Iditarod Bib Pull Determines Starting Positions
Ray Redington Junior will be first
ANCHORAGE - The contenders in this year's Iditarod drew their numbers Thursday night to determine where they will start in the Last Great Race.
There was definitely excitement and anticipation in the air at the Mushers' Banquet at the Dena'ina center – hundreds of supporters, volunteers and family members came together for the bib number draw for the 66 mushers expected to start this weekend.
A man whose last name is familiar to any Iditarod fan will be first: Ray Redington Junior. He's Iditarod legend Joe Redington's grandson. Redington actually drew bib number two.
Number one is always reserved for an honorary musher; this year that's Dave Olson, a long time volunteer and former musher.
41-year-old Lance Mackey, the four time Iditarod champion, drew number 18. He says that's pretty close to the position he was looking for. Mackey says he's now analyzing the weather and temperatures for this weekend's start.
"Those are things that people have got running through our minds; even though they are signing posters, we are strategizing,” Mackey said. “I'm already setting myself up according to my number.”
Another fan favorite with 28 Iditarod finishes to his name, Martin Buser will start in position 41.
The ceremonial start begins Saturday at 10 a.m. with mushers leaving in two-minute intervals from the corner of Fourth Avenue and D Street.