Ceremonial Start

Hi Boys and Girls,

What a day it has been!  This was the first Saturday in March, when means today was the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod.  The Ceremonial Start takes place on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. It’s a day for the mushers to show off their team and talk with their fans. The mood is relaxed and is a lot of fun. The dogs even get some head pets and good belly rubs!  This part of the race is 11 miles long ending at Campbell field.  The race times are not added in to the overall race times. 








This year is the 20th year of The Teacher on the Trail™ program.  The first Teacher on the Trail™, Finney was honored this whole week and cut the ribbon for the Ceremonial Start.





Every team has an Iditarider.  This is a person who has bid for the privilege to ride in a sled during the Ceremonial Start. The Iditarider goes for a ride of a lifetime.  They are able to feel what it is like to ride behind a team of dogs.  Near the finish, many of the mushers got off their sleds and let their Iditarider take the team across the finish line.  The musher either rode in the sled basket or on the runners next to or behind the Iditarider.  What an amazing experience for these Iditariders.




Most teams also have a drag sled.  A drag sled is a second sled that is attached to the first sled with the purpose of slowing the team down. Remember today was for fun and with the excitement of the dogs and the crowds of people along the trail, this is the safest way for the teams to travel. Usually it’s a family member or dog handler of the mushers’ that is driving the drag sled. 


It looked like everyone had a great day.  The mushers are now packing up and getting ready for the Restart in Willow tomorrow.  I can’t wait!















Now that the race is starting, I will be sending out a question of the day.  Todays question is to look at the first picture above at the race banner.  There are 4 different flags on either side of the banner.  What flags are these and why do you think they are around the banner?


See you on the trail,