The 2018 Iditarod is still 142 days away, but we know who'll lead the way out of Anchorage to begin the festivities: A Redington. 

There may not be any snow on the ground yet, but the stage is set for an emotional day. 

On Tuesday, the Iditarod Trail Committee's Board of Directors selected the late Joee Redington Jr. as its honorary musher. Redington passed away in August at the age of 74. He's the son of Joe Redington Sr., the man responsible for getting the race started in the early 70s. He's known as the "Father of the Iditarod." 

Joee only ran two Iditarods -- the second and third races in 1974 and 1975. He finished well in both placing ninth and third. He also enjoyed a long and successful career in sprint racing. 

But he was equally instrumental in helping the Iditarod grow as an event over the years. He oversaw Manley Hot Springs as a checkpoint and was always available to talk sled dog racing.  

In August, after his passing, Iditarod race director Mark Norman described Redington Jr. as “the ultimate dog man,” calling his death a huge loss for the whole sport.

“Such a history,” Nordman said. “I mean the passion was incredible. He helped youth get started. I don’t know that there was an Iditarod champion that wasn’t affected by Joee Redington in such a positive way.”

Redington's wife Pam will take the ride in her husband's honor at the ceremonial start on Saturday, March 3. As always, it will begin at 4th Avenue and D Street. 

As recently as 2015, the honor was awarded posthumously. Philip Esai, a long time volunteer was recognized. His wife too -- rode in the sled to begin the ceremonial start.