I definitely follow it! I grew up watching the ceremonial start in Anchorage and I do some recreational dryland mushing with my dogs. Susan Butcher was my #1 hero growing up.
Hiker, there was an incident in Canada not too long ago but that was in no way related to the Iditarod. Any decent musher would never treat their dog with anything other than tender, loving care. Many times mushers treat their dogs better than they do themselves. There are always going to be a few bad apples in every barrel but it doesn't mean the whole barrel is bad.
While I was in Alaska I had the opportunity to visit Jeff King's and Susan Butcher's dog yards. It was very evident how much their dogs were loved. Susan was in the hospital at the time that I was in Alaska and died shortly thereafter. The absolute desire these dogs have to run is amazing. I will always remember Jeff King's comment, "All who know me know that the only thing in this world that matters more to me than these dogs is my family and friends."
When I was a kid I had some friends who moved to our town from Nome. I always envied them, getting to see the finish. I don't really follow it, but when it is brought to my attention, as it has been, I do pay attention.
What a shock. I guess with hurricane Katrina and my own recovery from a car wreck ten days after the storm I missed this. When I lived in Alaska Susan was racing and at the peak of her career. I always admired her. All the mushers that run the Iditarod are a breed unto themselves. I agree, the majority of the dog racers take excellent care of their dogs.
I used to, but i don't anymore, since I have been too busy with other things these days.
I was supposed to go see the start of it this year with some friends, but then some stuff came up, and I had to cancel.
Ah well always next year, after all the starting like is only like an hour or so drive from my house.
I do sprint racing with my sled dogs. I bred a puppy 11 years ago and sent him to a friend who lives in Wasilla. My friend finished 4 Iditarods and a Yukon Quest. The pup I sent to him was on one of his Iditarod teams. I was thrilled! I kept 3 pups from that litter and raced them myself and the other went to a mid-distance racing family in Minnesota.
These days, I'm usually too busy with my own dogs to really follow it closely (unless I know someone who's in it). I have a standing invitation to go up there for Iditarod, but that would mean missing the end of my season and I wouldn't do that to my dogs. They love racing so much!!!