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Thursday, March 8, 2012
Page 2 offers up ideas to raise profile of Iditarod


Iditarod
The Iditarod is a thrilling competition, but it needs a few tweaks to make it accessible to casual fans.

Alaska might not have a major league sports team or a lot of citizens or a livable climate or a winning vice presidential candidate or recognizable landmarks or relevant cultural exports or a name conducive to anagrams, but it has at least one thing to be proud of: the Iditarod.

Billed as "The Last Great Race," the Iditarod pits teams of 12-16 fluffy dogs against one another in an eight-day, 1,049-mile haul across a pitiless terrain, where they must endure whiteout conditions and wind chills reaching minus-100 degrees F. Also, the dogs have to pull guys around on sleds.

And it's taking place this very second! The 40th annual race started Sunday, but chances are you didn't know that because ... well, not that many people care about the Iditarod. Which is a shame, because these 'Rodders are out there taking their bodies to unthinkable limits, risking their very lives for the sacred opiate that is endurance competition.

So Page 2 has compiled the following foolproof ideas to rejuvenate the competition and generate interest from sports enthusiasts nationwide.

• Set the course on fire. This certainly helped NASCAR boost its ratings, and it will provide the added benefit of helping racers stay warm.

• Have newborn Husky pups compete in a parallel competition where the first to make it out of a laundry basket and across the backyard wins the right to never have to compete in the Iditarod.

• One team of dogs is composed of Muppets.

• Cheerleaders! Small outfits! Frostbite! Amputation! Limbless cheers! Hilarity!

• This year's Super Bowl halftime show had better ratings than the actual game, so periodic musical intermissions are in order. We're thinking Canine-ye West, Smelton John, Phil Collie, Aerosniff, The Beagles, Mariah Hairy, Lionel Itchy and the Black Eyed Pekingese.

• Gravy-soaked cats.

Implement these suggestions and the Iditarod will truly become the Last Great Race.