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Musher Lance Mackey wins his third consecutive Iditarod dogsled race

Lance Mackey drives his team up the finish chute of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

As many Iditarod watchers expected, musher Lance Mackey today won the Alaska race for the third consecutive year.  He reached the finish line at 11:38 a.m.; immediately afterward, he rewarded his victorious team with treats. The second- and third-place finishers, Sebastian Schnuelle and John Baker, were about six hours behind Mackey's team.

"This never gets old," Mackey told the Associated Press while hugging two of his dogs.  "It's pretty awesome... Pretty cool."  He gave a special mention to Maple, a 3-year-old female who was his team's lead dog for much of the final portion of the race. 

Mackey becomes only the third musher in the history of the Iditarod to win the race three consecutive times.  (Doug Swingley and the late Susan Butcher also accomplished this feat.)  He comes from a family of mushers; both his father and half-brother have also won the Iditarod.

Sixty-seven dogsled teams participated in this year's Iditarod; 10 have either withdrawn or been scratched since the race began about a week and a half ago. 

Three dogs died during the race's running, including a member of musher Jeff Holt's team and two from musher Lou Packer's team.  No official causes of death for the three dogs have been determined, although hypothermia hasn't been ruled out. 

"I felt his shoulder for hydration, and ice crystals in the skin is what I felt," Packer told the Anchorage Daily News about the death of one of his dogs, Dizzy, on the trail between the checkpoints of Iditarod and Shageluk.  "I think those two guys probably froze to death in the high winds.... I didn't think it possible." 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Lance Mackey drives his team up the finish chute in Nome.  Credit: Al Grillo / Associated Press.

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The story isn't who won. The story is why do we continue to allow an event that routinely kills dogs? If I took a dog and ran it ragged, then allowed it to freeze to death I'd be arrested.

Dogs' lives aren't collateral damage. When are we going to grow up and realize that decent people don't use other species and destroy their lives for sport? What exactly will it take? Barbaro dies after months in pain, Eight Belles dies in agony with two snapped ankles. The Iditarod kills dog after dog after dog and so-called "mushers" flat-out admit they have no idea how to keep their dogs alive on the trail: "I think those two guys probably froze to death in the high winds.... I didn't think it possible." Seriously? You didn't know dogs were flesh and blood living creatures, Mr. Packer?

The man actually admits he allowed his dogs to get so cold there were ICE CRYSTALS in his skin and we think what? This is the price of "having fun"? Why is it always the animal who pays the price?

I am so proud to be from Soldotna Alaska where courage can overcome cancer. The Mackey family is amazing. They support each other like no other. And they LOVE their dogs. As a breeder of smaller dogs I pay careful attention to the standards of care and attention others give to their pets. Lance and his family are in the top notch and it is wonderful to see what true love of this sport can bring. I can't wait til he wins next years race.

I am outraged that the Iditarod is being glorified, when, in fact, it is inhumane and should be stopped. There are laws in 38 states against "over-driving" and "over-working" animals, and this is exactly what the Iditarod is.

The dogs love to run, but not such a grueling 1150-mile RACE. Five dogs died one year, and as far back as records go, a total of 136 died, before this year's three, so far. The mushers start out with 16 dogs and only about half the dogs make it to the finish line.

When the dogs are not racing, they live under inhumane conditions, --each and every dog is short-chained to their own small dog house.

It's all about the money and glory of the mushers. Consider the prize money (hundreds of thousand dollars divided between the top 30 mushers) all the sponsors, and the money it brings in to Alaska, at the expense of the dogs.

All the animal protection organizations are against this cruelty. In the historical run, which the Iditarod is promoted to supposedly commemorate, the 1925 Anchorage to Nome diphtheria serum run, "a train carried the medication from Anchorage to Nenana. From there the dogs ran the remaining 674 miles in relays to Norton Sound and up the Bering Sea Coast to Nome. There were 20 serum mushers with dog teams and no dog ran over 92 miles." This was taken from the Sled Dog Action Coalition Website, www.helpsleddogs.org. They have been researching the Iditarod for a number of years.

Lucy S

YOu are a good racer we are doin a essay on the iditarod and i picked you last year you didi not let me down so im picking you again.


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