At least 85 signed up for 2001 Iditarod

Posted: Sunday, December 03, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Iditarod Sled Dog Race officials have received 85 entries for the 2001 Anchorage-to-Nome race.

''We have 85, and I know of one that is in the mail,'' said race director Joanne Potts. The March 3 race is accepting entries postmarked on or before Dec. 1.

Just eight entrants signed up from the Alaska Bush, compared to 10 from Outside, including four from Montana, home of two-time defending Iditarod champ Doug Swingley of Lincoln.

The field includes 30 rookies, including the winner of the 2000 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, Aliy Zirkle of Willow, and runner-up, Thomas Tetz of Carcross, Yukon Territory. The Yukon Quest is a 1,000-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

''We've got some Iditarod rookies who aren't really rookies,'' Potts said. ''We're going to have some real competition for rookie of the year.''

Among the former champions entered are Swingley, Jeff King of Denali Park, Martin Buser of Big Lake, Rick Mackey of Nenana, and Rick Swenson of Two Rivers. The runner up from last winter, Paul Gebhardt, is also signed up.

A record 97 teams entered the 2000 race.

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