe hat and his dogs wear striped red & white jackets (symbolic of The Cat in the Hat). These dogs even wear these jackets on the trail during the race.

The people in the sleds are Iditariders. You can bid for a chance to ride with a musher. Some folks have come for years and ridden with the same mushers. At the start of the race in downtown as his team pulled up to the starting line, musher Lance Mackey was riding in his sled and his elderly musher was standing on the runners. So he got a chance to drive the sled for a few blocks, in addition to riding in the sled through Anchorage.

One of the Berington sisters. Kristy is a three-year veteran and her twin sister Anna was a rookie this year.

The person on the trail sled is reaching out to give "high-fives" to people right beside the trail. In these next pictures you can see how close people can get to the teams. Just past this last group of people there was a huge whole in the trail. Because the mushers were interacting with the crowds, many of them did not notice that all the dogs on the right side of the line were dipping into that spot as they ran by it. Eventually many of the sleds tipped over in that spot or else had a near-miss.

Musher and Iditarider. (And yes, it was really snowing!)

Beautiful dog team

Musher Dan Seavey - 74 years old. He ran in the first Iditarod race in 1973. This was the 40th anniversary of the Race. It was also the 100th anniversary of the Iditarod Trail. Dan wore bib number 100 to commemorate the Trail anniversary. Also running in the race was Dan's son Mitch (a former Race winner) and his grandson Dallas. Dallas Seavey won this year's race and set a record for being the youngest mushers to win. Dan's other grandson Conway (Dallas" brother) won the Jr. Iditarod this year.

Walking back through the park from the Campbell Airstrip (where the Ceremonial Start ended)