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

For followers of the Iditarod, there is a method to stand up near the sled canine race with out ever going outdoors: 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, isn’t 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 suppose will do properly.

DAVID HUNT: You fill out a crew of seven mushers utilizing your accessible 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 purple lantern.

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

HUNT: I dwell right here near Paris, Texas, and acquired launched to mushing, really, 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 had been drawn a musher and acquired to comply with it that yr via the race – and acquired hooked.

SIMON: David Hunt is now 33, and he is discovered a method to mush together 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 accomplice in Fantasy Mushing is far 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, gained the race thrice, and his brother Dallas has gained 5 instances.

SEAVEY: I am not fairly as loopy as my dad and brother. However I’ve run the Iditarod thrice, and I like operating canines.

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

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

SIMON: The value for every musher is predicated on a variety of components, together with reputation and former efficiency. You can’t afford for your whole seven picks to be high mushers, so you have to choose some lesser-known ones and rookies.

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

SIMON: Hunt and Seavey say that individuals from everywhere in the world take part, together with faculty courses. Their web site permits you to put collectively small teams to compete towards folks you realize.

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

SIMON: The positioning hosts fantasy competitions for seven races throughout Alaska, Minnesota and Norway. The Iditarod is the most well-liked. 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 in regards to 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 only need everyone to succeed.

SIMON: David Hunt hopes to make it as much as Alaska to see a race in particular person in the future. 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 sort of sharing, you realize, mushing with the subsequent technology.


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