The Lance Mackey Story

by Jim Keller March 13 2007 16:58

The talk in Nome is all about Lance Mackey, the Alaskan Musher, who has won 3 consecutive Yukon Quest 1,000 mile sled dog races but not the Iditarod. The Yukon Quest is the #2 long distance race compared to the Iditarod but does not get the international exposure the Iditarod receives. The Iditarod is also more expensive to race.

Lance is the first musher to leave safely, 22 miles from Nome, and is expected to arrive in Nome around 7:30 pm AST tonight.

Lance will join his father and brother as Iditarod winners wearing their #13 bib number, racing in his 6th Iditarod, the same as his father and brother.

The bib numbers are picked by the mushers based on their entry date so Lance camped out for a week to make sure he was the first to enter the 2007 race.

Tonya Mackey, Lance's wife, sat next to Rosanne and I on the flight to Nome yesterday and we had a great conversation including how Lance appreciated the conversation I had with him when he was leaving Willow Lake at the start. Lance mentioned he and most of the mushers noticed Dallas' new sponsor and that he wanted his team to look sharp like the J. J.Keller team - he said "Dallas has the best looking team and a great sponsor." 

Lance has never owned a new truck and has commented on the trail how nice it would be and that he can envision the new truck smell - the winner receives $69,000 and a new truck.

Lance collasped at the finish line 6 years ago and was rushed to the hospital where they discovered throat cancer. A year later he had to scratch because his feeding tube would freeze and he could not eat. Lance has since passed the 5 year checkup.

Assuming Lance, the sentimental favorite, wins he would have overcome great obstacles on and off the trail and will also be the only musher ever the win the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year - 2007! They said it couldn't be done.

Tonya said she and Lance would be happy to do an interview with us so look for comments, photos and videos after Lance arrives in Nome and receives his hero's welcome.

Stay tuned as we are "Mushing together to Nome."

P.S. Brian and I are in the process of trying to rent 2 snowmachines so we can get some photos and videos of Dallas from the bering sea as he approches Nome, 168 miles from Siberia!

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