by Kevin Wells
Saturday, March 1, 2008
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- It's one of the landmark days on the Alaska sporting calendar: The ceremonial start of the Iditarod. A record field of 96 mushers took off on 4th Avenue Saturday.
The Iditarod represents the every man or woman who might not ever play in the Super Bowl, or drive in the Daytona 500. But you can participate in sled dog racing's premier event and nowadays, it seems like everybody wants to.
After 36 years, it's easy to forget that the Iditarod had humble beginnings.
Five-time champ Rick Swenson remembers.
"I came to Alaska hoping to someday run Iditarod," Swenson said. "Hoping there'd still be an Iditarod when I was ready."
"We sometimes wrote on the side of the truck with a magic marker, that was our sponsorship sign," said race veteran DeeDee Jonrowe