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
The biggest reason for the ceremonial start is to allow Alaskans
the opportunity to see the mushers and watch the start of the great
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 courthouse
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
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.
the race, the Iditarod Trail, and winter in Alaska is unforgettable.
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
Wasilla Collectible Pins