2013 Coverage Announcement

Joshua Rogers - March 8, 2013


Well, I assume that you’ve noticed that Iditablog has been slow this year.

We knew going into this season that everyone on the Iditablog team was going to be stretched, but soon after the start it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to produce the quality product you’ve come to expect after the last 7 years. As Founder and Editor-In-Chief, I take responsibility for everything that goes up on the site and ensuring we have the systems in place to cover the race properly. All of the leadership team has been uniquely unavailable this year for various reasons, and while normally I’d personally step it up in that situation, it’s my schedule which has been the most stressed and as a result, had the greatest impact on Iditablog. I usually make major adjustments to my “regular life” each March, devoting time to traveling, following the race, reading updates, analyzing the stats, composing coverage, and then recording podcasts. Early this week it became clear that the type of time commitment needed simply wasn’t going to be an option this time around. As a result, it’s been a very weird week.

After deciding that mediocre and unresearched blog posts weren’t something I was interested in posting, I’ve been reflecting and thinking a lot about the site. The Iditarod coverage landscape has changed dramatically since we started in 2005, those of you who followed the race back then remember being primarily limited to ADN.com and the official coverage on the former CabelasIditarod site. In the last 8 years other blogs have come and gone, however, recently the amount of voices has increased significantly. While it’s important to acknowledge that Iditablog isn’t the vital alternative to mainstream coverage we once were and there is so much great content out there, I also remain convinced that our perspective is an important one (and you seem to agree, our web traffic has grown dramatically every season, with well over a million hits each of the last few years). Even though the 2013 race is far from over, I’ve been stewing on some ideas for Iditablog 2014 that I think will be another major game changer for how fans experience the Iditarod. Ideas I wish I had about 9 months ago and could have implemented for this year.

So, all that to say, I’m sorry we haven’t been on top of the 2013 race, but don’t delete us from your bookmarks just yet. We’ll try and get the crew together for another podcast or two on the tail side of this year’s race and I’m anticipating a huge overhaul for 2014 that you won’t want to miss.

Thanks so much everyone, your enthusiasm for the race is what has kept us going all these years, and will be pushing us into an exciting future.

-Joshua Rogers

2013 Podcasts – Ep 1

Joshua Rogers - March 3, 2013

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Recorded Live at the Ceremonial Start of Iditarod 2013, Josh chats with himself for a while about this year’s Iditarod and lucky for you, there was a microphone in his hand the whole time!

Feel free to email us with topics or questions you’d like to hear us discuss on the next episode… the email address is: podcast@iditablog.com, send us a twitter/facebook message or call the voicemail box at 253-778-MUSH.

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Iditablog Season Kickoff

Joshua Rogers - March 1, 2013


We’re back for 2013 with the first podcast of the season!  It’s short, it’s kinda awkward… but it’s here!  Seriously though, Josh is in Anchorage for the start of the race and will be bringing start of the race updates throughout the weekend.  Josh & Greg talk about the competitive field this year, and what’s been going on in Iditarod news since least year.

Feel free to email us with topics or questions you’d like to hear us discuss on the next episode… the email address is: podcast@iditablog.com, send us a twitter/facebook message or call the voicemail box at 253-778-MUSH.

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Back again for 2013

Joshua Rogers - February 27, 2013


Iditablog is back again for 2013… our 8th year of continous Iditarod coverage.  We’ll be live at the starting line on Saturday morning in downtown Anchorage.


2012 Iditarod Awards Banquet

Joshua Rogers - March 19, 2012

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From Iditablog Correspondent Nate Sobie

It seemed like half of the city was packed into the Nome Recreation Center gymnasium for the 40th Iditarod Awards banquet. Hearing the stories from the trail and giving accolades to well deserving individuals is always a exciting. I particularly enjoy watching the faces of the rookie mushers sitting among the crown, soaking everything in, and listening to the cheers of their family members when they take the podium. Another highlight is to see which mushers will win the prestigeous awards for the Spirit of Alaska, Sportsmanship, and the coveted Humanitarianism Award, among others. Here is a rundown of the 2012 awards. Congratulations to Dallas Seavey, each of the finishers, the rookies, and the award winners:

Pen Air Spirit of Alaska Award – Aliy Zirkle

GCI Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award – Jim Lanier

Wells Fargo Bank Alaska Gold Coast Award – Aliy Zirkle

Nome Kennel Club Fastest Time from Safety to Nome Award – Mike Williams, Jr.

Horizon Lines Most Improved Musher Award – Rohn Buser

Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year – Brent Sass

Fred Meyer Sportsmanship Award – Lance Mackey

ExxonMobil Mushers Choice Award– Dan Seavey

Northern Air Cargo Herbie Nayokpuk Memorial Award – Michelle Phillips

Golden Clipboard Award – Community of Nulato

Golden Stethoscope Award – Ruth Kothe, DVM and Tanja Kruse, DVM

Alaska Airlines Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award – DeeDee Jonrowe

City of Nome Lolly Medley Golden Harness Award Winner – Guinness, Lead Dog of Dallas Seavey

Northern Air Cargo Four Wheeler Drawing Winner – Peter Kaiser

The Best Fans in the World

marcia - March 16, 2012


Iditarod fans get involved for different reasons – but once someone catches the mushing bug, it can quickly develop into an obsession that takes over your life. What is it that they like about the Last Great Race?

“The love of dogs,” said Liz Rockley Fallis from Calgary, Alberta. Mira, who lives in Norway, enjoys mushing because it isn’t as predictable as other sports. SC-race-fan enjoys following the race to see how mushers plan, and how they constantly have to adapt while actually running. Bob Crane of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, enjoys the beauty of the scenery, the beauty of the dogs doing what they love, and the thrill of the competition. “The dogs are, indeed, the most amasin’ athiletes imaginable,” said Graham Eads.

Starla Brewer of Houston, AK, said it’s amazing to see how the dogs and humans work together. “It also has a purity to it,” she said. “These dogs don’t work for money or fame. They do this because they want to and have a bond with their musher.”

Jessie from Fort Collins, Colorado said, “I’ve always loved dogs, beautiful far away places, wild animals (particularly wolves),the wilderness and stories of survival. The Iditarod has all of those things so it’s always drawn me in.”

Continue reading…

Poor Boy Race and Broke Racers

Loren Liden - March 16, 2012

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Enjoy this excerpt from Rod Perry’s book Trail Breakers about the early years of the Iditarod. To learn more about Rod Perry and his work, check out http://www.rodperry.com/. – Loren

Poor Boy Race and Broke Racers

Most of today’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race fans did not come into their fanaticism until the contest had become a well-funded, slick, international spectacle. Therefore it is foreign to them to think of the race ever being a seat-of-the-pants, run-on-a-shoestring operation. The great, trailblazing race epitomized our broke-but-go-anyhow mindset.

For the Iditarod Race to gain a toehold and survive to see even so much as a second running—not to mention any future beyond that—we first had to demonstrate to an almost universally disbelieving and unsupportive public that such a wild scheme was possible to pull off. Joe Redington’s vision was for such a quantum leap beyond any other sled dog race in history, there was not only no close precedent, there was no race that had ever come close to serving as even a distant ramp up.

Joe’s new concept in sled dog racing was just so outlandishly grandiose in all of its facets that few believed it could be done. Many scoffed and ridiculed the idea and denigrated its originator as a deluded fool.

It went both ways: lack of belief precipitated lack of money and lack of money precipitated lack of belief.

Continue reading…

Well Time to Sign Off…

Sebastian Schnuelle - March 16, 2012

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giblin racesFlying out the machines today and than ourselves in the morning. Here’s a last write up: The middle of the pack is arriving in Nome, while the back of the pack is still as far out as Shaktoolik. This morning Trent Herbst and Matt Giblin arrived in 37th and 38th place respectively, both running dogs from Jake Berkowitz’s Apex kennel in Big Lake. Between the 3 mushers they have fielded 5 teams for 1000 Mile Races this winter, no small feat. Trent and Matt were racing hard along the beach outside of Nome, both pedaling along and encouraging their dogs to kick it up a notch on the last miles to Nome. They both ran very different teams, where as Trent races the B Team of Apex kennels, Matt driving the yearlings, in this case dogs with are 16 months old, led by11 year old faithful Feta, a dog out of Zack Steers yard who has been to Nome many times. Matt’s job was to show a young group of dogs the trail to Nome so they know the way for future races. His patience along the way paid off. Whereas Trent Herbst had left Takotna a whopping 27 hours ahead of Matt, they are only 5 minutes apart at the finish line. Where Matt took his 24 hr layover early in the race in Mc Grath, Trent opted to push on to Cripple hoping for a poke of gold, just to be outrun by 71 year old Jim Lanier of Northern Whites Kennel. Not only did Trent miss out on the gold, that move cost him valuable speed and stamina in his team, which allowed the puppy team driver Giblin to catch up. Of course those 2 mushers had a bit of rivalry going on near the finishing line, of who would get there first, which Trent making up 5 minutes during the last 7 miles, as near Howard Farley’s Camp they were still traveling together.

How this race went for these two mushers shows a common trend in Iditarod. At the first third of the race, the field was tightly packed, one long string of mushers only minutes apart, to the point where there was no real discernable front pack. Throughout the middle of the race that pack thinned out and the usual groups of mushers formed, to than stretch apart multiple days by the end of the race. There is an old saying amongst mushers. If you race a 20th place team, like a 10th place team, you will get 40th. If you race a 10th place team like a 20th place team, you might get 5th, while picking up mushers along the coast. Some of the mushers who were in the front pack of the race early on completely faded away during the later part or even scratched once reaching the coast. That also related to runtimes between the checkpoints. Mushers like Aaron Burmeister, who ran a slow 3hrs and 2 minutes into Takotna, ended up having a large string of 15 dogs in Unalakleet along the coast. Others who ran the same stretch in less than 2hrs ( that is 9.3 miles an hour versus 6 miles an hour ) nursed small teams along the coast or even scratched before. Its comparable to driving a truck. If a truck is idled along at slow speeds and rpms, the engine will last for a very long time. If the same engine is revved up high for shorts burst it will eventually blow up. Patience is the name of the game in distance mushing.