Seventy-eight mushers, behind teams of yapping, energetic dogs, will roll down Fourth Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, culminating years of preparation, trial and error, defeat and victory. Saturday is for show, but on Monday, the real racing begins in Fairbanks, instead of the usual start in Willow. Follow Alaska Dispatch News as we travel along the Iditarod Trail with these photos and videos.
A kennel owner paying for these pre-race tests themselves would find the price prohibitive -- thousands of dollars for each competing dog, said Iditarod chief veterinarian Stu Nelson. John Schandelmeier
The ceremonial start is important to the Iditarod for both image and financial reasons. So-called "Iditariders'' pay thousands of dollars each year in an auction for seats in the sleds of Iditarod mushers who drive their dog teams through the city.Craig Medred