ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Mushers and their dogs are taking a leisurely jaunt through Anchorage in the ceremonial start of Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The 1,000-mile race kicked off Saturday in a festive mood as 66 teams posed with fans and sailed their sleds 11 miles on streets covered with trucked-in snow.
The event comes ahead of the real, competitive start of the race Sunday in Willow 50 miles to the north.
From there, mushers and their dog teams begin making their way through unforgiving wilderness toward the finish line in Nome on Alaska's western coast.
The winner will get a new truck and $50,400. The rest of the $600,000 purse will be split between the next 29 mushers to cross the finish line.