Written by Marty Moffat
Can 28 year olds be called legends? It certainly seems a bit premature, but if Dallas Seavey is not a legend in the dog mushing circles now he very soon will be. This is his 3rd Iditarod win in 4 years with a total trail time of 8 days 18 hours 13 minutes 6 seconds. He was the youngest to ever win the race in 2012 just 3 short years ago. Listening to him talk of his love for his dogs and how much he enjoys competing in the Iditarod it truly sounds like he is just getting started. There are five mushers who have won this race 4 times. Rick Swenson has won it 5 times. If there was ever a musher poised to have more than five wins in the future it looks to be Dallas Seavey as he could very well be extremely competitive for at least another 20 years.
Although he is very young, he is a true professional and has firm grasp on all the different factors to go into building a highly competitive kennel. He also understands the strategies that are required to win in long distance sled dog mushing. He truly dominated this race in almost every aspect, finishing over 4 hours ahead of the second place finisher….his father Mitch. In the last 100-150 miles he broke trail in soft and sugary conditions. He handled the -50 bone chilling temperatures and seems to handle sleep deprivation better than anyone else and those watching him in checkpoints continually mentioned how efficient and tactical he was going through his checklist. He moved quickly with machine-like precision with no wasted motion; all while giving an interview.
Then there are the dogs. Most of the team is from one litter and are 3 years old. For a couple of them, this is their second Iditarod win, and they will be very competitive and hard to surpass for another 3-4 more years. Reef is the name of Dallas’ 3 year old leader who really stepped up and was up front for 2/3 of the race and usually when the trail was tough.
Aaron Burmeister followed the Seaveys under the burled arch into Nome for last podium position followed by a pair of very competitive female racers; Jessie Royer and Aliy Zirkle. At the time of writing this, Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Jeff King complete the first seven mushers to reach the finish line. Certainly not too far back are two rookie teams battling it out for the top newbie position. Leaving White Mountain just 21 minutes apart, Thomas Waemer held a slight lead over Jason Campeau. Keep an eye out for these rookies as placing within the top 20 is certainly a feat, and a great feat for a racer who hasn’t seen the entirety of this often brutal trail.
Like mentioned above, the icing on the cake for the Seavey family was certainly Dallas’ father Mitch coming it in second to claim the top two positions out of 79 mushing teams. They had discussed a few times over the years how cool that would be to finish 1-2; with Mitch of course picturing himself first in that scenario. 🙂 Mitch did share in White Mountain how happy he was for the way things were shaping up for Dallas and himself. Dallas expressed that he and his dad truly compete against each other and that makes each of them better. In an interview Dallas concedes that his father taught him mushing, but he alluded to the fact that he didn’t teach him everything…and he’s got more to learn. Watch out for Dallas from here on out. We could very well be looking down the barrel of a double digit Iditarod champion. Strange things happen in this race, so nothing is for certain, but rarely do you see youth coupled with experience. Dallas has that combination.