Today, March 4, the 40th annual Iditarod officially begins in Wasilla, AK. I would like to say I came to Alaska just to see the Iditarod, but that wouldn’t be entirely honest, as I am not in Wasilla today. But I did come to see the sled dogs, the races and the mushers, as well as to feel the excitement in the air- and I was not disappointed.
The Ceremonial Start to the Iditarod, which is always held in Anchorage the day before the race begins, allows onlookers to see the “action” and be excited for the Iditarod. It is a wonderful thing to view.
There are 67 teams this year in the race, and the ceremonial start isn’t about racing, it’s about the mushers seeing their fans (and vice versa). It’s about getting a proper “send off”. It’s about fun.
We had a musher stop at our little cookout when one of the children in our group asked for a ride- the musher complied and took him up the hill on his way down the trail. Another musher, Lance Mackey, a 4-time Iditarod winner, stopped and accepted one of our offered hot dogs as he went along. Many others had joyful comments or threw out dog mitts, and all had big smiles.