Alaska Newsreader: Iditarod sends cease-and-desist letter to NYC organizers of Idiotarod

AnchorageJanuary 24, 2014 

Participants of Idiotarod, in which people race as they push shopping carts, run along with a jogger in New York Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006. New York's Idiotarod is a race inspired by the Iditarod, a long-distance race in which dogs tow a sled across Alaska. Dogs are replaced by people and sleds with shopping carts.

SHIHO FUKADA — AP

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has spawned some spoof events over the years, most notably New York City's Idiotarod, in which high-spirited and possibly inebriated humans are in harness and the "sled" is a shopping cart. That event is a decade old, but the real Iditarod this month decided it was time to put an end to the name, if not the event itself. Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard "sports culture" blog posted a copy of the Iditarod Trail Committee's "Cease and Desist Demand" to the NYC race. An excerpt:

Your use of "Idiotarod" is certainly likely to dilute ITC’s famous mark by reducing its sole association with the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and by causing the public to associate the mark with an event that celebrates wacky costumes and antics over one that honors the endurance and athleticism of champion sled dogs and the courage and skill of the men and women that run them.

Organizers of the race formerly known as the Idiotarod responded with a profane press release posted to Facebook that included this:

Representatives of the Department of Homeland Absurdity (DHA) and IDIOT Labs, the two totally imaginary organizations running this year’s event, today disclosed the receipt of a Cease & Desist Demand from Davis Wright Tremane LLP. DHA and IDIOT Labs assure ridiculous sports fans everywhere that this year’s event will go forward January 25th as scheduled, just under [a] new moniker.

The letter was initially thought to be an elaborate joke or very clever sabotage scheme, however the DHA and IDIOT Labs have confirmed that the firm is, in fact, real and does represent the Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc. ("ITC"). Whether anyone at the firm or ITC has a sense of humor remains uncertain.

Bowing to Iditarod pressure, the Idiotarod will go on as scheduled Saturday under a new name: Idiotarodorama NYC. Will the Iditarod accept that? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, the NYC race's fans are not pleased about this development, judging from Facebook comments.

Read more.

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