Today was the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage. Today is for the fans - the mushers use any sled they wish and the dogs they run with often are not the dogs which will be on the team for the rest of the race. Today's theme was celebrating 50 Years of Alaska's Statehood and the Honorary Musher's Sled driven by Dan Seavey, was an antique Freighting sled borrowed from the Knik Museum.
Jeff King who is noted for being 'innovative' when it comes to sled designed went 'old school', VERY old school and ran the Start using an historical design of a Gee Stick Sled. This is a type of sled used by the freighters before the turn of the century like - in the 1800's. The musher/driver is on skis allowing the sled to be filled with freight. Remember that these sleds were designed to be pulled by freighting or sledging dogs, like our Malamutes, not the NASCAR Alaskan Huskies used today. Jeff has posted a You Tube video of a training session - notice the voice control he has of his team - amazing.
Jeff's You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYB5dRPkmDI&feature=channel_page
From the Anchorage Daily News: Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King waves to the crowd near Alaska Native Medical Center as he skis in front of a freighting dog sled during the Iditarod Ceremonial Start on Saturday, March 7, 2009. His freight sled was equipped with a "gee pole" that were used on most every freight sled at the turn of the twentieth century. According to a U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management web page the gee pole was a stout pole lashed to, and projecting from, the front of the sled, which the sled driver could use to leverage and steer the sled. Most dog drivers still did not ride the sled, instead running besides or riding skis or a sort of early snowboard between the dog team and sled. Riding the sled-runners was used only by drivers of light and fast mail and race teams. http://www.adn.com/iditarod/2009/v-gallery/story/714227.html?/1521/gallery/713606-a714407-t3.html
One of Jeff on the Start
June’s Blog with lots of pictures http://backstage-iditarod.blogspot.com/
Some Links to follow the inside view of the race:
I am sure there will be more later -- Tomorrow is the Re-start of the race - the 'real' start where the timer is ticking.
Meantime there are questions floating around about the Start ---- Like:
Alexie and the camo dogs
Lance’s tag sled rider got dumped?
Eric's did, too?
A frog in the sled
Book Signing of Ol' Iditarod Gang
2 years ago