Five past champions, the top nine finishers from the last race and a musher who's leaving his armchair for his sled runners are among the 52 mushers who signed up Saturday for the 2017 Iditarod.
Dallas Seavey, who won his third straight championship in March, headlined the early entrants in the 1,000-mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome.
Joining him were four other past champs – four-time winners Lance Mackey, Jeff King and Martin Buser and two-time winner Mitch Seavey.
Saturday was the first day to sign up for the race, which next begins on March 4 – Dallas Seavey's 30th birthday.
Seavey claimed his fourth win in five years and broke his own record in this year's race, which he won in 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and 16 seconds.
He forged a 45-minute victory over his dad, Mitch, who also bettered the previous race record.
A tough field, led by the two Seaveys, appears to be shaping up for 2017. Also signing up Saturday were the seven mushers who followed Dallas and Mitch across the finish line in third through ninth place – Aliy Zirkle, Wade Marrs, Pete Kaiser, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Nicolas Petit, Ralph Johannessen and King.
Returning to the race is Sebastian Schnuelle, the runnerup in 2009 who owns four top-10 finishes. In recent years Schnuelle, who last raced the Iditarod in 2011, has provided race analysis in his "Armchair Musher" blog for the Iditarod.
Two mushers won free entry in the race during a random draw Saturday — Cindy Abbott and Mike Suprenant. The race costs $4,000 to enter, an increase of $1,000 from a year ago.
Mushers have until Dec. 1 to enter. A field of 85 started this year's race.
2017 Iditarod entries
Joar Leifseth Ulsom