Outside magazine, March 1996
Organizers of the embattled Iditarod International Sled Dog Race say they expect a near-record 73 mushers at the starting line this month. Among the entrants will be 20 rookie mushers and at least one "lucky" nonmusher who paid upward of $4,000 in a telephone auction for the privilege of serving as ballast during the all-but-staged opening in downtown Anchorage. The Iditarod Trail Committee says the big field reflects the health of the race--and the failed impact of the Humane Society's protests over dog mistreatment--despite the loss of many of its largest corporate sponsors and its network TV deal. But this year the ITC has had an even bigger problem: a dearth of snow that forced the cancellation of early-season warm-up races and left mushers no choice but to train by hitching their teams to the front of ATVs.