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    Default Mush...Mush you Huskies!!!

    Congrats to this Brother from Norway!

    By RACHEL D'ORO
    Associated Press Writer
    NOME, Alaska (AP) - Robert Sorlie's mind was constantly on the
    other competitors at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
    After winning one of the closest races in years, the Norwegian
    was just thinking about catching up on sleep.
    "I was always worried about the other mushers," Sorlie said
    after he crossed the finish line in this old mining town Wednesday.
    "In the last three days, I have slept one hour each night."
    The 47-year-old firefighter traversed one of the slushiest
    trails ever, dropping half his dog team along the way, and held off
    late pushes from two other mushers in the closing stretch.
    Waving a Norwegian flag, Sorlie cruised in at 8:39 a.m.,
    finishing the race across Alaska in nine days, 18 hours, 39 minutes
    and 31 seconds. It was his second victory in three tries.
    Sorlie was still in the winner's circle when Ed Iten, 51, of
    Kotzebue, scored second place 34 minutes later, followed seven
    minutes later by 2004 winner Mitch Seavey, 45, of Seward. He was
    there to greet his 26-year-old nephew, Norwegian Bjornar Andersen,
    who finished fourth - the best rookie showing ever - at 9:50 a.m.,
    81 minutes behind Sorlie.
    Sorlie won $72,066.67 and a pickup truck for his victory in the
    33rd Iditarod. The top 30 finishers share most of the $750,000
    total purse.
    Unseasonably warm weather made much of this year's race a slushy
    challenge. The temperature dropped to 25 degrees when Sorlie
    reached Nome, though locals trucked in snow to provide a fresh
    finish down Front Street.
    Colder weather is easier on the dogs, which generally run best
    in a range from 20-below zero to 20 degrees above. Lack of a solid
    snow base forced a shift of the March 6 start from Wasilla to
    Willow, and patches of grass were visible along some stretches of
    trail.
    "It was so warm in the race we could have used T-shirts,"
    Sorlie said with a laugh.
    Sorlie finished the race with eight dogs, having dropped eight
    sick, sore or tired dogs at checkpoints along the trail. It was
    half the 16 required at the start of the race, but the same number
    that pulled him to victory two years ago. His team traveled an
    average 4.65 mph this year.
    The Iditarod is a fairly recent challenge for Sorlie, a
    three-time champion of Norway's premier long-distance sled dog
    race, the 600-mile Finnmarkslopet.
    "I think I am an ambassador for the Iditarod in my country,"
    Sorlie said.
    Sorlie's made his first run in 2002, when he finished ninth in
    the 1,100-mile trek from Anchorage to this town of 3,500 at the
    edge of the Bering Sea. It was a new rookie record, broken
    Wednesday by his nephew though Sorlie's 2002 time was almost seven
    hours faster.
    This year, as in 2003, Sorlie grabbed the lead early and fended
    off a strong field that included five other Iditarod champions.
    Brooks, 36, finished fifth at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, followed 11
    minutes later by John Baker of Kotzebue. Placing seventh was Lance
    Mackey of Kasilof, who won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International
    Sled Dog Race last month. Rounding out the top 10 were Jessie Royer
    of Fairbanks, Paul Gebhardt of Kasilof - the only musher to have a
    dog die so far this year - and DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow.
    Sorlie, from Hurdal, Norway, is the second Iditarod winner born
    outside the United States and the second non-Alaskan to win. Doug
    Swingley of Lincoln, Mont., won four times and Martin Buser, a
    Swiss native who has lived in Alaska more than two decades, became
    a U.S. citizen after winning his fourth Iditarod in 2002.
    Sorlie credited his team for the win. The dogs were chosen from
    a pool of 50 owned by himself, Andersen and fellow Norwegian Kjetil
    Backen, who placed third in '04 and served as an Iditarod handler
    this year.
    Sorlie plans to sit out the 2006 race, but said his nephew will
    be back.
    "This year was my time to take the best team," he said. "Next
    year will be for Bjornar."
    Dog teams will be coming into Nome for days. Fifteen mushers
    have scratched from the original field of 79.
    Two left the race Wednesday. Legally blind rookie Rachael
    Scdoris of Bend, Ore., quit at Eagle Island. Karen Ramstead of
    Perryvale, Alberta, dropped out at Unalakleet.

    APTV 03-17-05 0406EST
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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