Friday, March 09, 2007

500 miles to Nome

Four-time champion Martin Buser was awarded with a seven-course gourmet meal and presented with a gold pan filled with $3,500 in $1 bills for being the first musher Friday to reach theYukon River in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

“Pretty awesome,” he said.

Buser shared his meal with Iditarod veteran Ken Chase. The two mushers became friends in 1980 during a cold Iditarod run on the Yukon River. Buser was trying to camp out on the river. Chase steered him toward a more comfortable spot.

The finish line in Nome is about 500 miles away.

Defending champion and four-time winner Jeff King was second into the checkpoint. Lance Mackey was third.

Buser said he’s taken some pretty hard hits on the trail this year — one that he thought was going to end his 24th Iditarod. He was on his way to the halfway point at Iditarod when he banged his knee on a tussock. “I thought I had totally broken it. It made such a loud pop,” he said. “It just knocked me off the sled and passed me out.”

When Buser came to, he pulled himself back on his sled and continued on. “Obviously, I am wimpy. I couldn’t handle the pain and passed out.”


jackborodkin said...

For Iditarod facts:

Dena Rosenberry said...

Jack links to a site that takes on a worthy issue, for sure: Are these races good for the dogs.

We included note of the controversy in our March 4 package about local musher Lachlan Clarke.

"The Iditarod has its critics. The Humane Society of the United States opposes the race in its current form, along with other mushing events in which the emphasis is on competition and entertainment.
"Other watchdog groups include the Sled Dog Action Coalition, which claims the race and the practices of mushers are inhumane.
"Lachlan and Linda Clarke, sled dog racers from Buena Vista, tell critics they love their dogs and take their care seriously.
"'These dogs are bred to run,' just like a retriever retrieves and a hound follows a scent with its nose, Lachlan Clarke said.
"'You have to have a relationship with an animal to travel 1,000 miles with them,' Linda Clarke said. 'It’s a team of 17 to 16 dogs and a human — out there, and if you are abusing the dogs or being cruel to them, they won’t go.'"

Anyone else care to weigh in? Is the sport itself cruel? Long distance races? OK, but in need of stricter regulations?