Although many eyes will be on Mitch Seavey as he defends his title as the current Iditarod champion, his son, Tyrell Seavey, is hoping to better stake his own claim to fame in the Last Great Race this year. And he believes he may have the dogs to do it.
"I have a dog team that impresses me every day," said the young Seavey.
This will be his second time competing in the Iditarod, having first run the race in 2003. He placed 36th that year with a team of puppies, many of which made it into Mitch's winning team last year.
"I had eight of his dogs in my 2003 team," Tyrell said.
Giving up dogs to his father's team may seem like it would be difficult, but Tyrell said he never hesitates to selflessly give his father the best of his own 16 dogs.
"I'd love to have them in my team, of course, but if we both split up the best dogs evenly, we could probably come in fourth and fifth. But, if I give him my best, maybe I'll come in 10th, but maybe he'll finish first."
Tyrell said that's the most important thing in the big picture.
"Getting him across that finish line first is the goal of the kennel, my life, everything," he said.
That doesn't mean Tyrell will take puppies again, rather he will still have a high-caliber team, it will just be a B-team to Mitch's A-team.
"They're not as good as my dad's, but I think they could really show something out there," he said.
As to how he will drive this team, Tyrell said this year will be different from his past Iditarod.
"I'm going into it with a completely different mind-set this time. I'm looking at it like a real race, not a tour. I've got competitors to beat, and my goal is to get 100 percent from myself and my dogs."
The reason for this attitude isn't just about testing himself and his team, though. Tyrell said it's also about showing to others that he like his father and grandfather, Dan is a worthy mushing competitor.
"At my age, I've got a lot to prove. People don't expect me to be in a top position, but I always expect more from myself than anyone else," Tyrell said.
And this year, he said he expects to run and keep up with the big dogs and their teams.
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