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updated: 3/2/2013 2:24 PM

Iditarod kicks off with ceremonial start

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  • Aliy Zirkle feeds her dog team in Unalakleet, Alaska, last year.

      Aliy Zirkle feeds her dog team in Unalakleet, Alaska, last year.
    Associated Press

  • Musher Bill Pinkham collects hot water during his stop in Takotna, Alaska, last year.

      Musher Bill Pinkham collects hot water during his stop in Takotna, Alaska, last year.
    Associated Press

  • Dallas Seavey pulls in to the checkpoint in Unalakleet, Alaska, last year.

      Dallas Seavey pulls in to the checkpoint in Unalakleet, Alaska, last year.

  • Celeste Davis moves through the Takotna, Alaska checkpoint on March 12, 2010.

      Celeste Davis moves through the Takotna, Alaska checkpoint on March 12, 2010.

 
Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- 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, the 16-dog teams will 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.

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