With the iconic Iditarod – “The Last Great Race On Earth” – under fire after reports said some of four-time champion Dallas Seavey’s dogs tested positive for illegal substances, mushers and race officials gathered for a closed-door meeting on Sunday.
Here’s KTUU’s Beth Verge with some details:
“It was a heated meeting in some ways,” said current Race Director Mark Nordman. “But what I felt coming out of there is that people want to see this race survive and grow.”
The meeting comes amid allegations of dog doping that have rocked the race community and triggered threats of withdrawal from the race by big names, including 2017 Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey.
But that’s not all: Outside of the race, a veteran Iditarod musher, Paul Gebhardt, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Jason Mackey was charged with stealing kennels from another competitor.
And it all happened in the last few months.
“It’s been a tough couple of months,” Nordman said. “Everybody’s aware of that.
“But bottom line is,” he said, “this event is so much more than myself or a board of directors or the mushers. It’s the whole state’s event.”
When it comes to the race itself, Nordman said, the main focus right now is to make sure everyone is on the same page. And while most in attendance declined to comment, those who agreed to speak with Channel 2 said potential changes for the Iditarod were discussed during the meeting.