March 16, 2008

Iditarod Wrap Up.


There are still a dozen mushers on the trail and several are making a dash from White Mountain hoping to arrive in time for tonight's Iditarod Awards Banquet that is held the Sunday after the winner makes it to Nome. One person that wont make the festivities though is this years Red Lantern Winner who is still out on the trail . The Red Lantern for the last musher to cross the line started as a joke but became an Iditarod tradition .




During the days of Alaska sled dog freighting and mail carrying, dog drivers relied on a series of roadhouses between their village destinations. Since these mushers ventured out in most all kinds of weather, for safety reasons they found the idea that pilots rely on, known today as the flight plan.
Word was relayed ahead that a musher and team were on the trail, and a kerosene lamp was lit and hung outside the roadhouse. It not only helped the dog driver find his destination at night, but more importantly, it signified that a team or teams were somewhere out on the trail. The lamp was not extinguished until the musher safely reached his destination.
In keeping with that tradition, the Iditarod Trail Committee will light a “Widow’s Lamp” at 10:00 a.m., on the first Sunday in March, in Nome at the trail’s end. This lamp, which will be attached to the Burled Arch, our official finish line, will remain lit as long as there are mushers on the trail competing in the race. When the last musher crosses the finish line, officials will extinguish the “Widow’s Lamp” signifying the official end of the Iditarod for that year.
All too often, public and media think of the race as being over when the winner crosses the finish line, yet there are still teams on the trail. We hope you will find this often overlooked part of the race worthy of your attention. There are many very good stories about these other mushers on the trail.

Often the “Red Lantern” is confused with the “Widow’s Lamp.” They are not the same. An article several years ago in Alaska magazine states that the first red lantern was awarded in the 1953 Fur Rendezvous Race. According to Alaska,
“Awarding a red lantern for the last place finisher in a sled dog race has become an Alaskan tradition. It started as a joke and has become a symbol of stick-to-itiveness in the mushing world.”
Congratulations to all the mushers that participated in the Last Great Race On Earth.
Update: Race Awards Announced at Mushers Banquet

1 comment:

Webcam said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Webcam, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://webcam-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug.