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The I-did-a-what?
It's known as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race It's often referred to as the Last Great Race on Earth, or simply the Iditarod
It's a competition that pits a Musher and a team of dogs against other racers Every year, it begins in Anchorage, AK during the first weekend in March and the racers travel 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome 1049 Miles? The actual race route may be as long as 1170 miles, depending on how the trail breakers set the course. The race is always longer than 1000 miles; the distance of 1049 was chosen because on January 3, 1959, Alaska was proclaimed the 49th state to join the US

How did the Iditarod start?
Looking at History… • 1925 Nome Diphtheria Outbreak • Serum was located in Anchorage (train relayed it Nenana) • 20 mushers teamed up cover 674 miles from Nenana to Nome • Wild Bill Shannon went with nine dogs on the 52-mile trip where he would hand the serum to another musher. • The temperature was 35 degrees below zero • Shannon and 19 other mushers, including champion racer Leonhard Seppala got the medicine to Nome and many lives were saved.

a dog owned by Leonhard Seppala. Today there is a statue of Balto located in NYC Central Park.Balto Balto. However. in the end he was the one who completed the task and become a legend. . helped save the city of Nome from the fateful death of diphtheria by leading a sled team over the terrain of the Iditarod trail in 1925. He was not supposed to be the dog responsible for getting the medicine to help the sick.

Sr. starting at 10 a. The race became known as the "The Last Great Race on Earth" .m. and Joe Redington and Dorothy Page were known as the 'father and mother of the Iditarod". Joe Redington. with part of it following the old Iditarod Trail. joined with Dorothy Page. A sled dog race was held. an Alaskan interested in history In 1967.RACE BEGINNINGS The idea of having a race over the Iditarod Trail was conceived by the late Dorothy G. and it was extended to Nome in 1973. There are usually over 65 teams starting and some years even more. The teams leave the start line at the corner of 4th and “D” at two minute intervals. Page. . The race has started in downtown Anchorage since 1983.

1973.The first Iditarod race to Nome started March 3. Dick Wilmarth – the 1st Iditarod Winner .

.000 dogs leave Anchorage for Nome.Who Let The Dogs Out? The teams average 16 dogs. **"Mushing" is a term for a sport or transport method powered by dogs. teams travel 5 to12 mph. freighting and weight pulling. More specifically. and includes carting. it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow. dogsled racing. which means over 1. During the race.

000 miles in 9-15 days with little sleep. They are responsible for caring for and feeding all of the dogs.Each team of dogs is led by a MUSHER who is the driver of the dogsleds. Mush On! . Each musher endures extreme weather conditions and travels over 1.

at least six dogs must cross the finish line. called Alaskan husky. Mushers will have various breeds of dogs on their team Dogs that weigh around 40 to 45 pounds are the ideal size The smartest and fastest dogs are lead dogs and run in the front of the pack Behind them run swing dogs. the dogs and a whole lot of gear The dogs that race in the Iditarod are primarily of a mixed breed.Dogs. At the race's end. . They are usually the largest and strongest of the team At the race's start there must be between 12 and 16 dogs. Mushers and Sleds Each team competing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is made up of a dog driver. but the front of the sled are the wheel dogs. they direct the team around turns In the back of the team.


No Cinderella stories there. he's just not going to make the team. they show that they like to be in charge and can learn the commands very quickly. friendly. • • . The ones who want to lead just go for it—they are hard chargers. Other dog characteristics include good appetite. Lead dogs show signs of being leaders from puppyhood. hardworking. but the best dogs are the ones with heart. At least that's what I liked to do. willingness. and an ability to run fast for a very long way! The physical traits and muscular structure of the dog's body are important. If he doesn't. As they get older. The dogs have to be committed and dedicated workers. They are usually very curious and spunky. They need a combination of speed. They will hesitate. and the desire to get the job accomplished. Most dogs don't want to lead. Beyond that. No way. strength.Interview with Mushers Q: What makes a good sled dog? • Martin Buser: A good sled dog is a lot like a good person: honest. • Mitch Seavey: There are physical characteristics that a dog must have. with a positive attitude. and curious. You try all the dogs and see what they do. it's mostly attitude. and attitude. A true leader just goes to work. Gary Paulson: Leaders kind of select themselves. good feet.

and teams may cover 2. and each team may go through 2. and sometimes pull all-terrain vehicles The dogs are fed at each checkpoint but they also get snacks every few hours. mushers ship 100s of pounds of food and gear to points along the trail through the race committee so it is waiting for them at checkpoints.000 miles in the course of the training leading up to the race Training takes place year-round. . the dogs sometimes run on dry land.000 to 3. Gear for dogs includes fabric booties to protect their feet from the elements.000 booties during the race.Getting ready for the race The training for each team of dogs varies by musher Conditioning the dogs to run long distances is vital. Before the race.



• They wear warm boots and eye goggles and carry ski poles.The Musher • Mushers are required to pack a sleeping bag. a gun. . • Mushers sleep very little during the race…one 24hour and two eight-hour mandatory rests other than that they push themselves to stay awake. and a cooker or pot and fuel for boiling water and cooking for themselves and the dogs. snowshoes. an ax. a headlamp and food on the trail.

By!: Pass another team or other distraction. “Let’s go” and "All Right" are also used): Start • Kissing sound: Speed up.but it takes months of training to get dogs working together as a team. Once sled dogs can remain in top form for years . The most common commands for a dog team are: • Hike! ("Mush“. . and "mush" is thought to be the word to get dogs moving…that is not always true. • Haw!: Turn to the left. • Whoa: Stop. • Ontrained. • Easy!: Slow down.'s not unusual to see 10-year-old dogs in races Mushers usually have no trouble getting sled dogs moving – it’s harder to get them to stop .Know Your Mushing Terms Although the dog team drivers are referred to as "mushers". • Gee!: Turn to the right.

500 They have a basket where gear is carried and a tired dog can rest. the sleds used weigh around 100 pounds-twice that once loaded with gear-and cost around $1. and the dogs each wear a collar and a harness There are no reins. which are usually made of wood and covered in plastic or Teflon.. and are outfitted with a braking device Mushers stand on the sled's runners.The Sled The official race rules require that "some type of sled or toboggan must be drawn" but specifications are up to each racer Typically. and dogs respond to the musher's vocal commands . and extend out from the sled's basket The dogs are attached to the sled with a series of lines called rigging.


provide transportation for dogs that drop from the race. The volunteers act as trailbreakers. but help from outsiders is not permitted. and pass over the path on snow machines and place markers for the mushers to follow. transports dog food and supplies (drop bags)to checkpoints. for officials and for others.Hazards on the Trail Mushers are allowed to assist each other on the trail. . Hundreds of race volunteers provide help to avoid and deal with many hazards before the race starts. If any outside assistance is accepted for emergencies. it has to be reported to officials and a penalty may be imposed. The Iditarod Air Force. and conduct search-andrescue operations for teams that may have veered off course.

it can be almost impossible to continue racing. broken bones and illnesses can occur. Snow blindness. wolves. Dogs can make a wrong turn and a team might end up off course It's even possible for a race team to fall through the ice. . Frostbite can set in. (moose are the biggest problem) Snowmobiles also pose a problem on the trail. buffalo and other animals can threaten race teams. and driving snow and wind are common.More Hazards… Temperatures range from 50 degrees to 60 below zero. caribou. Lack of sleep can bring on hallucinations. If it's too cold. If it's too warm. Susan Butcher's did in 1984. Moose. but her two lead dogs managed to pull the whole team out. they can damage trails and snow bridges and affect the snow's surface. the trail can be slushy and wet.


At each checkpoint. but where and when that happens is up to each competitor. Two other eight-hour stops at designated checkpoints are required. starting in Anchorage and ending in Nome.500 pounds of dog food is distributed to each team and each musher must sign in upon arrival. There are 26 checkpoints along the trail. they are required to take checkpoint breaks. A mandatory 24-hour stop must be made. Beyond that. making fatigue unavoidable . A veterinarian is stationed at each checkpoint to provide care to the dogs. 2.Checkpoints For the mushers' and dogs' well being. racers are free to go on.

All mushers hit this checkpoint at the junction of Skwentna and Yentna rivers the first night of the race.Race restart.Pretty. First musher here gets $3.end of race .Finishing line . an eight-hour stop. Saturday (2) Willow . Sunday (3) Skwentna .Abandoned mining town halfway along southern route. As many as 40 teams may camp here (9) Takotna . welcoming village known for its fresh pies.Specific Checkpoints (1) Anchorage Ceremonial start.000 in gold (22) White Mountain . 77 miles to Nome (24) Nome .Mushers take final mandatory rest here. Favored spot to take the 24-hour layover (11) Iditarod .

To the Finish Line!!!! Not every dog finishes the race. Sometimes a musher or veterinarian decides that the dog is not strong enough to finish the race. If the difficult race becomes too strenuous or musher may choose to or may be forced to SCRATCH or drop out of the race. . Not every musher finishes the race. The dog is then DROPPED from the race and cared for at a nearby checkpoint.

each may receive $1.500 in one-dollar bills as winner of the Millennium Hotel First Musher to the Yukon Award. The first musher to reach the cities of Anvik in odd-numbered years gets a sevencourse meal prepared at the checkpoint and $3.An Award for Last Place? Contestants of the Iditarod split a pot that's grown to be around $875.500 in gold nuggets awarded by Wells Fargo. race winner Lance Mackey won $69. For those finishing 31st and beyond.000. The first musher to reach the halfway point in the town of Iditarod in oddnumbered years and the town of Cripple in even-numbered years receives the GCI Dorothy Page Halfway Award and $3.049.000 plus a pickup truck (valued around $40. . The top lead dog takes home an embroidered gold-colored harness as the winner of the Lolly Medley Memorial Golden Harness Award. In 2007.000 in gold nuggets. The first musher to make it to Unalakleet receives a hand-carved trophy and $2. The musher who crosses the finish line last receives the Wells Fargo Red Lantern Award.000). Every other finisher receives a slightly smaller amount than the previous finisher.

2013 Iditarod Here We Come!!! • Ceremonial Race Start – Anchorage — Saturday. March 2 10:00am • Race Restart – Willow — Sunday. March 3 2:00pm • As of now there are 67 Mushers entered in the race .

Nome is the Finish Line! 8d 18h 46m 39s. John Schultz has the record slowest time from 1973 with 32d 05h 19m 01s John Baker has the record fastest time from 2011 with .

purses .Math • • • • • • compare food prices mph conversions of distances calculate weights of food needed cost to musher to prepare cost v.

Science • Weather – Wind chill – Storm tracker • Aurora Borealis and Midnight sun .

Language Arts • Musher biographies • Write to a musher • Daily Log (Musher’s progress in the race) .

Social Studies • History of Alaska • Follow the trail of your musher on the map .


the scenery never changes. .And Remember… If you’re not the lead dog.