Bill, Jordan and I drove over to the Wolverine Lodge early this
Saturday morning, with sunrise surrounding us, to watch a great
bunch of junior mushers start the 2003 Junior Iditarod. Teams were
parked all around the lake, dogs were barking in excitement, parents
were hovering around helping their kids get organized and the atmosphere
was crackling. Names such as Seavey, Osmar, Buser, King, Baker and
others were in today's lineup. Jordan was experiencing some withdrawal
symptoms as he helped some of his buddies hook up and lline out
for the start. Longtime friend and major Jr. Iditarod volunteer,
Wrex Diem, wore Bib Number One as the Honorary Musher for this year.
Joanne Potts and Cheryl Church were seen helping all around this
scene as was Barb Redington. As always, this bunch of Jr. Mushers
is an outstanding group of young people!!
Walking around to visit with all the teams was an enlightening
experience. Mitch and Tyrell Seavey and Jim Gallea were helping
Dallas get ready while Mom, Janine, made sure Dallas ate a big cheese
before he hit the trail. Tim Osmar was helping daughter, Nicole,
count her required calories for her sled when I suggested that 2
jars of peanut butter worked just fine for Jordan last year. He
thought that was a brilliant idea. Nicole's Mom related that Grandfather,
Dean Osmar, who has not run Iditarod since he won in 1984, is pretty
jazzed about running this year. When asked if they might one day
have a three generation run, like the Seavey family did in 2001,
the answer was probably not as Nicole has begun cheerleading for
her high school.
Martin Buser was in deep conversation with Nikolai prior to his
rookie run as were Jeff and Cali King with younger sister, Tessa.
Jeremy Hoover was nervous about his rookie run, not having been
able to get in enough training miles due to lack of snow in the
Matsu Valley this season. Heather Hardy
and the Redington family had an interesting team that included two
Irish Setters. Max Kormuller, Ellie Claus and Elisabeth Haberman
all looked great as they headed out of the chute today. Good luck
to all of the rookies and veterans alike.
Later this afternoon, we will drive over to the halfway point,
at Sourdough Cabin to watch the teams come in and bed down for their
mandatory ten hour layover. Everyone can start placing bets on who
will top the list of finishers!!
Check back for more info and log onto the www.iditarod.com site,
click on the Jr. Iditarod button to find out more.