Iditarod sled dog race officials have approved two-way communication devices for the trail this year. But, many mushers believe it’s a bad idea and bad for their sport. KTVA’s Dave Goldman weighs in on the hot button issue affecting the Last Great Race. Follow KTVA 11 Sports on Facebook and Twitter.

Modernizing and governing a sport born long before Facebook, GPS tracking devices, cell phones and even its most recent champion, has proved to be a bit of a struggle. Much to the dismay of some Iditarod mushers, the race’s board of directors voted to leave a new rule — which will allow racers to make and receive cellphone calls during the 2017 race to Nome — nearly the same at a board meeting Friday morning. Following this year’s race, where two mushers and their teams were attacked by an intoxicated snowmachiner, the committee stripped out language from the 2016’s race rules….Continue Reading

Lance Mackey will not be racing in the 2017 Iditarod because of “health reasons,” according to a Facebook post from the Iditarod Trail Committee. Mackey, a four-time Iditarod champion, has faced medical issues for more than a decade, which has hampered his mushing in recent years. In the 2016 race to Nome, Mackey struggled with complications from Raynaud’s Syndrome — a disorder that causes poor circulation in the hands and feet and worsens in severe cold — and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. MRSA is a bacterium that can cause infections of varying severity. A superficial wound to most people….Continue Reading

The Iditarod Trail Committee says more than 50 mushers from Alaska and around the world have already signed up for the 2017 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Saturday was the first official entry day. Of the 52 entries, 12 of them are rookies to the Last Great Race, and 10 teams are from other nations, including Canada, England, France, Hungary, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. Some submitted entries in person at Iditarod headquarters and some mailed their entries in, according to a statement from the Iditarod Trail Committee. Some well-known names returning to the race include champions Dallas Seavey, who won last….Continue Reading

Musher Travis Beals will not be allowed to race in the 2017 Iditarod, according to a statement released by the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) Friday. Beals will also not be allowed future entry into the Iditarod for an “indefinite period of time beyond 2017,” pending his completion of a court-mandated treatment program. “The Iditarod Trail Committee Board recognizes that domestic violence is a pervasive problem in the State of Alaska and society in general,” the ITC wrote. Beals, who finished 18th in the 2016 race, faces two separate charges of misdemeanor domestic violence against a fellow Iditarod musher. He received one-year probation….Continue Reading

The Iditarod Trail Committee is reevaluating race policy and who should be allowed to participate after two domestic violence cases against one musher came to light. Musher Travis Beals, who came in 18th place in the 2016 Iditarod race, was in Palmer court Tuesday applying for a mental health treatment program. The hearing was part of court proceedings for a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an incident with another musher. According to charging documents, the victim reported the assault in Willow in December. The pair was arguing and Beals attempted to leave the property with her truck, striking her with….Continue Reading

The three dogs, on Jeff King’s team, most affected in the attack by a snowmachiner on this year’s Iditarod race are all on the road to normalcy — or as normal as can be. Nash, who was killed in the incident, finally gets to go home. Carrie Skinner, the office manager for Jeff King’s Husky Homestead kennel and tour company, said Nash was cremated. This summer a memorial will be set up, complete with his kennel and flowers. Banjo — who was knocked unconscious and bled from his mouth — might need dental work eventually, but is otherwise jumping and….Continue Reading

Longtime Iditarod musher Lance Mackey will likely lose more of his fingers. The newest medical issue in the Mackey saga is likely caused by the same quick moving infection that caused him to scratch from this year’s Iditarod race, Mackey said in a phone interview from Fairbanks Wednesday. It’s another painful hurdle for the Fairbanks musher, but he said it won’t keep him away from the 2017 Iditarod. He’s doing what he’s had to do for more than a decade of medical issues, he’s letting his dogs, and his love for his team, take the lead and fuel his determination to race….Continue Reading

Let’s be honest, the dogs are real stars of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Seventy-nine of the 86 teams that started this year’s race in Willow began with 16 dogs. A total of 1,460 dogs ran through the starting line of Iditarod 44. Iditarod officials and mushers keep track of the dogs using a microchip ID system and collar tags with individual numbers. Mushers must finish in Nome with at least five dogs on a team in order for the finish to be eligible.

Eighty-six mushers began the 2016 Iditarod race in Willow, Alaska. The winner, Dallas Seavey, accomplished his victory in record time, reaching nome in 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes, 16 seconds. His father, Mitch, finished a fairly close second. [RELATED: Dallas Seavey wins his third straight Iditarod] Here are the top 10 finishers in this year’s Iditarod: Dallas Seavey Mitch Seavey Aliy Zirkle Wade Marrs Pete Kaiser Joar Leifseth Ulsom Nicolas Petit Ralph Johannessen Jeff King Scott Smith Musher Dick Wilmarth won the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973 with a time of 20 days 0 hours 49 minutes 41….Continue Reading

  NOME — What happened to Brent Sass? He seemed poised to take third-place, and even looked like a possible contender to win this year’s Iditarod on more than one occasion. After being disqualified from the 2015 Iditarod for having an iPod touch — a device capable of two-way communication and illegal under Iditarod rules — there was quite a bit of anticipation for Sass’s 2016 finish, especially as he began to pull ahead of the pack. Sass’s team looked strong throughout much of the race. The 2015 Yukon Quest winner and 2012 Iditarod Rookie of the Year was first….Continue Reading

When Jeff King was pulled beneath the Burled Arch on Front Street in Nome by 11 dogs Tuesday, his impassioned sister and cheers from spectators greeted him. It was an emotional ride to the finish line. “Imagine if I could have brought them all,” King said, referencing his dog team. King was poured a glass of champagne, which he sipped as a group of reporters asked him questions. His dogs munched on snow and chewed the booties on their feet. King’s team was attacked by a man on a snowmachine outside of Nulato early Saturday morning. The incident resulted in the….Continue Reading

  NOME — Dallas Seavey has entered an elite group, winning his third straight Iditarod, and fourth title overall. Focus and patience paid off for the Willow, Alaska musher in this year’s race. He pulled into Nome at 2:20 a.m. with 6 dogs, led by 4-year-old Reef. He finished in a record time of 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes, 16 seconds. Only three other mushers have accomplished back-to-back-to-back victories: Susan Butcher, Doug Swingley and Lance Mackey. His father, and now three-time Iditarod winner, Mitch Seavey earned his second consecutive second-place finish. He pulled into Nome at 3:05 a.m., finishing with a….Continue Reading

Lead mushers are closing in on the famous Burled Arch in Nome. This year’s Iditarod has come down to three names: Dallas Seavey, Mitch Seavey and Brent Sass. The winner of Iditarod 44 receives a new Dodge Ram truck along with $75,000 in prize money, according to the Iditarod Trail Committee. Second and third place finishers will earn $62,775 and $57,750, respectively. In 2015, Dallas Seavey took home $70,000 and a brand new Dodge Ram truck, valued at $40,000, for his first-place finish. The top finishers aren’t the only mushers to receive prize winnings in the Iditarod. Every musher who finishes….Continue Reading

Veteran musher and Iditarod crowd favorite Lance Mackey chose to scratch from this year’s race at the Galena checkpoint Monday, citing personal health concerns, according to the Iditarod Trail Committee. His 2016 Iditarod bid came to an end Monday at 9:50 a.m. He had 15 dogs in his team when he made the decision. Mackey has won the Iditarod four times in a row; in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. He’s also won the grueling 1000-mile Yukon Quest four times. [RELATED: Lance Mackey: Cancer, infection and determination] Mackey likes to joke that he was dog mushing before he was born.….Continue Reading

It’s been a tough Iditarod for Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King. A snowmachiner ran them down on the trail, injuring several dogs and killing one of King’s, a sled dog named Nash. Her home is a long way from the trail, but Wasilla artist Jessye Jensen said she was heartbroken when she heard about the crash and Nash’s death. “I love my dogs and I couldn’t even imagine the pain that he’s feeling that his dogs got hurt, so I wanted to do something as a way to make him feel good and remember Nash,” she said. Jensen used a….Continue Reading

During a three-way race from Unalakleet to White Mountain Dallas Seavey pulled ahead of his dad, Mitch, and Brent Sass. The three left Unalakleet side-by-side but in the 184 miles that separate the villages Dallas Seavey moved into a lead and ultimately left his father 39 minutes behind and Sass nearly 2-hours behind. All mushers are required to take a mandatory 8-hour rest and drug test in White Mountain. Dallas Seavey will be the first back on the trail when he leaves White Mountain at 5:48 p.m. When he arrived in White Mountain at 9:48 a.m., his face was bright….Continue Reading

The village of Koyuk is located at the mouth of the Koyuk River, at the northeastern end of Norton Bay on the Seward Peninsula, 90 air miles northeast of Nome. The area is characterized by tundra and boreal forests with long, cold winters and short, warm summers. The village has an estimated population of 333, based on 2015 Department of Labor statistics. Koyuk is a traditional Unalit and Malemiut Eskimo village whose people speak a dialect of Inupiat Eskimo and residents who maintain a subsistence lifestyle. The checkpoint is less than 400 miles from the finish line in Nome, Alaska.

Donald Erickson would likely “be poppin’ his buttons” from excitement for two reasons, his daughter Kristen Mashiana explained Sunday afternoon with a smile. The former basketball coach is being inducted into the Alaska School Activities Association, or ASAA, Hall of Fame and because the Iditarod is in Unalakleet. Erickson moved to the remote Norton Sound village in the 1960s to teach at the Covenant High School. There he was a teacher, dorm parent to kids from surrounding areas, basketball coach, and later a pastor and basketball referee. Mashiana said it was his character on and off of the court that….Continue Reading