1. Aaron Burmeister, out of Galena at 6:26
2. Dallas Seavey, out of Galena at 8:48
3. Martin Buser, out of Galena at 10:55
4. Rookie musher Thomas Waerner, out of Galena at 12:39
5. Hugh Neff, out of Galena at 2:12 this afternoon
These top five mushers have all completed their 8-hour layover, with the exception of Burmeister.
Have you ever considered how the race comes together each year? The relatively small Iditarod Race Committee wouldn’t be able to do everything without the help of between 1,000 and 1,500 volunteers.
Volunteers may work at Information Headquarters in Anchorage, Nome, and Wasilla to hand out information and race standings to the general public. Volunteers also work at the over 20 checkpoints. For many, they use their valuable vacation time to attend the race each year. Other jobs include providing emergency communications, logistical support, or serving in the Iditarod Air Force: a fleet of private bush planes flown by volunteers.
The Iditarod Air Force shuttle dog food and musher supplies to each checkpoint, fly dropped dogs back to the dropped dog lots in Nome, Anchorage, and Unalakleet, and fly race officials and veterinarians to wherever they’re needed.
And speaking of veterinarians, they are all volunteers, taking a break from their busy home practices throughout the US and even in some foreign countries. The Vet corps numbers 52 this year.
Last, but certainly not least, volunteers drive the snow machines that cut, mark, and pack the trail, giving each team the safest path possible to Nome.
If you’re interested in volunteering during the race, or in helping to raise funds year round, download an application for next year’s race. Warning: once you go, you apparently get hooked. Many volunteers have been working on the race for 20 or more years!
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!