Sunday, June 27, 2010

Many familiar faces sign up for Iditarod 2011

Yesterday marked the opening of Musher sign-ups for Iditarod 39. Sticking with tradition, mushers gathered at the Volunteer picnic to be first in line to get the covetted early numbers to be first up to the pot for their race numbers at the mushers banquet. Iditarod royalty was out in force with the Seavey's and Mackey's all making appearances. What was most surprising, however, was the fact that several mushers who had  hinted at retirement were there on sign up day to throw their hat into the ring one more time.

Race fixtures Martin Buser, Mitch Seavey and DeeDee Jonrowe are once again running, as well as up and coming stars Dallas Seavey (still in it to become the youngest musher to win, taking the title away from Rick Swenson. We've got three more years to see it happen) and Jamaca's Newton Marshall. The Scottish team will also be represented by one of the two mushers who ran this past Iditarod.

They hinted they weren't sure what the future held for their racing teams, but Lance Mackey and Hugh Neff have decided to put off the retirement decision one more year. And, coming back to the race after saying he was done last year, Sebastian Schnuelle has also added his name to the roster.

The Reddingtons are represented this year, as always, and Gebhardt, Jones, Gatt, Smyth and Zirkle have also signed up. No news from John Baker's camp as to if he is running the race this year or not (he has not spoken previously of hanging it up any time soon) and Karen Ramsted is also missing from the early roster. As announced this past winter, Jeff King is retiring from the Iditarod and it looks to be true as he was not there to sign up. There are still months left to go, so more names should be added. So far, forty-six have signed up.

You can see the list as it stands now on Aily Zirkle's kennel blog, click here.

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