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Thread: Future of the Iditarod

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    Arrow Future of the Iditarod

    Craig Medred wrote a really good article mentioning a few troubling trends in the Iditarod:

    http://alaskadispatch.com/voices/med...g-rural-alaska

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    An interesting article, but to me very biased to perpetuate the bush vs. urban divide.

    He claims that "It has become a race for well-educated, well-to-do mushers from along the Alaska road system or Outside" Sure there are wealthy adventurists that run the iditirod, but those aren't the top racers. And honestly if there weren't those wealthy folks adding to the entry fees to run the race, the iditirod would be in worse shape then it is now.

    And he doesn't mention any of the current Native mushers by name. What about John Baker? Sure, he hasn't won the race, but man is that guy a consistant racer year after year. In the past 10 years he's placed top 10 9 out of 10 years, and no doubt he would have been top 10 in 2008 if his dogs hadn't gotten sick.

    The reality is there are alot of problems in bush Alaska, but those proplems haven't been caused by the iditirod, nor will they be solved by Mr. Medreds proposals. The reality is people don't keep dog kennels in the bush because they can't afford them and don't have the time to take care of the dogs that are a very expensive leisure sport but no longer used for survival. The showmachine has put the mushing dog out to pasture as it were, and nothing is going to change that.

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    paul h- when you say to perpetuate the bush vs. urban divide, as you term it, you suggest that the author was trying to be divisive, instead of describing a divide. observation and insight in journalism should not be divisive unless you choose it to be.

    Have you spent much time in the rural areas of alaska that the IT passes through? I have not. I can, however, think what the parade of the iditarod might be like as it rolls through in 2010, and how an onlooker familiar with rural living might taste bitter irony in his mouth at seeing how the characteristics of urban material bloat have penetrated a tradition based on self-sufficiency.

    a friends father used to volunteer as a vet. until it became clear to him what a cluster the race had become. he now volunteers for races like the copper basin 300, and the kobuk 4, among others.


    a few other comments: It is odd that you claim dog mushing to be an expensive leisure sport, when in the fundamental sense it is much more of an imported lesiure item than a hard-earned dog team and sled. and not used for survival? far from the truth.

    it is also peculiar that you act like medred was trying to fix all the problems in bush alaska with this article, when you know that is a gross exaggeration.

    i'm just not sure why you made some of the comments that you did, and i would be curious to know why you bristle at the notions presented. all respect to you.

    andrew

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    Medred has a history of distortions. He does what he can to help sell papers.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

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    humans have a history of distortions.....i still think he brought up some good points.

    I have friends who have mushed the race who said they were surprised at how out of touch many of the village checkpoints were with the villages themselves, and a vet i know described many of the same things which turned them off.

    I don't think his solutions are all realistic (and a rural preference for entry fee would be pretty lame and not well recieved) but I guess I appreciate his insight. I certainly don't read any journalism without some substantial doses of seasoning salt.


    I am glad he hasn't written about his dog hoss in a while.

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    Default Medred...

    ... has himself, at times, tried to stir up the "rural v. urban divide", but he makes very good points in his article. I used to follow the race faithfully up until about 10 years ago, but have lost interest in it almost completely. It has become a race for professionals, people with disabilities who want to make a statement, and rich foreign adventure seekers. Like the Rondy, it lacks true, old Alaskan character. I think Redington would be heart broken by what has happened to his race.

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    Well, criticism is typically hard to take in right off. Craig makes some valid points, but I don't see things really changing in the bush. Dogs were used for traplines for the most part, and trapline teams turned into racing teams. Fewer and fewer trappers these days, and the snowgo has indeed replaced most dog teams.

    Racing is a business these days. Half of it now is about selling dogs, selling a breed, and half of it is trying to win races in order to sell dogs. Not knocking that, but it is ever-harder for the average Joe musher to compete, and newer rules mandating you must reach a certain checkpoint within a certain timeframe of the leader just compound that.

    So it goes,

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