23 mushers were on location at the Iditarod Trail Committee Headquarters in Wasilla to officially enter the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Another 17 signed up by mail, rounding out the total to 40 mushers who submitted applications on the first official entry day for the 48th running of the Iditarod.
Today’s entrants include six rookies. International teams include four teams from Canada, one from Norway, one from Denmark and one from Italy. The majority of mushers hail from Alaska, however, the states of Michigan and Montana represented with one entrant each.
Current Iditarod champion, Pete Kaiser, four-time champions Martin Buser and Lance Mackey, and 2018 Iditarod champion, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, along with a strong field of veteran finishers will make for an impressive 48th running of the Iditarod.
During the opening day festivities, the Iditarod Trail Committee announced its new CEO, Rob Urbach, during the annual membership meeting and also paid tribute to the hundreds of volunteers at its annual volunteer appreciation picnic.
Each year, two mushers names are randomly drawn at the end of the volunteer appreciation picnic to receive a complimentary entry fee into the race. Veteran musher Mitch Seavey from Sterling, Alaska, and rookie musher Gabe Dunham of Willow, Alaska, were this year’s winners.
Mushers wishing to apply to enter Iditarod XLVIII have until the close of business on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, to turn in their entries.