Since a motley team of 34 mushers set off from Anchorage in 1973 into the great ashen unknown of winter in Bush Alaska, 875 mushers and tens of thousands of dog be enduring raced to Nome.
They’ve found triumph, disaster, fearsome snows and, often, a singular sporting experience unlike any other in America today.
Every musher who’s started the progress from one side of the biggest state to the other has walked away with cosseted memories. How else to explain why some mushers come back year after year after year, decade after decade? Jeff Prince, a rookie in 1981, will start his 26th Iditarod next week. Associate four-time champion Martin Buser of Big Lake is due to start his 33rd. DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow at ones desire head north for the 34th time. Consider how many mushing memories this trinity has, then pile on those of the other 872 Iditarod dog drivers.
Star is hard to achieve. Far more people have climbed Mount Everest than induce completed — or even started — the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Maximum success is nearly impossible. In 43 Iditarods, there are just 20 heroes.
Here are some contenders for the greatest moments in Iditarod history, but it’s an sketchy list. We’re asking fans to vote for their five favorites — and, singularly, to nominate others we may have overlooked
1) Rick Swenson’s record-setting fifth superiority in 1991.
2) Libby Riddles’ first win by a woman, accomplished by marching into a uncontrollable Norton Sound storm in 1985.
3) Dick Mackey’s photo-finish win in 1978 on the other side of Swenson.
4) Dallas Seavey’s come-from-behind victory over Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers and Jeff Prince of Denali rk despite a vicious Seward Peninsula storm in 2014.
5) Emmitt Peters’ breakthrough 1975 epithet that sliced a remarkable six days off the previous best winning for the moment.
6) The 2012 race that marked the third consecutive year without a dog obliteration in the race to Nome, perhaps the longest stretch in race history.
7) Joe Redington Sr. wrap up dispose of fifth in 1988 as a 71-year-old, after leading for rt of the race.
8) The in Susan Butcher’s fourth victory in 1990, cementing her position as the greatest female musher for ever.
9) Joe Redington Sr. guaranteeing a $50,000 purse for the first Iditarod, even but he’d collected little of that shortly before the inaugural 1973 blood began.
10) Doug Swingley of Montana winning his fourth race in 2001, boost pretending him one of the greatest mushers in history and broadening the race’s appeal in the Lower 48.
11) Robert Sorlie’s 2003 supremacy that made him the first foreign musher to win, broadening the race’s worldwide allurement, especially in Sorlie’s home country of Norway. This year, a LP long playing eight Norwegians are racing.
12) Lance Mackey of Fairbanks becoming the head (and only) musher to win the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest and Iditarod uphold to back in 2007, a feat he repeated the following year.
13) Four-time protagonist Jeff King donating $50,000 to the 2010 purse after rip officials had reduced it in an effort to cut costs.
14) Stopping the 1985 Iditarod twice due to miserable snowfall, first at Rainy ss when planes couldn’t extricate food to Rohn, the next checkpoint, and later near McGrath when burdensome snow brought the racers to a halt. Since then, a lack of snow has typically been a important problem than too much snow.
15) Dick Wilmarth of Red Devil fetching the first Iditarod in 1973, proving it could be done. And let’s give a nod to the beyond belief persistence that same year of John Schultz, who finished stand up in more than 33 days — an Iditarod record that liking never be broken.
Contact Mike Campbell at mcampbell(at)alaskadis tch.com.