Mushers respond to scathing Iditarod report
Alaska's mushing community is weighing in on a report released this week, calling for Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race officials to make major changes in order to secure the race's future.
This week was time for Kristy Berington and her team to suit up for work. Berington is among the 40 mushers who will take off from Willow Lake for the Willow 300.
You could not ask for better race conditions than what mushers and fans had. Thirteen of these mushers will qualify for the Iditarod, a race whose future is now not as bright.
The Willow 300 takes place one day after the Iditarod Trail Committee released a report that recommends several changes to Iditarod. One calls for improved communications between the Iditarod board, sponsors and mushers.
That's something Iditarod veteran Linwood Fiedler likes.
"I think there is sometimes a disconnect between the board and the racers, perennial racers, and having a better communications stream always seems to help," says Fiedler.
Three mushers currently sit on the board. Another recommendation calls for board members with conflicts of interest to resign. Mushers could be represented by someone who would not have a vote on Iditarod-related matters.
"I think our representatives should have a vote because they represent us, and the race is for us, and mostly about us, to have somebody representing our opinions, I think, is important," says Berington.
The recommendations from the Foraker Group are designed to help save the Iditarod. The son of the race's founder, Joe Redington Sr., asks people to give them a chance.
"Everything can be better, but, we got to race. and I think everybody's trying to do the best they can," says Raymie Redington, as the Willow 300 starts on what would have been his father's 101st birthday.
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