Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beargrease, Part 3: Opening Ceremonies

Another great time to be a fan is at the Opening Ceremonies and mushers' banquet and bib draw. This was held at Grandmother's Sports Garden, the same place as the mushers' registration.
First we enjoyed some traditional Native American music. The race is named for John Beargrease, a Native American who delivered mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota, in the 1800s. In the winter he often used a dogsled, and today's mushers use the same trail for part of the race.
You can hear the music on my YouTube page here.
It was another great opportunity to be a fan girl. I was able to get autographs of several mushers. Here are Harmony and Jason Barron signing my program. Harmony has raced the Iditarod three times, and the first time my daughters and I followed the race, we particularly followed Harmony because we liked her name. So it was a special treat to meet her.
After the meal and entertainment, each musher went forward and drew their bib number, which determines their start position. Here, Cindy Gallea looks over her race instructions.
Click here to see more Beargrease photos.
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