Friday, September 19
Scdoris will be guided by another musher

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A blind musher will be allowed to compete in the 2004 Iditarod Dog Sled Race, board members of the Iditarod Trail Committee decided Friday.

The board voted unanimously to waive certain rules to allow Rachael Scdoris, 18, of Redmond, Ore., to be guided by another musher to advise her of trail conditions. The board also approved use of two-way radios so the pair can communicate.

"It was a fair compromise that will allow Rachael to realize her dream," said Rick Koch, the board chairman.

Scdoris had hoped the board would allow her to be accompanied by two veteran mushers on snowmobiles, but she said she was happy with the decision.

Existing Iditarod rules allow competitors to receive assistance only from competing mushers. Verbal coaching from noncompetitors and use of radios and other communication equipment also is forbidden.

Scdoris has congenital achromatopsia, a retinal condition that impairs her ability to see clearly.

Scdoris is one of 81 entrants for the 2004 race so far, including 29 rookies. It begins in Anchorage on March 6.

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