The Junior Champion – “Will it be a boy or a girl?”

2015 Junior Iditarod Mushers

2015 Junior Iditarod Mushers

“Will it be a boy or a girl this year?” This is the question Barb Redington asked the junior mushers last night at the Junior Iditarod Mandatory Meeting. There are eleven juniors racing this year, six girls and five boys. Ten out of the eleven young mushers sat in the front row at Iditarod Headquarters listening to Barb introduce the many volunteers of the race and thank the gracious sponsors.

After thanking the countless sponsors and volunteers it was time for the youngsters to draw the start order, their bib number. The juniors will draw in the order they signed up for the race. Bib number one is traditionally granted to the honorary musher. Longtime Junior Iditarod veterinarian, Dr. Jayne Hempstead, is the 2015 Junior Iditarod honorary musher. Below is the order the mushers will embark on the trail. Read their biographies at the Junior Iditarod website.

Bib #1: Honorary Musher Dr. Jayne Hempstead

Bib #2: Dakota Schlosser (Rookie) Sophomore in H.S

Bib #3: Kevin Harper (Veteran) Junior in H.S.

Bib #4: Jordan Seager (Rookie) 8th gradeDSC_2031

Bib #5: Andrew Nolan (Veteran) Sophomore in H.S.

Bib #6: Katie Deits (Rookie) Sophomore in H.S.

Bib #7: Nicole Forto (Veteran) Senior in H.S.

Bib #8: Marianna Mallory (Rookie) Junior in H.S.

Bib #9: Rose Capistrant (Rookie) Freshman in H.S.

Bib #10: Joan Klejka (Rookie) Sophomore in H.S.

Bib #11: Jannelle Trowbridge (Veteran) Senior in H.S.

Bib #12: Jimmy Lanier (Veteran) Junior in H.S.

The trail will begin three miles from Cantwell.  The young mushers will start in 2-minute increments. They will mush 65 miles until they reach the Alpine Creek Lodge. Here they will take their mandatory 10-hour layover. When they arrive the mushers will lay straw down for their dogs, take their booties off, feed their dogs, and any other necessary chores. The junior mushers have a tradition of sitting around a campfire getting to know each other during the 10-hour layover. Mushers will make up the 2-minute time differential when they depart the lodge and head back. Jimmy, bib #12, will be able to leave exactly 10 hours after he arrives. Jannelle, bib #11, will leave 10 hours and 2 minutes after she arrives at the lodge, and so on.

2015 Junior Iditarod Trail Map - Cantwell to Alpine Creek Lodge and back. (photo from Jeff King Facebook page)

2015 Junior Iditarod Trail Map – Cantwell to Alpine Creek Lodge and back.                               (photo from Jeff King Facebook page)

The champion of the Junior Iditarod will be the lead musher in the Iditarod Ceremonial Start on Saturday, March 7, in Anchorage. The winner will also be flown to Nome to attend the Iditarod Finisher’s Banquet.