The formal name of the race we all know as the Iditarod is the Iditarod Trail International Sled Dog Race. And it truly is an international pool of mushers this year. A quick look at the musher list shows seven different countries (US, Norway, Jamaica, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden) and seven different states (Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, California, Montana, and Washington) represented!
There is quite a Norwegian influence in this year’s race. There are five Norwegian mushers competing in the race led by two time Iditarod champion, Robert Sorlie. Robert Sorlie first entered the Iditarod in 2002 when he finished in ninth place. He returned to complete in 2003 and 2005 when he won. His most recent entry was 2007 when he finished in twelfth position. To compete this year, Robert Sorlie will be travelling about 3,967 miles from his home in Hurdal, Norway to Anchorage, Alaska. According to his blog, Robert and his dogs will leave home on February 17th, land in Seattle in February 19th, and then travel to Alaska by air from there.
I’ve been trying for a while to find some information about the history of mushing in Norway, and the best I can discover is that it spread to Norway around the start of World War 1 as a way to deliver supplies to soldiers in the field as well as for nature tours.
Now, if Curt Perano was to travel from his kennel in Roxburgh, New Zealand to Anchorage, he’d have to travel a whopping 7,715 miles! Lucky for him, he is staging his race season out of Willow, Alaska.
An easy way to give your kids a visual of where in the world the mushers are coming from, have them checkout the musher list and have them color in all of the represented locations on a map. Here’s a cool one I found that features both the states and the rest of the world: http://www.travelsworlds.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/printable-world-map-with-countries-and-statesblack-white-world-map-with-countries-us-states-and-canadian-cej7ukat.jpg