On Thursday, September 29, 2022, Martin L. Olson School had three amazing visitors! In the photo you can see the students who were present at the assembly, along with three mushers who race in the Iditarod! Pictured from left to right (center): Jeff Deeter, Brent Sass (most recent winner of the Iditarod), and Richie Beattie.

During this assembly, students and teachers asked many questions. We learned that each of these amazing athletes have their own group of dogs that they raise and treat like family. Each musher has approximately 60 dogs that they care for and train. One of the things that we learned is that a musher can race with 14 dogs at a time and there are specific times throughout the race in which they can relieve dogs who need medical attention, but they cannot add dogs back to the team. This was interesting because what if all of the dogs need medical care? Well, apparently once they get down to about 5 dogs, they are significantly slowed down and have to forfeit the race. 

Students also asked questions about them running alongside the sleds, taking breaks, what they do in the off-season, and we were even told how they train these dogs when there isn't any snow available. It was very informative and a student even gave her opinion on the experience:

"Interesting learning about things I never heard about the Iditarod." - Kaylee

Overall, it was a great experience for the students and extremely informative for those of us who have never even watched any part of the Iditarod! Thank you to Brent, Jeff, Richie, and especially to J. Holmes, who was injured while volunteering in the village with the other mushers. We appreciate you taking the time to not only help out in our community, but also for visiting our school and sharing your passion with us!