Lance Mackey will have more on his mind than winning prize money in this year's Iditarod. He'll have a movie crew to think about.
The four-time Iditarod champion will have cameras -- and apparently a helicopter too -- following his every move to film footage for an upcoming documentary titled "Lance."
"This is all about me," Mackey said Saturday morning on Fourth Avenue at the Iditarod's ceremonial start. "This is an opportunity of a lifetime."
Directed by Greg Kohs, "Lance" is described on Facebook as a feature-length documentary film that tells the story of the Fairbanks musher who survived cancer, became the first musher to win the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year, and won four-straight Iditarods. The movie is set to be released sometime next year, Mackey said.
Having a camera crew by his side 24 hours a day for the next week won't be an ideal situation, but he said the financial incentives will be well worth the trouble.
"I might not win a new truck and get a $50,000 paycheck next week, but I will in a couple months," he said. "Then I'll buy four or five new trucks if I want to."
This might be a good time for Mackey to think about something other than scoring new Dodge trucks by winning the Iditarod.
Once thought invincible, he's now in the midst of a mushing slump. After winning his record fourth straight race in 2010, he finished 16th in 2011 and 22nd in 2012. He's also coming off a disappointing Yukon Quest -- a race he's won four times -- in which he scratched at the halfway point.
"It's a little different for me all of a sudden," he said. "I'm used to having an A string and people chasing me around."
Considering how many Iditarod Insider cameramen chase mushers down the trail every March, Mackey said he's used to speaking in front of a camera. What will take some getting used to with this movie crew, however, is being miked up.
"I might have to kinda watch what I say," he said. "I've got kind of a sailor mouth most of the time."
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By KEVIN KLOTT
Daily News correspondent