The Beginning of the 2019 Iditarod

Nicolas Petit lounging with one of his dogs at the picnic

The annual Iditarod musher sign-up and volunteer picnic took place which officially means that the 2019 Iditarod has begun. This year’s race will be the 47th Iditarod since its beginning in 1973.

Iditarod headquarters was filled with mushers who were excited to sign up for this race which will test their mental and physical fortitude, their mushing ability as well as their preparedness. Former Iditarod mushers, including the renowned Dick Mackey, were seen enjoying the picnic and reminiscing about their experiences on the trail. Fans of all ages and from different regions could be seen seeking out mushers in order to share a conversation and acquire an autograph. Race officials and volunteers were also dispersed throughout the crowd and were sharing memorable moments from the race!

A total of 28 mushers have signed up thus far. Among the list includes several former champions- Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Martin Buser, and Jeff King. There are also two rookie entrants- Blair Braverman and Jessica Klejka. Although all of the mushers have different levels of experience, one commonality the mushers share is that a significant amount of work and planning will need to take place between now and March of 2019.

During the picnic, everyone enjoyed a plentiful meal which was provided by Golden Corral. Additionally, raffles prizes were drawn which included autographed memorabilia, books, artwork, and other awesome items! The most significant raffle prize was specifically for mushers and that was a waived entrance fee for the 2019 Iditarod Race! Anja Radano and Jeff Deeter were the two lucky winners who will not need to pay the $4,000 race entry fee!

Nicolas Petit, Martin Buser, Barb Redington, Jeff Deeter and his wife, KattiJo, wait in anticipation to see who will win the prize of no entrance fee

Many students are often curious about what it takes to enter the Iditarod. It is evident that a tremendous amount of skill, time, and money are essential requirements for mushers; however, among the qualifications, mushers must be at least 18 years of age by the start of the race. Additionally, mushers must complete two (2) 300 mile qualifiers and another approved qualifier for a total of 750 miles! For more information about the qualification, read Rule 1 in the official race rules.

The musher sign-up and volunteer picnic was a great event! For the mushers who have not signed up yet, the deadline for entry is midnight, November 30th. There is no doubt that everyone is looking forward to seeing who else will register for The Last Great Race® and attempt to complete the more than 1,000 mile infamous journey.