Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hooked on mushing

I know, it may seem we have an obsession with the Iditarod, but it's such an gripping event... Managing Editor Larry Ryckman says his colleagues always followed the race when he worked with the AP, and I remember friends following it while I was in the Australian outback and during three years in subSaharan Africa.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

NOME, Alaska — Hundreds of people lined Front Street for the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday night. Thousands if not tens of thousands glued themselves to their television sets. More clicked rapidly on their computers to monitor results.

Twenty-seven-thousand feet above the trail, Dick Mackey listened on a radio. Down below, his 36-year-old son, Lance, was making Alaska history, becoming the first musher to win the 1,100-mile Iditarod and the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race in the same year.

“I’m picturing my dad with a bucket full of tears, waiting underneath the Burled Arch,” Lance said before he left White Mountain and on the last leg of his run to victory.”

Instead of dad, he got exuberant brother Jason who wouldn’t stop hugging the race winner. Dad, who now winters in Arizona, was stuck on an Alaska Airlines jet somewhere between Kotzebue and Nome. A broken jet in Seattle, he said, had delayed his arrival in Nome.

“Where’s my dad?” Lance asked his wife, Tonya, beneath the Burled Arch. "He’s on his way” was all she could say.

... Not five minutes after starting his first sit-down meal since leaving Anchorage nine days earlier, someone in the yelled, “Look who’s here!” And there, barreling through the thick crowd as if he was still being chased to the finish line by Rick Swenson in 1978 was Lance’s 74-year-old father, a fellow Iditarod champ.

Lance dropped his fork; abandoned his New York steak, baked potato and salad ... and jumped off the stage to give pops a giant bear hug. The two cried. Both had ear-to-ear smiles.

... "You will forever be an Iditarod champion,” Dick said. “Damn, I’m so proud of you. Mission accomplished.”

... On the way from Kotzebue to Nome, the pilot announced over the intercom that Lance had reached Front Street, then crossed the finish line. “Everyone on the airplane was just cheering,” Dick said. “It was a great day.

3 comments:

Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

The Iditarod is cruel to dogs. For the facts: http://www.helpsleddogs.org

zen said...

Abused dogs don't run.

But they will attack.

Think this through.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the dogs just don't look like they are having fun at all! Please, if you have all the time and money invested in a team of dogs, why would you abuse them?