For years I’ve known that the dogsled race Race to the Sky was the prelude to the Iditarod. Doug Swingley, a four-time winner of the Iditarod, lives in Lincoln, where Race to the Sky starts every year. I’ve wanted to go over and watch it for years, too – but it’s kinda far. Yesterday I was paid to go!!! I took a busload of kids to cheer on a local gal. Just 15 years old, Charmayne Morrison was entered in the junior race that covered 100 miles!
Sadly, snow conditions were terrible, as in almost nonexistent. Hopefully there was more out in the valleys and hills where they traveled, but in Lincoln it was a muddy mess. It didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm. To say the dogs are anxious to get started is an understatement. I’ll do a youtube so you can hear the atmosphere (when youtube is taking uploads again). Still pictures can’t convey the excitement and noise.
I always thought dog booties were to protect the dogs’ feet from ice, but many were wearing them as they headed out yesterday. Some mushers started out with a companion, either riding with them on the runners or in the sled; I don’t know why that was either. Unlike the Iditarod, where you need a “pit pass” to mingle with the mushers, this relatively small affair has no boundaries for gawkers, but everyone involved with a team is busy and the dogs are excitable, so I felt it was better not to ask too many questions. It’s fun enough to watch and listen, and the energy is contagious.
Charmayne had her own cheering section, complete with banners.
And typical of stores in Montana, there’s someone to keep an eye on you while you wait for the bathroom 🙂
Despite the mud and the cold, I wouldn’t have missed this. Will check now and see how many contestants are going on to the Iditarod!
Looks like a fun day! Can’t wait to see the video!!
I have seen those dogs lined up in previous tv coverage. They just cant contain themselves. So glad you got to feel the excitement first hand. I hope your student did well.
Cool! So you didn’t find out about the booties either?
From the great and powerful Wiki: Dog booties, commonly called “booties”, are rubber, fabric, or plastic coverings for dogs’ paws, used to protect the animal from cold weather, rough terrain, or injury. They are analogous to human shoes and are most common in sled dog races. Many races require booties as a basic element of dog care. The Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race, for example, requires mushers to carry no fewer than eight booties per dog.
Must have been protecting them from rocks this weekend 🙂 I did read in the paper yesterday that two people start out on the sled sometimes just to keep the dogs under control, they are so excited to get started!