RONDY TO TRACK MUSHERS WITH GPS & OFFERS UP NIGHT-TIME SPRINT RACE

Mushers can’t hide anymore.Like the longer Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the Fur Rendezvous World Championship Sled Dog Race will track sprint mushers step by step using GPS tracking when the race kicks off Feb. 26 during the 75th Fur Rendezvous celebration.AT&T Alascom CEO Mike Felix and GeoNorth principal Stan Halfacre said Wednesday the two companies are combining their technical strengths to allow computer users on the Internet to follow mushers on their 25-mile journey through Anchorage during three days of racing.”We’re very excited,” said Fur Rendezvous board president Ernie Hall said in a press release. “With live-streaming data updating every half-second … an international audience (can) follow the race via the Internet, reaching millions of homes across the globe.”Defending champion Blayne “Buddy” Streeper expects to defend his title, chasing the winner’s share of a record $80,000 purse. Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King, who’s leasing a team from Streeper, plans to give chase.Hall said the Rondy is also introducing a new Sprints at Sundown Invitational race next year.Hours after Iditarod mushers leave for Nome on March 6, sprint mushers from the Alaskan Sled Dog & Racing Association will contest a rare evening race under the lights.Sprinters will use the same route — closed to vehicles — as Iditarod mushers for a race starting on Fourth Avenue, looping around Mulcahy Stadium and heading back up the Cordova hill to the Fourth Avenue finish line. Hall said he expects to start between 5-6 p.m., with two mushers at a time leaving the start line.”They’ll be meetings, passing — things that happen out on the back trail that people don’t normally get to see,” Hall said. “I think it’ll bring home the excitement of sprint racing.”For more information on this and other Fur Rondy events visit: www.furrondy.net

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