Brenda's 2003 Daily Iditarod Coverage
Countdown to Iditarod 2003 Restart — Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
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February 28, 2004
Junior Iditarod excitement

On Saturday the Junior Iditarod mushers staged their teams in a smaller area than usual but the excitement was larger than life. All the kids who attempt this race are excellent examples of self motivating, high achievers who happen to love dogs and enjoy mushing. Many familiar names were in the line up, such as King, Seavey, Osmar, Buser and more. Of course all the proud parents were there sending their kids off in style. The weather was warm, about +20, and a beautiful day. The trail began at Susitna Landing and headed out towards Yentna. Bill helped guide teams to the start line while I photographed them. We waited until all the teams passed under the starting banner before we got our snowmachines ready to follow along. Most of the teams were far out ahead of us but we did pass a couple of teams along the way. We took a different slough to Yentna so we would not interfere with the mushers. When we arrived at the halfway point, no teams had checked in but Nicole Osmar soon arrived looking great. Shortly on her heels, Dallas Seavey pulled in, well organized and looking good. A bright yellow parka quickly appeared on the horizon as Tessa King came into view. Gradually over the next few hours, as the fog began to rise on the river, all the mushers pulled into Yentna.

At Yentna Station, we enjoyed the hospitality and good cooking of Dan and Jean Gabryszak. As the evening progressed, Dan pulled out his guitar. He sang favorite tunes while his impromoptu audience sang along. Martin Buser had zoomed in on his wife's snowmachine incognito to observe his boys from afar. Charlie Boulding and his wife, Robin, came in after dark as well. The kids all gathered round their traditional bonfire while the rest of us went to sleep.