Mix Breeds Win Iditarod
NOME, Alaska – Eleven mixed breed dogs pulled their way across the finish line early Wednesday morning to become the winners of the 36th annual Iditarod.
Penned as “The Last Great Race,” the Iditarod is an 1,100 mile dog sled race across Alaska. Musher Lance Mackey was at the helm of the winning sled, and took home his second consecutive first place trophy for the event, as well as a check for $69,000.
Scrawny, spindly and nothing like their majestic Siberian husky cousins – that's how one reporter described the appearance of the winning dogs – most of which appeared to want to keep running after they crossed the finish line.
But not just anyone can build a winning team, and mushers agree that the toughest part of the race is managing and caring for the dogs.
“It's a connection you can't get with a dog anywhere else, or any animal,” Canadian musher Karen Ramstead told the New York Times earlier this week.
She and other mushers agree that the dogs' ability to pull is inherent, but the will to keep running is developed through the relationship between the musher and the canines.
“Their world revolves completely around me, and my world revolves around them,” she said. “You need to understand the lifestyle and the dogs and have a connection to them to get them to do this for you.”
Shortly following the end of the race, each dog was examined by a vet, while Mackey headed to a local bar with spectators, a check for $69,000 in his pocket.
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