Norway's Robert Sorlie is coming back for next year's Iditarod, and statistically speaking, he has a 50-50 chance of winning.
Sorlie has entered the 1,000-mile race to Nome four times and won it twice.
The champion in 2003 and 2005, Sorlie was among 52 mushers to sign up for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday in Knik, the opening day of registration.
He will be part of a loaded field that includes nine of the last race's top 10 finishers and five former champions.
Besides Sorlie -- the only foreigner to win the Iditarod -- Saturday's entries included four-time champions Jeff King and Martin Buser, two-time and reigning champion Mitch Seavey, and 2012 champion Dallas Seavey .
The biggest name absent is four-time champion and crowd favorite Lance Mackey. Mushers have until Nov. 29 to enter the race, which begins March 1 in Anchorage.
Sorlie, who was 47 when he last ran in 2007, made a huge impact on the mushing world in his four Iditarod appearances. His strategy -- long runs at a slightly slower pace, followed by short rests -- changed the way many top mushers run the race.
Sorlie's 2-for-4 record is the best winning percentage in race history, and it has earned him nearly $195,000 in prize money.
A firefighter from Hurdal, Sorlie is one of four Norwegians entered. Others are Joar Leifseth Ulsom, last year's rookie of the year for finishing seventh, and rookies Tommy Jordbruda and Yvonne Dabakk.
Dabakk is already a winner. She and Mike Williams Jr. of Akiak both won their $3,000 entry fees back in a drawing held Saturday.
Other than Mackey, most of the sport's big names are in the race.
Of this year's top 10, only ninth-place Sonny Lindner has not entered. Mitch Seavey, whose victory at age 53 made him the Iditarod's oldest champion, leads a group that includes, in order of their finish, Aliy Zirkle, Jeff King, Dallas Seavey, Ray Redington Jr., Nicolas Petit, Ulsom, Jake Berkowitz and DeeDee Jonrowe.
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
2014 Iditarod entries
(registration ends Nov. 29)
Charley Bejna,* Addison, Ill.; Martin Buser, Big Lake;Scott Janssen, Anchorage; Jeff King, Denali Park; Ramey Smyth, Big Lake; Mitch Seavey, Sterling; Lisbet Norris,* Willow; Rick Casillo, Palmer; Ed Stielstra, McMillan, Mich.; Yvonne Dabakk,* Norway; Dallas Seavey, Willow; DeeDee Jonrowe, Willow; Justin Savidis, Willow; Gerry Willomitzer, Whitehorse, Yukon; Jake Berkowitz, Big Lake; Jim Lanier, Chugiak; Allen More, Two Rivers; Travis Beals, Seward; Aaron Burmeister, Nome; Nathan Schroeder,* Chisholm, Minn.; Cindy Abbot*, Irvine, Calif.; Newton Marshall, Jamaica; Ray Redington Jr., Wasilla; Marcelle Fressineau,* Whitehorse, Yukon; Jason Mackey, Wasilla; Aaron Peck, Alberta, Canada; Cindy Gallea, Wykoff, Minn; Christian Turner,* Australia ; Paige Drobny, Fairbanks; Curt Perano, New Zealand; Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Norway; John Dixon, Fairbanks; Cim Smyth, Big Lake; Nicolas Petit, Girdwood; Pete Kaiser, Bethel; Mike Williams Jr., Akiak; Lev Shvarts,* Willow; Tommy Jordbrudal,* Norway; Michelle Phillips, Taigish, Yukon; Kelly Maxiner, Big Lake; Gus Guenther, Clam Gulch; Robert Sorlie, Norway; Ellen Halverson, Big Lake, Paul Gebardt, Kasilof, Karin Hendrickson, Wasilla; Dan Kaduce, Fairbanks; Jessie Royer, Darby, Mont.; Mats Pettersson,* Sweden; Aliy Zirkle, Two Rivers; Jan Steves, Edmonds, Wash.; Richie Diehl, Aniak, Monica Zappa,* Kasilof.
By BETH BRAGG