Wasilla, Alaska

Wasilla is the home of the world renowned Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the Tesoro Iron-Dog 2000, the world's longest snowmobile race. It is also can be the official starting point for both races, after a ceremonial start in Anchorage the day before. 

The biggest reason for the ceremonial start is to allow Alaskans the opportunity to see the mushers and watch the start of the great race.

Iditarod race start in Anchorage

Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage is the staging area for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod. The starting area is blocks away in this view looking east, and the large building at the left is the new courthouseIditarod race start in Anchorage

All mushers gather on Fourth Avenue and the side streets around it for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod.  They then race for about 20 miles that day and the results didn't matter. The official start of "The Last Great Race" to Nome takes place in Wasilla, which lays east of Anchorage, the next day.

The "Original" Official Starting Place of the Iditarod - Knik, Alaska

During the first two races in 1973 and 1974, the original restart location was at the mudflats of Cook Inlet to Knik. This was soon changed because the weather frequently hovers around freezing, turning it into a muddy hazard.

The Current "Official" Starting Place of the Iditarod - Wasilla, Alaska

Iditarod race start in Anchorage

So now, after the dogs leave Anchorage and arrive in Wasilla, they get a rest and get ready for the official re-start of the "The Last Great Race on Earth," covering more than 1,049 miles of rugged terrain with teams of 12 to 16 dogs.

The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best dogsled mushers and teams, evolving into the highly competitive race it is today. The mushers face an incredible journey, bitter cold, fierce winds and long, lonely hours of darkness.  Experiencing the race, the Iditarod Trail, and winter in Alaska is unforgettable.  

Wasilla History
The town of Wasilla was founded in 1917 and came into prominence when the Alaska Railroad was built to access the interior and resources of Alaska and in doing so served the Willow Creek Mining District. From 1907 until the mines  were closed by the government during World War II, the district contributed to Alaska's lode gold production. Most of the mining activity was focused  in the area of the Little Susitna drainage, but the name "Willow Creek  District" was retained from older usage, even though the mines in the Willow Creek drainage for the most part had been worked out or closed.

Wasilla headquarters the Iditarod Trail Committee where the Iditarod Sled Dog Race is more than a race, it is a commemoration of the colorful past.

The Iditarod Trail, now a national historical trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps and beyond to the west coast communities. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made, legends were born.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life-saving highway for epidemic stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened the community and the serum had to be brought in: again by intrepid dog mushers and their faithful hard-driving  huskies. Today's Iditarod race is a commemoration of those yesteryears, a not-so-distant past Alaskans honor and are proud of. The 1994 race faced new difficulties as two of the major corporate sponsors pulled out due to pressure from animal rights groups. Tesoro Alaska and other Alaskan Corporations stepped forward to insure that this great tradition continues.

Wasilla Collectible Pins

Year Pin Other Pins, Comments


Iditarod Days - 1986

This layered pin commemorates Iditarod Days during the 1986 Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
1987 Iditarod Days Wasilla - 1987 This pin commemorates Iditarod Days during the 1987 Iditarod Dog Sled Race. 
1988 Iditarod Days Wailla - 1988 This lapel pin commemorates Iditarod Days during the 1988 Iditarod Dog Sled Race. 
1989 Iditarod Days Wailla - 1989 This pin commemorates Iditarod Days during the 1989 Iditarod Dog Sled Race. The back of the pin attaches with a clasp..
1990 Iditarod Days - 1990 This pin commemorates the Iditarod in 1990. Wasilla, Alaska is a town in the Matanuska-Susitan Borough. After the ceremonial start of the Iditarod occurs in the city of Anchorage, the official restart of the famed race takes place in Wasilla which is located in the south central region of the state. The trail proceeds from Wasilla up the Rainy Pass of the Alaska Range into the sparsely populated interior, and then along the shore of the Bering Sea, finally reaching Nome in western Alaska
1991 Iditarod Days - 1991 This pin commemorates Iditarod Days during the 1991 Iditarod Dog Sled Race. 
1993 Iditarod Days - 1993 This pin commemorates Iditarod Days during the 1993 Iditarod Dog Sled Race. The back of the pin attaches with twin posts.

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