Monday, March 15


An op-ed in The Frontiersman points out that "the race is so grueling that, on average, 54 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it to the finish line." I didn't know that and can't vouch for its accuracy, but I haven't seen anyone challenge it. What they did challenge, apparently, was a Frontiersman reporter's heckling at the race itself. "At this year's Iditarod Musher's Banquet, a Frontiersman reporter, who was not on official assignment, booed one of the mushers and was involved in a confrontation with several people." The Frontiersman goes on to say "we apologize to the Swingleys, Dick Mackey, the Iditarod Trail Committee, the mushers and anyone who was offended by the conduct of our reporter." That conduct sounds unprofessional for a journalist - but the conduct of the lead "musher" is, of course, above reproach: "Norwegian musher Kjetil Backen kept the slimmest of leads yesterday in the 32nd annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, arriving a minute ahead of Mitch Seavey after stopping outside the Unalakleet checkpoint because one of his dogs collapsed and died." Awww, poor guy. What an inconvenience! And get this - "Backen asked for help from a reporter and photographer who were on a snowmobile outside the checkpoint. Backen said his dog had died and to go get race marshal Mark Nordman because the musher didn't want to carry the dead dog in his sled bag into the checkpoint." Gee, hope that wasn't the same reporter. Is carrying dead dogs around professional conduct? I have a feeling there's an apology due somewhere there.

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