The rise of stage races
Finally, a new course has appeared more recently (1996), based on the European model of long distance races in stages (created with the Alpirod in 1988), the International Rocky Mountain Stage Stop Sled Dog Race, which takes place in January in Wyoming. This 12-stage competition with night rests or bivouacs and in which certain dogs may be left to rest during certain stages, is without a doubt the type of competition that is most likely to be developed because of its way of respecting the dogs and more effective prevention by veterinary teams, unlike what happens in a long distance race with check points.
As a result other legends were born, other great names appeared such as Joe Redington, Sr., “Father of the Iditarod,” “Doc” Lombard, the veterinarian, Eddy Streeper (multiple champion in the world of speed), Rick Swenson (six time winner of the Iditarod), Libbie Riddles (first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985, elected athlete of the year in the United States) and Suzan Butcher (four-time winner of the Iditarod). Alaskan resident and French doctor Jacques Philip is listed among these names because of his numerous victories in stage races and because he and his famous dog Byron also led a team of dogs at an altitude of more than 6,000 meters (1,830 feet) on top of Mount McKinley!
All of these great competitors remain in the hearts of today’s mushers.