Rookies on the Trail

Dear Friends,

Have you been noticing the race standings?  Of the 16 rookies, or first timers on the Iditarod, 14 are running in a row toward the back of the pack today.  Even though they are not in the lead, we need to cheer them on!  It is an accomplishment to even enter the Iditarod, as they need 750 miles of competitive races before they can even qualify for the Iditarod.  Not only did they have to finish well in those smaller races, they needed to show that they have what it takes to handle their dogs well, withstand the cold, and be competitive.  This year, the first mushers to the last mushers are only spread out about 150 miles.  The rookies are keeping a strong pace!

16 of the 38 mushers are rookies!

Another reason we need to be rooting for the rookies is that they will keep the Iditarod Race going.  In the past, there were as many as 88 teams competing.  This year, we only have 38.  Why is that?  First, many veteran mushers have gotten older and have retired from this rigorous race, though many still volunteer to help.  Secondly, it is very expensive to run the Iditarod, and some mushers don’t have the resources or sponsors yet to help them afford it.  

Rookie Anna Hennessy Running Dogs From Shameless Huskies Kennel (Photo: Siri Raitto)

We definitely want this Alaskan tradition to continue.  You might want to call (907) 248-6874 to send a Musher Gram to one of the rookies.  A volunteer will write a note with your message that will be delivered to the musher.  Keep cheering on our rookies:  Josi, Gabe, Isaac, Sean, Will, Anna, Severin, Lara, Calvin, Erin, Jeff, Benjamin, Connor, Lauro, Bryce, and Joshua!  They are the future of the Iditarod.

Until next time,


P.S.  You can read about the rookies with this link.  Click on their photos to learn about each person!