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The Great Alaskan Idiotarod Dog Sledding Race

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Did you catch my deliberate misspelling in the headline? Lots of people think that’s the way it should be spelled, but not me. This is one of those competitions that honor the historical ways of the pioneers, before they were changed forever by technology. Some claim the race also commemorates delivery of serum to Nome in 1925 to stop a diptheria epidemic.

One of the most remarkable and famous dog sledding races in the world, the Iditarod dog sledding race is held in Alaska every year, making it an Alaskan trademark and attraction to many dog sledding champions all over the world. The race is about half over for 2013 as this is being written.

Up until the 1950’s, dog-sled teams were the most efficient and common way of getting around Alaska. They could literally go thousands of places that airplanes couldn’t. The Alaskan Gold Rush and indeed even the general development of the territory would not have been possible without them. However, when the snowmobile became available in the 1960’s, dog-sledding quickly disappeared, and the various Huskies became endangered breeds.

Iditarod Dog Sledding Race

The Iditarod dog sledding race goes from Anchorage to Nome, covering up to 1,150 miles and was initially begun in honor of the many Alaska mail delivery men who go through the harsh weather just to do their job. And what’s going through the thick, heavy world of blizzard and snow without the most beloved companions – sled dogs. The race began in 1967 and 1969 as a 56-mile race, initiated by Joe Reddington Sr. and Dorothy Page, who both wanted to revive dog sled races while at the same time, paying tribute to the mushers and sled dogs of their ancestors. People lost interest, and it was not held again until 1973, when it became a roughly 1,150 mile race from Anchorage to Nome, approximately along the route of the old historic Iditarod trail. The race was officially named Iditarod Trail Leonhard Seppala Memorial Race, in honor of those who had contributed to the prosperity of the state.

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