Today is the official start of the Iditarod, called The Last Great Race on Earth. This dogsled race, with some 50 mushers competing, runs about 1100 miles, ending at Nome. Because of poor snow conditions, the restart begins in Fairbanks instead of Willow today. You can follow the race on the Iditarod homepage.
The musher you see in this picture is a special person. He is Rick Casillo, and I'm honored to know him. Rick owns Battle Dawgs, and he spends much time supporting our troops. He'll be wearing the AHH brand during the race -- Alaska's Healing Hearts, a foundation that I'm mighty proud to be President.
Rick's wife, Jennifer, is a military officer and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm happy to say she's on our Board of Directors. Jennifer has a quote: "the true battle for a veteran begins when they get home." Together, Rick and Jennifer are a fantastic couple.
Rick's journey during the race will be a supreme test of man and dogs. They'll face raging blizzards, whiteouts, wind chills down to 100 degrees below zero, dangerous rocks and debris in places where there's no snow, and incredible fatigue that goes along with this amazing race.
Rick's bib number is 52. Watch for him during the race. I'm one of his biggest fans. Go Rick -- we love ya, man.