The Last Great Race On Earth

I went out to photograph the start of the 2010 running of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race last weekend.
Also known as the Last Great Race…
This 1,000 mile race is the most famous of events up here. Superbowl comparison?, pfffffffft
Not many people know who Lance Armstrong is here, everyone knows the name Lance Mackey.
You have perhaps met Sarah Palin in the news,  but do you know the more infamous Dee Dee Jonroe?
Bret Favre who? Meet Martin Buser and Jeff King! The list goes on and on.
And it is not about just the favored few winners, or a medal count, or other national trappings,
that’s where this event is stands above most, it is an individual and team event with story after story of accomplishment,
my kind of event, and a real Alaskan event.
Here is a bit of cross section of photos and contenders, from champs to rookies;
KSP_2608 ac Jeff King
Four time Iditarod Campion Jeff King gives the victory sign only 8 miles from the start of the 1000 mile race to nome.
Always full of confidence, always a contender

KSP_2638 ac Dee Dee Jonroe 2

Dee Dee Jonroe has been a musher in the iditarod since 1980, never winning (yet), but often being in the top ten, she is always considered a contender. A cancer survivor (especially poignant after Susan Butcher lost her life to cancer after becoming a Champion Iditarod musher) Go Dee Dee!

 KSP_2610 ac Newton Marshall

First time Iditarod musher Newton Marshal is 26 years old and is from Jamaica.

His biggest fan and sponsor is Jimmy Buffet the singer songwriter! How cool is that?

 KSP_2694 ac Sonny Lindner

Sonny Lindner is a carpentry contracter from Two Rivers Alaska. This 60 year old grandfather won the first Yukon Quest. He says of the Iditarod. I enjoy the Iditarod Trail with dogs. I enjoy the Iditarod. It is a good trip for the dogs and musher – good scenery, says Sonny.

KSP_2674 Martin Buser

Four time Iditarod Champion, Martin Buser holds the record for fastest finish time in Iditarod history; his team completed the 2002 race in 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes, and 2 seconds. Known for his sense of humor, the big Swiss now US citizen owns the Happy Trail Kennels in Big Lake Alaska. My favorite portrait of the day.

KSP_2620 ac Hans Gatt

Hans Gatt is a very accomplished medium distance musher and sled maker from Yukon Territory Canada. Originally from Austria, and at age 51 Hans just unseated Lance Mackey for the all time record in the Yukon Quest. His team is looking confident and ready to go!

KSP_2737 Lance Mackey

Three time Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey gives a wave after passing another team on his way to Nome.

You can follow the action if you like here>>


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23 Responses to The Last Great Race On Earth

  1. john says:

    man an his dogs .. dueling the elements. great show and comments by you.will be paying a little more attention to that state up north next couple weeks.

  2. Cat says: needed to visit you and Alaska tonight and be reminded of tales read as a child by Jack London and I can\’t remember who else about life, death and all the particiapants.

  3. Sue says:

    Love the pic\’s they great,Thanks for telling us about the people and there wonderful dogsTake careSue

  4. Vieille Ourse says:

    I just love these pictures calling back memories as I read so many books by Jack London as a kid …;o)))

  5. PEP says:

    Pretty cool. How long is the race?

  6. Fizz says:

    Most excellent… love the Iditarod, will check out the links… the photos are amazing, it\’s like they\’re looking right at you!!

  7. Flo says:

    Absolutely great set of photos! And I love that you did this. I had planned to watch the start via web cams, and something came up and I was unable to be at my computer. So I\’m so glad to see these photos. Thank you! 🙂

  8. Rambling says:

    You know, I wonder too how long the race is?Super photos.

  9. J says:

    Hi Steve, great pictures. Pixel excitement was just rattling on every shot! Go Dawgs. I see some doggie booties in these shots. Are they able to keep them on? I never can with my lap dogs.

  10. Terry says:

    One of the teachers at the school were I worked uses this in her class lessons. The kids really get into following it.

  11. Patsy says:

    Being the dog Lover I am, these dogs are beautiful and thanks for sharing the race details with us. Stay warm. Hugs

  12. Sherry says:

    I was hoping when I started looking at your pictures that you got one of our cousin Zoya Denure, she\’s racing too. She use to be a high fashion model but gave it up once she visited Alaska and loved it. She owns a dog kennel too and rescues dogs. The pictures are great btw, almost like I was standing right next to you.

  13. Kuskulana says:

    PEP and Rambling, How long is the race? Well, ahem, 1,000 miles like I said in the opening line.This year\’s race is actually 904 miles, according to the official Iditarod web site.It does vary from ear to year.As far as the Jack London stuff yes that is what attracts many to this race, and Alaska.Sherry, I did see Zoya Denure during my photos of the start at mile about 8.She is strikingly beautiful, so much so she didn\’t seem to even fit in.I didn\’t get a photo of her, as I missed a few teams and mushers when they came by me all together.I see she has scratched, meaning she out of the race.Hope the experience was positive for her!

  14. Sherry says:

    Oh that\’s too bad she has scratched. I\’m sure she enjoyed it and I think she raced last year too. She is a very pretty girl isn\’t she.

  15. kevin says:

    Cool photo essay Steve.

  16. PEP says:

    Steve I saw that you said 1000 miles. I meant to ask "how many days does that usually take?" Then I saw that you said the fastest time was 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds. So there I have it, the answer was there all along. I just didn\’t pay attention :-). I\’ll be intersted to see how the guy from Jamaica performs.

  17. Fizz says:

    I researched Zoya and found out why she scratched:, they made it sound better than it is… it sounds like her infection is pretty bad. Embarrassingly, from an impacted breast… she was in the process of weaning her baby and the breast got impacted and then got infection… Sounds really disappointing, really, as the team was doing quite well from my understanding…

  18. Vic says:

    Nice photo essay steve. It is a great event for sure.

  19. Cindy says:

    We\’ve followed the Iditarod for years. Some years ago when we were at the Eskimo Olympics in Fairbanks we got to meet Herbie Nayokpuk. What a thrill that was. Jim used to carry a picture of Susan Butcher\’s dog Granite, because he was such a great lead dog. Her and Libby Riddles were quite the mushers. Thanks for bringing back such great memories.

  20. ' says:

    Those pictures look great, what an exciting blog entry. A thousand miles sounds very daunting but don\’t those dogs look fit and very competative.

  21. I says:

    What an amazing experiance this must have been! Just to be there and take in all of the sights and sounds. These photos are priceless!!

  22. Barb says:

    Great action shots Steve. I really love the ones where you chose to focus on the dogs instead of the humans. The tongues hanging out are wonderful! 🙂

  23. Jana says:

    what a great photos of the race and explanantion for us who doesn\’t know anything! 🙂

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