Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Iditarod is Won - but NOT OVER!

Cabela's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Coverage

Robert Sørlie with his two lead dogs, Sox and Blue, at the finish line.
Photo by Jeff Schultz.

Sørlie holds off Iten to claim 2nd Iditarod
by Jon Little

NOME, 10:30 a.m., Mar. 16, 2005

Robert Sørlie broke trail for more than 500 miles in what surely must have been one of the most sweltering Iditarod’s ever, barely holding off an impressive late charge from Bush Alaska musher Ed Iten to win Iditarod 33. The win, the second in three years for Sørlie, returns the championship trophy to Norway.

Well... the first 6 places are in - Robert Sorlie has Won the 33rd Iditarod and it is his 2nd time. Congratulations to Robert for a race well ran. He led from the beginning, despite bad weather, some trail troubles, and stiff competitors surging him - even to the very last. Still he held the lead and won.

But don't forget - there are still 61 mushers and dog teams out on the trail; in the bad weather, poor trail conditions and exhaustion. Sixty-one fellow participants of the Greatest Race on Earth .. and partakers in one of the last great Outdoor Heritage Activities left on earth: in one of the last 'wild places' as well.

My friend, Marty Buser is still on the trail - currently in 12th position; as well Jeff King (whom I've met and know professionally) in 11th position. They are among the 'next wave' of mushers who will be scrambling across the frozen surface of the barren north in crusted snow and ice, to get to the 'glow of Nome'. But they are not the last .. there are still mushers to come into Eagle Island - like Rachael Scdoris, in last place - 67th - but ever bit the energetic winner she is.

Pray for their safety. Pray for their good judgement. Pray they have a great run. Pray for their teams. Pray they will want to return again next year - to once again afirm the necessity of having 'wild places' to access - in which to do those things 'wild'. For it is peole like the mushers of the Iditarod who keep the Outdoor Heritage alive in us all. Thank them all those who participate and promote the Outdoor Heritage Activities - year-in and year-out.

Another musher will soon be crossing under the "Finish Line Bow" at Nome. Let's all be glad for it ... and pray it will never be lost. Let's all work to keep places 'wild' where mushers and dog teams will find snow and cold to challenge them and keep them coming back, year-after-wonderful-year.


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