Fairbanks area will be well-represented at the 50th running of the Iditarod
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - 50 mushers have signed up for the 50th Iditarod as of publishing, with most making it official at the Iditarod Picnic over the weekend at the race’s headquarters in Wasilla. After an altered version of the historic 1,000-mile race in 2021 that affected the field and trail, the longstanding Alaskan event will feature the traditional route to Nome once again this year.
The 50th running of the Iditarod is stacked with championship experience, including defending champion Dallas Seavey and 2020 winner Thomas Waerner, who was unable to compete last year due to travel restrictions from Norway. Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser, three-time champ Mitch Seavey, 2019 winner Pete Kaiser and 2018 champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom are also all slated to leave Anchorage March 5, 2022 for the start of the 50th Iditarod.
Dallas Seavey, 34, was hesitant on signing up to defend his crown this year.
“After last year, I wasn’t sure if I would be racing this year or not,” Seavey told KTUU at the Iditarod Picnic. “Life is busy, I am busy, I have a daughter that is about to be 11 [years old] and I would like to spend a little time with her before she leaves for school. Obviously, decided to sign up again this year and I think the main reason is I have a monster dog team, and these guys deserve to take another swing at it.
“It was a very young team last year and that is always the ‘trap’ part of this thing though,” said the five-time Iditarod champion, tied for most all-time. “The team gets better every year and at some point you have to say, ‘yeah it is the best team ever, but we are not going this year’. I think this is this year, but I don’t think it is the beginning of the next five years, let’s put it that way.”
Seavey also mentioned that mushers can have long careers in the sport, noting that his father Mitch won the Iditarod at age 57 in 2017.
The Fairbanks area will be well-represented at “The Last Great Race”, with a number of teams coming out of the Interior. Fairbanks Iditarod veterans Jeff Deeter (best finish 12th) , Riley Dyche (25th), Jessie Royer (3rd), Will Troshynski (34th), Deke Naaktgebroen (27th), Cody Strathe (20th) and Richie Beattie (S) will all be taking another crack at the storied race.
Having prepared for 1,000-miles on the Alaskan trail twice previously, Dyche, of Dark Horse Racing Kennel, looks forward to the long, cold, lonely trail over the arrangements that come before it.
“It really is true, the race itself is the easy part in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “The prep, the training and all of that is a stressful, long part of everything. All of the work and building up and effort that goes into building a team for the Iditarod and training and just getting to the actual start line is really the hard part.
“Once the race starts, you don’t have to worry about paying bills or anything, because you’re on the Iditarod trail and it is all behind you until you get to Nome. You’re really in the moment when you’re in the race, it really makes everything a lot easier.”
Dyche also won the entry raffle, having his $4,000 entry fee waived, which he says will go straight to food, hay and booties for the dogs.
Fairbanks mushers braving the 1,000-mile trail from Anchorage to Nome for the first time include KattiJo Deeter, Bridgett Watkins and Joe Taylor.
The complete list of mushers signed up for the 50th Iditarod can be found below and will be updated here.
Copyright 2021 KTVF. All rights reserved.