Sporting With Egon

1 Conversation

Egon sadly has the 'flu this week so several is going it alone.

What to talk about in Amsports this week, what to talk about? Baseball's steroid scandal as spring training has begun? Upcoming basketball tournaments in high school and college? Pro b-ball or hockey?

Naaaah. Dog sled racing.

Eighty-seven teams of mushers and their dogs have set out for the 1,100 mile Iditarod, the world's longest course, from outside Anchorage, Alaska up to Nome, which is coldly close to the Arctic Circle. Teams from nine American states join with racers from Canada, Italy, Germany and Norway in competing for the $700,000 total purse, with the winner earning $70,000 and a new truck.

The race commemorates a 674-mile relay to Nome back in 1925 that delivered anti-diptheria serum to children. It crosses over the Alaska Range at the 3,160-foot Rainy Pass, descends some 1500 feet along the frozen Yukon River, and through a town called Unalakeet, where the racing is the fastest. The final days to Nome are expected to be the toughest, with winds from the Bering Sea working against the mushers and their sled dog teams.

Only once, in 2002, has the race been completed in under ten days, by 4-time winner Martin Buser, who is entered again this year, along with Doug Swingley, the only other 4-time winner (Rick Swenson has five titles in the early years of the race.)

It seems so apt, that man and dog will be fighting fatigue and cold to commemorate a life-saving mission while baseball players bask in the sun of Arizona and Florida for between $300,000 and ten million dollar$ for running, throwing, and hitting, but it's difficult to put a sleg dog race on telly. I mean, the only sponsors for the Iditarod are dog food companies and snowsuits.

And there are no 4-star motels along the way. No teevees or VCR's, but a Global Positioning Satellite device in case of snow whiteouts, and a couple of satellite phones, fully charged... hey, maybe the promoters should get sponsorships from the cell phone companies!! Call home from Nome!!

I should be in marketing, I tellya! This is several, a/k/a random sitting in my nice comfy belfry, procrastinating for the h2g2 Post, over and out.

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