Since 2005 when I volunteered the first time at the Skwentna Checkpoint for the Iditarod, I have attended this annual summertime celebration at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla to watch mushers sign up for next March's race. However, this year is VERY DIFFERENT! On June 27th, two weeks from today, I will be signing up our team to participate in Iditarod 2016. It's finally our turn!!
There will be eight more months of anticipation., and eight more months of preparation and planning for our rookie race to Nome. On March 5, 2016, we'll be at the starting line in Anchorage for the ceremonial start.
A couple days ago when Jeff mentioned "Iditarod Rookie Reference Sheet", I realized my vision of simply "signing up" at the picnic was based on my previous observations of the event. In past years, I watched mushers walk up to a table of Iditarod officials and volunteers, "sign up", and then walk away celebrating their entry into next year's race.
I decided I should check out Iditarod.com's "Musher" information section: http://iditarod.com/resources/mushers/. Of course, signing up for a 1000 mile race isn't that simple.
My eyes widened as I began printing out all the required forms: Rookie Reference Sheet signed by a seasoned Iditarod finisher; Application with biography, mushing history, photograph, etc; Liability Release; Anchorage and Nome Housing Request Forms; List of Sponsors; Musher Membership Form; Banquet Ticket Form for March's start banquet; Dog Care Agreement for vet care during the race; Two Local Contact Forms for Dropped Dogs; Iditarod Trail Questionnaire; previously completed Musher Assessment Form/"Report Card" for 3 qualifying races totaling 750 miles... oh, and a $3000 entry fee. Whoa!
Guess we better get busy. In the next two weeks, we'll be filling out all of our forms, and starting to search for sponsors to join our team. If you have questions, or are interested in providing sponsorship to help Bacon's Acres Racing prepare and participate in Iditarod 2016, please contact me: Kristin Bacon at email@example.com