Alaska Iditarod Mushers Compete for Hundreds of Thousands in Prizes

Alaska dog sled racers were set on Sunday to start the 35th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Eighty-two teams and about 1,000 howling dogs lined up on Saturday in downtown Anchorage for the ceremonial start of the 35th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Defending champion and four-time winner Jeff King looked relaxed. He sent his daughter to a coffee shop around the corner to get him a latte as he waited for his turn to let his dogs loose on the Iditarod trail.

Given the tough trail conditions this year — hard-packed snow and bare ground — King says he expects a bumpy ride. That's not a problem; he says the Iditarod trail will never be easy.

The restart, where the mushers get serious about racing, begins on Sunday in Willow, about 50 miles northwest of Anchorage.

This year's race carries a $795,000 purse for the top 30 finishers. The winner will get approximately 69,000 and a new pickup truck.