Friday, March 11, 2005

Day 6 on the Iditarod Trail: Buser is #3 and hot on the tail ...

The Iditarod: Seriously like REAL LIFE

Well... I've definitely got the Iditarod fever - so I'm posting more about it. And I'm fixated on watching the performance of 4-time Idit winner Martin Buser.

I always come in on the side of an under-dog, but who would have thought Marty would ever be an under-dog? But due to his hand injury - just a few days before the start of the 2005 Iditarod race - the event this man LIVES for .. had done just that.

Not even Marty was sure - right up to the gunshot start - whether Marty would compete or not. Folks that is SERIOUS stuff!

That's like imagining all the major players in the 'other sports' - you know the ones where guys and gals are paid a lot of money to play, in comfort and close proximity to saftey and help if they need it. They're the sports that the mushes in the Idit would call, 'woosie sports'; and rightly so. Well, it's like imagining they (the top seeds) ALL had to set out the season of their respective sports. Set it out WITHOUT PAY .. and without the opportunity to prove you're worthy of making any money the rest of the year.

Oh! Now it sounds a bit more serious. Doesn't it? I should hope so! This race - though today a very different race than even 10 years ago - is still one where a musher or their dogs can die on any given day of the entire race: even minutes before victory or at least a finish. This is serious. This is a lot like REAL LIFE. Maybe that's why I really enjoy this race.

March 10 2005 saw Marty come in from WAY behind to stop in Iditarod as #4 in the Race !! Woah MARTY!! And you're doing this with a severely injured hand? It's no wonder you're a multi-year winner of this Race.

This morning, March 11 2005 sees Marty on the trail with Paul Gerhart in front, but with Robert Sorlie and Martin Buser in a real RACE for 1st position. As of 09:15 AM EST on March 11 2005 - here's the Official Cabela's Iditarod Leader Board standings:

1 Paul Gebhardt
2 Robert Sørlie
3 Martin Buser
4 Aliy Zirkle
5 Ramy Brooks
6 DeeDee Jonrowe
7 Mitch Seavey
8 Jeff King
9 Ed Iten
10 John Baker
11 Tyrell Seavey
12 Gerald Sousa
13 Doug Swingley
14 Bjørnar Andersen
15 Lance Mackey

How's the young Rachael Scdoris doing ? She's currently in 61st position - remember she was in 70th position just 3 days ago - Whoa! up 9-slots ! Way to Go Rachael!! She's currently still in layover in Tokotna, 2-checkpoints out from Iditarod and 419 miles onto the trail. What a lady! This young lady is a true winner! GOOOO RACHAEL !!!!

Where's the Amazon Lady of the Iditarod .. Jessica Hendricks ? She's left Ophir making here way tod in 17th position - with 1 less dog in the team - to only 13 dogs, now - she's just 2-positions out from the Leader Board!! Amazing. She's 444 miles on the trail out of Anchorage - and breathing down the necks of every musher on the trail - and their future Iditarods! MUSH Jessica MUSH!!

I remain in AWE of these tough and knowledgable athletes - both human and dog - as they brave the bitterly harsh elements of the Alaskan wilderness. Today there is help along the way if something is SEEN to go wrong. And this is the KEY WORD .. SEEN. For if you get off the trail or have a crash in the trees - you may NOT be SEEN and therefore, you might become a statistic of the Iditarod that only OTHER people get to read.

A parting note on the care and concern given the dogs by their owners in this race. There have been, over the years, much debate on the ethicacy of even putting dogs in such a race. The argument is that the dogs are 'pushed' and 'beaten' - forced as if slaves' - to bear their mushers along the trail ONLY for the sake of winning. And this no doubt was the case in the 'early days' of the race .. for a FEW: but only a very few. For the musher knows full well that the dog IS the key element to getting from Point A to Point B safe, sound and alive. In the bush your learn very quickly that only a FOOL will knowingly put him or herself into harms way .. and that includes the dogs.

Read this piece from Kathy Buser, on their web site, talking about their dog Freedom - who 3 days ago injured her humerous - and the rapid chain-of-events that led up to her corrective surgery.

March 9 - Our team was once again mobilized and Freedom was at our own Big Lake Susitna Veterinary Hospital with Dr. Beatsle before midnight last night. She is scheduled for surgery this morning and the prognosis for a full recovery is good. As soon as Dr. Beatsle heard the news about Freedom he made plans to rendezvous with her at the clinic. Harry happened to be in town so we had a fairly quick transport time. Considering the incident happened less than 12 hours earlier in Nikolai it's pretty amazing that she will be getting treatment so soon. Dr. Beatsle will examine each dog that is dropped as they come off the trail. Anyone who has doubts about the humane treatment of Iditarod dogs might make note of such incredible care given our dogs. Thanks to the staff at the clinic for their long term commitment to our dogs.
From the web site: Happy Trails Kennels ... 03.09.05

I would also recommend you take a visit to the Happy Trails web site and review the 'awards' Marty has won in his 25 years of running the Iditarod. Yes, he's a recognized 4-time winner of the Iditarod. This tells you he was skilled and fortunate enough to be the first one to cross the finish line. It also tells you he has and cares for a magnificent team of canine athletes. When to go to this LINK you will see that Marty is ALSO a 4 -time winner of the Alaska Airlines Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian and a 4-time winner of the Gold Harness Award among many others from 1988-2004. These two awards specifically tell you want kind of man and human - this person named Martin Buser - REALLY IS. Do not worry for dogs under the care, ownership or command of Martin Buser. Also know, he not only affects the dogs he owns, but many of the dog owners across this modern-day sport of the Outoor Heritage Activity of Dog Sleding.

I would say... Dog Sledding is in Good Hands, with Martin Buser. He also has two fine mushers walking in his footsteps and making their own in his two sons, Rohn and Nicholai. The family that mushes together - keeps the Heritage alive.

Here's a link to a really nice overhead shot of Marty and his dog-team a few miles out from the Ophir checkpoint.


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