Paws Along the Trail with Workers
The Iditarod is a dog-powered race, but beyond the dogs and mushers, there’s an army that makes it happen! For months, people have been ordering musher bibs, lining up race volunteers, preparing the trail by cutting saplings and moving logs, and running the auction where people can bid to ride with mushers at the Ceremonial Start. The small group of Iditarod staff depend on hundreds of volunteers. Some of the jobs for which adventure lovers can volunteer include:
Iditarod Air Force – They fly supplies, vets, dropped dogs, and the Teacher on the Trail to and from checkpoints using their own planes
Comms (communications) – These volunteers keep statistics on musher times, how many dogs each team has at each checkpoint, and much more. They are experts with counting and spreadsheets!
Logistics Crew – To keep things running smoothly, this group coordinates planes, personnel, and more. Timing is everything and they are the planners at the checkpoints.
Trail Breakers – Snow machines and chainsaws are major tools of their trade. They keep the trails clear and mark them with orange topped wooden stakes.
P Team – These tough, not squeamish, volunteers collect urine samples from the dogs for testing.
Dropped dog crew – These dog whisperers care for the dogs left in checkpoints perhaps due to the dog just being done running or an injury. They make sure the dogs get flown out to their handlers or to a women’s correctional facility near Anchorage to be cared for by women who have earned the privilege until the mushers return from Nome.
Street Crews – Friday evening beginning at 9 PM, dumptrucks full of snow began taking over 4th Avenue in Anchorage. Plows were having a great time bashing into huge loads of snow left in the street. They are working late tonight to get the streets paved with a nice layer of snow for the dog teams to run on at the Ceremonial Start.
There is so much that has to be planned and done to bring about the Iditarod. Hats off to these amazing people who plan and work hard to make everything ready for the Ceremonial Start!