Iditarod Air Force and Bypass Mail Prepare Iditarod Trail
Supplies being dropped off for last great race
ANCHORAGE AND WILLOW - There's a lot more to running the Iditarod than the thousand-mile trek – And everyone volunteering knows it all too well.
It starts with the straw: With at least one bale per team at every checkpoint, the weight adds up.
After eight years Linda Gorum calls herself a professional volunteer. She knows good preparation is the key to keeping mushers and their dogs happy.
“And that's important because people come a long distance to this beautiful state and we want to make certain they have a great experience,” Gorum said.
Even more volunteers work the food drop – Airland Transport's warehouse becomes a whirlwind of activity.
Most of the food and straw is shipped to villages through bypass mail.
The rest takes a more scenic trip to remote checkpoints--with yet another volunteer crew--the Iditarod Air Force.
Bruce Moroney is a commercial pilot, but spends weeks donating his time flying for the last great race.
“We're going to Yentna station. This is the first checkpoint after the restart in Willow. And it's a checkpoint but it's not a food drop,” Moroney said. “So we'll be hauling straw in there today and groceries for the volunteers.”
He's flown with the Iditarod Air Force for more than 25 years, but took two years off to see the trails as a competitor.
“The nice thing is having flown the race previously is I knew the way,” Moroney said. “I knew where the checkpoints were and the lay of the land so the first time I ran the Iditarod it was kind of a help for me.”
With his mushing days behind him, Bruce says flying is second best.
“If I had my druthers I would run the race every year because mushing and taking a team to Nome is a great adventure, but at 63, my body can't take the rigors of the trail.”
Bruce is one of about 30 pilots who will take off with more than 20 tons supplies for the 2012 Iditarod.
We want to give a special thanks to pilot Bruce Moroney who took our crew out on his own time.
Stay tuned to CBS 11 News and KTVA.com for ongoing Iditarod coverage.