An Iditarod in Arizona
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    “An Iditarod in Arizona,” New Era, Aug. 2011, 38

    An Iditarod in Arizona

    So your first question is “What’s an Iditarod?” Well, it’s a famous sled-dog team race held each year in Alaska. Your next question is “An Iditarod in sunny Arizona?” The answer to this question has more to it.

    For the past six years the young men and Scouts from four different stakes in central Arizona have participated in a modified Iditarod race at their annual winter campout in Flagstaff, Arizona. Only instead of dog power, these sleds use Scout power. This past January, 375 young men were divided into teams of about 10. They pulled sleds over and through snow, mud, and dirt to the finish line. Each team built a sled equipped with both skis and wheels to handle any conditions. The course was two-and-a-quarter miles long with 10 activity stations along the way where Scouts competed in activities like archery, log sawing, and target ax throwing. The winning time along with the individual scores in the events determined the winner.

    Friday night before the race, camp was set up, dinner prepared and eaten, and campers gathered around a campfire for a genuine fireside, where they heard an inspiring message from a member of the Peoria Arizona North Stake presidency. Saturday morning two teams at a time set out every 15 minutes to begin the race. An awards ceremony rounded out the day of fun and team building.

    Brett Wood from the Sierra Verde Ward said, “The Iditarod is so awesome. The race course competition challenges you mentally and physically. It teaches you teamwork. It is hard but rewarding.”

    “We really enjoyed the Iditarod,” added JC May from the winning Daisy Mountain Ward. “It is a time for us to get to know each other and work as a team. Everyone pulled together and worked hard.”

    Photographs courtesy of Steven Elcock