The thirty-fourth running of the Junior Iditarod race start is Saturday, February 26. The field of 14 mushers, ages 14-17 years old, departs Knik Lake at 10 a.m. with mushers leaving every 2 minutes. This 150 mile race from Knik Lake to Yentna and then to Willow is a qualifying race for the Iditarod, ending Sunday, Feb. 27.
Mushers take a 10 hour rest at Yentna, and were warned to expect temperatures of minus 25°F. I’ll be at the race start and then will fly to Yentna to view the race, spend the night, and head back for their finishers’ banquet.
Like the Iditarod mushers, these young mushers will have GPS trackers on their sleds. You can track their race progress on www.iditarod.com by clicking on Iditarod Tracker on the right side of the home page.
Lynden is a major sponsor of the race, providing scholarships to the top five winners. Other awards recognize the Red Lantern winner, the Rookie of the Year, and the Sportsmanship trophy recipient.
Local businesses provide items for the mushers and the race as well.
Mushers and their parents met late Friday afternoon for the mandatory musher meeting. Paperwork was completed, the trail and its markers described, and the mushers drew their starting positions.
Visit http://www.jriditarod.com/ to find out more about this race and to follow it this weekend. Don’t miss it!