ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Iditarod mushers might have taken home bigger winnings this year if not for an oversight by the organization that runs the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Last fall, the Iditarod Trail Committee decided to increase the total prize money from $550,000 to $600,000. The committee then neglected to vote on the hike.
The boost would have raised winnings between slightly more than $100 and several thousands of dollars, depending on a musher's finishing position.
The new prize for the first musher to reach Nome was to be $68,571. At least, that was the number published in a chart in the Official 2002 Rules and Policy.
The hitch came about because the committee's board of directors never got around to voting on the new purse.
Race director Joanne Potts said that because it was never formally approved, the official purse remained the amount approved for the 2001 race.
As a result, Iditarod champ Martin gets $62,857 -- almost $6,000 less than he might have hoped for this year.
Second-place finisher Ramy Brooks of Healy will get $55,000 instead of $60,000. Third-place finisher John Baker of Kotzebue get $47,143 instead of $51,429.
The reductions continue down to the 30th position, which would have paid $119 dollars more this year than last if the new purse had been approved.
The oversight will probably help the race, however.
Earlier this year, Iditarod executive director Stan Hooley said that revenue was down slightly this year, in part because of fewer participants and lower bids for the Idit-a-rider fund-raiser.
Hooley blamed tourism slowdowns due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
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