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mighty mushers!
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Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
mighty mushers! on 01/20/2012 09:28:16 MST Print View

read the latest NG? great article 'bout epic mushing! i continue to question why this sport is so undermined, unappreciated and undervalued? i find it so dis-enchanting to see sports (and outdoor) media infected by the same icons. IMHO, mushers define the marrow of athleticism in which they often (unfortunately) lack the trademark support systems (trainers, official sponsors)--not to mention the financial output-- of their athletic counterparts. what travesty!

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: mighty mushers! on 01/20/2012 09:50:03 MST Print View

I think the top guys and ladies do ok, King, Buser, Mackey etc. Problem is it's a very small sport, with limited viewership and about zero tv coverage. Endurance sports are not really a way to get a big pay day. Marathon, Triathlon, Ironman etc.. not really getting paid the big bucks. Same, the top in each field will get sponsors and free gear. They are either paying their own trainer or exchanging to be affiliated with them for advertising.

It does suck because they are impressive people with even more impressive dogs but there isn't a huge draw to get tons of $ to pay everyone.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: mighty mushers! on 01/20/2012 10:17:26 MST Print View

>"lack the trademark support systems"

A dog musher needs two things: A truck and a wife.

and they both need to work.

All of them have tremendous skill and drive and dedication. Many of the top contenders and many of the middle of the pack are humans in great shape. But there are others who are competent mushers and I can think of at least one winner of a MAJOR event (there being only two major events) who's overweight and out of shape. And a LOT OF middle and red lantern guys who do a lot of pot, don't own a comb, and, well, you wouldn't want them on the Wheaties box because it would put you off your feed at the breakfast table.

As for wider interest, of course things bumped up with cute blonde Libby Riddles' win in 1985. Followed by Susan Butcher who wasn't near as photogenic but seeing her in a gas station or wherever and even without registering who she was, she just carried herself in way that conveyed that she could face down a moose on the trail 100 miles from anywhere. The era of her 4 wins had T-shirts in all the shops, "Alaska, where the men are real men. And women win the Iditarod."

There was that reality show that followed several mushers one year (2008?) including a co-worker with an insulin pump (who made the mistake of saying on camera once, "I could die out here." which they reused endlessly.

It's a hard sport to broadcast real time. NO ONE knows the standings at any one time. In-state, schoolchildren follow the results, but they are hours to a day old when reported. That's a handicap that football doesn't have. On the upside, there is the longer story - 9 days of competition that, for me, make it far more interesting than a bunch of muscle-bound dudes in tights chasing a ball around.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: mighty mushers! on 01/20/2012 10:23:46 MST Print View

I didn't know Karin Hendrickson had a wife..

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: mighty mushers! on 01/20/2012 10:36:46 MST Print View

David, I agree.. it is a better documentary/special than a live/taped event. Everyone is on different schedules and rest stops etc so a guy could be a day behind but he's taken a long rest and will do the next 20 hours straight or whatever and pass everyone. it's not like Tour de France where everyone is on the road at once and it's done in 4 hours every day. (the workhorses in cycling don't get paid a whole lot either)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: mighty mushers! on 01/20/2012 12:45:07 MST Print View

>"I didn't know Karin Hendrickson had a wife.."

Well, no, she lives in Alaska and although I voted, campaigned, and donated against the State "DOMA" law, it was passed about 70%-30% making equal rights for gays as unpopular that year as billboards or wolves that also went down about 70-30. So she can't have a wife in this state.

It was a JOKE. One that doesn't apply to Ms. Hendrickson (who works fulltime), my doctor, the contractor who framed my house, two other MD friends, that diabetic co-worker, and a lot of other Iditarod mushers. But it does apply and captures something telling about other mushers I know where the groceries, health insurance and even a lot of dog food come from her 9-5 job's salary because his summer fishing doesn't pay as well as it did in the 80's.

One of the things I like about Alaska is that there are more margins and niches for people to pursue alternative employment and living arrangements. Cheap land and no building codes outside of cities allow some people to get by much as they would have 60 or 80 years ago. And on a similar budget.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Alaska on 01/20/2012 12:52:41 MST Print View

"Cheap land and no building codes "
Maybe that's where I belong :)

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Combless on 01/20/2012 12:59:46 MST Print View

What century do you live in David!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Alaska on 01/22/2012 14:21:00 MST Print View

>"Cheap land and no building codes "
>Maybe that's where I belong :)

I know a few people who got their few acres (about one hectare) for US$3,000 to US$5,000 15 to 20 years ago. They could have had more than that in their pocket after a decent July. Then they put up a 12x12 cabin with woodstove, dig an outhouse, haul water from the Merchantile, and use a campstove.

With no rent, mortgage, gas, electric, phone, cell, cable, or insurance, one's living expenses can be pretty low and under one's own control.

There are laws in Alaska about wasting edible fish and game so canneries have to process all the pink salmon they catch, even though everyone prefers sockeye (and kings and silvers). They sell frozen pinks at $0.05/pound to mushers making it a lot cheaper than kibble.