It’s Friday night and the Junior Iditarod mushers have drawn their bib numbers. Thanks to the generosity of local merchants each participant received a care package that included a musher hat, headband, gloves, socks and other items too numerous to mention. As the mushers and parents enjoyed pizza, the trail boss reviewed the route and trail markings. As has been the tradition for the past 30 years, the Junior route will cover 150 miles – 75 miles from Knik Lake to Yentna Station and 75 miles from Yentna Station to the finish on Willow Lake.
When it came time to draw starting positions, dog tags were placed in a hat made of dog booties. The mushers drew and announced their starting position. Before the Saturday morning start, dog tags must be placed on each dog, on the person and on the sled. Kipmik provided five packs of 100 dog booties and the lucky winners were dogs owned by Conway Seavey, Jimmy Lanier, Jenny Greger, Malinda Tjelta and Alea Robinson.
To thank the many generous businesses and individuals who provided prizes for the Junior Iditarod, the mushers signed bibs that will be presented to the sponsors. Once again, Lynden Transportation will award scholarships to the top finishers. Lynden also sponsors the humanitarian and sportsmanship awards. Previous scholarship winners have used the funds to attend college, flight school, trade school and business school.
The Junior Iditarod Board of Directors chose to honor Scooter Newman as the Honorary Musher for the 2013 Junior Iditarod. Scooter participated in the first three Junior Iditarod races. She impressed her mentors with her work ethic and abilities as a dog musher. Scooter was very competitive and worked hard to do her best for her dogs and do her best in every race. In running the early races, Scooter influenced other young girls to participate in the sport as well as run dogs competitively. Scooter passed away in August of 2012 at the young age of 50. She’s an inspiring part of Junior Iditarod history. The Junior mushers signed Bib #1 to present to Howie Newman, Scooter’s father.
There was a lot of excitement at the musher meeting tonight. As the dog trucks arrive at Knik Lake in the morning, the dogs will add their energy to that of the mushers. It looks like it will be an excellent event. The trail was reported to be in excellent condition. Weather conditions for the race should be mild with the possibility of light snow. Follow the progress of the teams from start to finish at www.jriditarod.com.