Bend, Ore. -- A new sled dog race in Oregon that started Monday will bring the sport to people who have barely heard of Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, said Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.
"Our biggest race is the Iditarod," Riddles, 45, said of the 1,100-mile race that takes place every March in Alaska. "But it's inaccessible to most people. It's good for the sport to come to major population centers."
The race certainly brought a taste of the Iditarod. Doug Swingley of Lincoln, Mont., the reigning Iditarod champion, won the 45-mile opening stage around Mount Bachelor in 3 hours, 16 minutes and 22 seconds. He finished more than six minutes ahead of runner-up Frank Teasley of Jackson Hole, Wyo., while Jacque Philip of Nenana was third in 3:27:14 and Dean Osmar of Clam Gulch was fourth in 3:28:16.
Riddles serves as race marshal for the inaugural Oregon World Cup Atta Boy 300 Race for Vision, founded by longtime Bend musher Jerry Scdoris.
Scdoris' 16-year-old daughter Rachel, who is legally blind, was racing in the event and acting as its spokeswoman.
The eight-stage race started Monday with a ceremonial start at Mount Hood and runs through Bend, Sisters, Prineville, Sunriver and La Pine before finishing at Mount Bachelor on Jan. 13.
The race offers a purse of $50,000. It's the first leg of a three-race series that also includes the Wyoming 500 Stage Stop in February.
More than 30 professional mushers were on hand Sunday for the new race's opening ceremonies.
Tim White, a 53-year-old Yale graduate who spurned the conventional opportunities his Ivy League education afforded him and became a professional sled dog racer, said the sport is expanding.
"There's about 10,000 sled dog racers in the U.S. and 60,000 to 70,000 worldwide," said White, who competed in the second Iditarod in 1974 and now serves as vice president of the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports.
Scott Smith, a 32-year-old native of Maine now living in Dubois, Wyo., is one of the neophytes.
He picked up sled dog racing two years ago after breeding sled dogs and running sled tours in Wyoming for six years.
Smith hopes to compete in the Iditarod this year, but with so many top mushers in the Atta Boy, he was trying to keep his goals realistic.
"I just hope to stick in the middle of the pack," he said. "The most important thing is to just go out and have a good time."
Monday's Stage 1 results
1) Doug Swingley, Lincoln, Mont., 3 hours, 16 minutes, 22 seconds; 2) Frank Teasley, Jackson Hole, Wyo., 2:33:24; 3) Jacque Philip, Nenana, 3:27:14; 4) Dean Osmar, Clam Gulch, 3:28:16; 5) Melanie Shirilla, Lincoln, Mont., 3:29:09; 6) Gwen Holdman, Fairbanks, 3:33:11; 7) Sam Perrino, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, 3:39:03; 8) Martin Koening, Seeley Lake, Mont., 3:41:47; 9) Mark Stamm, Riverside, Wash., 3:45:28; 10) Scott Smith, Dubois, Wyo., 3:45:39; 11) Tim White, Grand Marais, Minn., 3:50:22; 12) Jon Schandelmeier, Paxson, 3:51:46; 13) Jack Berry, Homer, 3:56:56; 14) William Gallea, Seeley Lake, Mont., 4:01:10; 15) Jim Gallea, Seeley Lake, Mont., 4:02:22;
16) Paul Ellering, Grey Eagle, Minn., 4:04:26; 17) Marcus Ohm, Fort St. James, B.C., 4:05:17; 18) Sebastien Nault, Quebec, Ontario, 4:05:43; 19) Buck Church, Christmas Valley, Ore., 4:13:22; 20) Bill Pinkham, Glenwood Springs, Colo., 4:13:38; 21) Mike Motschenbaucher, Rogue River, Ore., 4:16:28; 22) Leslie Martin, Sheridan, Mont., 4:16:33; 23) Steve Madsen, Toutle, Wash., 4:30:42; 24) Warren Palfey, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, 4:32:21; 25) Rachael Scdoris, Bend, Ore., 4:36:52; 26) Wes Rau, Powell Butte, Ore., 4:43:44; 27) Patrick Campbell, Etna, Calif., 5:01:55.
Knik 200 wraps up
The rest of the pack of the Knik 200 Joe Redington Sr. Memorial was accounted for by late Monday morning, with the final finisher -- Chugiak's David Talbert -- arriving in Knik a full day behind winner Jeff King.
King, of Denali Park, won the event with a time of 21 hours, 59 minutes and seven seconds, with Willow's DeeDee Jonrowe second at 22:42:45.
Thirty of the race's 33 competitors finished. Three mushers -- Mike Charron, Lance Mackey and Sandy McKee -- were forced to scratch.
The race was a two-day event, with mushers traveling from Knik to Skwentna, taking a mandatory six-hour layover, then racing back to Knik.
Final overall times from Knik
1) Jeff King, Denali Park, 21 hours, 59 minutes, 7 seconds; 2) DeeDee Jonrowe, Willow, 22:42:45; 3) Andy Willis, Wasilla, 22:54:27; 4) Silvia Willis, Wasilla, 24:03:59; 5) Lisa Frederic, Kodiak, 24:41:53; 6) Jesse Beebe, Delta Junction, 25:33:18; 7) Bill Cotter, Nenana, 25:45:14; 8) Kelley Griffin, Wasilla, 25:51:32; 9) Jason Mackey, Ninilchik, 27:10:36; 10) Gerald Sousa, Talkeetna, 29:00:00; 11) David Graham, Willow, 29:27:03; 12) Frank Sihler, Wasilla, 30:08:32; 13) Adam Grant, Willow, 30:28:17; 14) Dan Huttunen, Wasilla, 30:44:23; 15) Dave Korpi, Willow, 31:21:21; 16) Russ Bybee, Willow, 31:41:23; 17) Mark Newell, Wasilla, 31:46:08; 18) Mike Suman, Big Lake, 32:20:59; 19) Lance Barve, Wasilla, 32:23:42; 20) Bill Borden, Kennesaw, Ga., 34:38:45; 21) Paul McLarnon, Willow, 35:21:17; 22) Regina Wycoff, Healy, 36:49:04; 23) Wayne Hall, Eagle, 37:11:11; 24) David Straub, Willow, 37:17:47; 25) Perry Solmonson, Whittier, 37:17:58; 26) Peter Cohrs, Hamburg, Germany, 39:41:45; 27) Judy Merritt, Moose Pass, 39:42:00; 28) Matthew Coughtry, Wasilla, 41:01:09; 29) G.B. Jones, Meadow Lakes, 41:07:45; 30) David Talbert, Chugiak, 45:11:10. Scratched -- Mike Charron, Willow; Lance Mackey, Kasilof; Sandy McKee, Fairbanks.