No need to face the cold — you can now get into mushing virtually : NPR

For followers of the Iditarod, there is a strategy to stand up near the sled canine race with out ever going exterior: fantasy mushing. It is a collaboration between coder David Hunt and musher Danny Seavey.


Alaska’s well-known Iditarod sled canine race begins the primary week of March. B.J. Leiderman, who writes our theme music, will not be entered, however there’s a web site known as Fantasy Mushing, the place you get a fake pot of cash to spend on mushers you assume will do properly.

DAVID HUNT: You fill out a crew of seven mushers utilizing your obtainable money. And that forces you to get a pair good ones, get a number of in the midst of the pack, get some rookies after which attempt to choose that crimson lantern.

SIMON: The crimson lantern is the one that is available in final, so do not blame the canines. The voice you simply heard is that of David Hunt, who manages the location. He is what you’d name a mushing fan, although he is by no means seen Alaska exterior of a postcard or video display.

HUNT: I dwell right here near Paris, Texas, and bought launched to mushing, truly, within the fourth grade.

SIMON: That is the yr his trainer wrote the bib numbers for Iditarod mushers on items of paper.

HUNT: So we have been drawn a musher and bought to comply with it that yr by means of the race – and bought hooked.

SIMON: David Hunt is now 33, and he is discovered a strategy to mush along with his personal canines down in Texas.

HUNT: Usually, I run them on my bicycle or, you realize, a cart or one thing.

SIMON: However whereas David Hunt lives removed from the course of the Iditarod, his associate in Fantasy Mushing is way nearer.

DANNY SEAVEY: My title is Danny Seavey. I dwell in Seward, Alaska, and I am a third-generation canine musher.

SIMON: The Seavey household is a sled canine racing dynasty. His grandfather, Dan Sr., competed within the very first Iditarod race in 1973. His father, Mitch, received the race 3 times, and his brother Dallas has received 5 occasions.

SEAVEY: I am not fairly as loopy as my dad and brother. However I’ve run the Iditarod 3 times, and I really like working canines.

SIMON: David Hunt and Danny Seavey want to curiosity followers in all of the mushers, not simply the highest finishers. Danny Seavey says…

SEAVEY: We began the fantasy idea type of as a strategy to drive curiosity in all people else, the blokes who’re racing to not win, or they have been simply making an attempt to make it and so forth.

SIMON: The worth for every musher relies on various elements, together with recognition and former efficiency. You can not afford for all your seven picks to be high mushers, so it is advisable to choose some lesser-known ones and rookies.

SEAVEY: Which to take action properly includes having to go to that crew’s Fb or social media pages or blogs and attempt to do some little bit of analysis.

SIMON: Hunt and Seavey say that folks from all around the world take part, together with college lessons. Their website means that you can put collectively small teams to compete in opposition to folks you realize.

SEAVEY: I do know a variety of the folks that play use it as a foundation for their very own pleasant workplace swimming pools or bets type of like a March Insanity bracket.

SIMON: The location hosts fantasy competitions for seven races throughout Alaska, Minnesota and Norway. The Iditarod is the preferred. Hunt says participation in that fantasy race has grown considerably since 2017, when it was round 1,500.

HUNT: Final yr, we had 2,900 and a few, virtually 3,000.

SIMON: Seavey believes individuals who fantasy mush are fascinated concerning the rugged setting and harsh, difficult circumstances of sled canine racing, they usually need each canine and musher to do properly.

SEAVEY: The followers are rooting for everyone. They simply need all people to succeed.

SIMON: David Hunt hopes to make it as much as Alaska to see a race in individual someday. That fourth-grade trainer who sparked his enthusiasm for mushing within the first place…

HUNT: She thinks it is fairly neat that I am doing that and form of sharing, you realize, mushing with the following era.


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