The Back of the Pack has some colorful characters in it.
These are the mushers and teams who don’t have a chance at actually winning, but this race is not just about winning.
It’s about the Hero Journey.
(brush up on your Joseph Campbell)
It’s a journey of mythic proportions; training, preparation, just getting there is epic. Then managing 16 dogs for 1000 miles while running on less sleep than is humanly possible and making sure your dogs are taken care of and overcoming the obstacles of one of the most extreme environments on earth.
Trent Herbst is a teacher… you see this at checkpoints where he collects a crowd of kids asking endless questions while he cares for his dogs.
He has a great website, and blog, with photos, here:
One way you can follow the Iditarod is to check the musher list on iditarod.com, then follow a few on their individual blogs, facebook pages or websites.
Rev, top of the page, is a racing Siberian I got for free. he will pocket dive for bikkies, does a haka whenever people appear (the Maori “wardance” seen at the beginning of soccer games), leaps to eyeball level for his dinner, loves Kongs, and always tries to run off the trail when we pass the tiny wetland full of spring peepers. I think he wants to swim.
Most of the dogs in the Iditarod are Alaskan huskies, not a breed but a type, each kennel breeding its own lines of Siberian/hound/native village dogs to create the perfect dog that will be fast over long distances, yet hardy enough for the northern wilderness.
for short and mid distance races, Eurohounds are often used, again, a type, not a breed, bred from northern type dogs and, as the name suggests, hounds and pointers.
Locally, we use any dog that likes to run (and most do)…
Here are some German Shorthair Pointers, Samoyeds, and my Siberians.