Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

Po Box 831
Kotzebue, AK 99752

Team Baker Iditarod Reports

Updates on Team Baker during the 2014-2016 Iditarod Sled Dog Race from Myron Angstman.

Ahead of Schedule and the FBI

Ashley Kelly

Aily Zirkle has  jumped into the lead of the race  by not stopping at Kaltag.  At this moment, she appears to be stopped about 30 miles up the trail  with Martin  Buser closing in from behind.    Buser’s travel times have been slower, and  he will have a hard time  keeping up with Zirkle in the days ahead.  He also faces strong  challenges from behind  with fast moving teams now resting in Kaltag.   The two fastest runs from Nulato to  Kaltag belonged to Nic Petit and Sonny Lindner who announced that this is his last race.  He probably made that decision  after bouncing off  a tree in Rainy Pass.

Earlier it was suggested  that by Sunday night the contenders could be narrowed to three.  Because the race is  significantly  ahead of schedule, that date can be moved up to Saturday night.  Tune in here tonight for the straight  scoop.

These twice daily reports might be  the only Iditarod news for a few readers, but obviously  the amount of Iditarod news available to fans is astounding.  At any  moment, a fan  can access the tracker  and learn the precise location of any team, and the speed they are moving. There are eyewitness accounts of the race posted  throughout the day, and video reports are common.  The contrast between the current coverage and early years in dramatic.  Radio and newspaper reports were notoriously  late reporting race status  well into the 1980’s.  In Bethel we would hear a radio report in the morning that often had locations of mushers reported the previous  afternoon,  and  because teams were not required to sign out of checkpoints,  the reports  often had some musher parked in a checkpoint when actually  he  was  50-75 miles down the trail.  Ham radio was the  official  communication network of the race, and  of course the lone operator  at each checkpoint had to  sleep once in a while.  I remember serving as race judge   in 1980 at Unalakleet, where I was stationed in a  room with the checker and the ham  operator.  The radio man lived on coffee, provided by the race, and peanut butter sandwiches the entire race.  We were a ways from the village store and  one time the radio operator  walked over to replenish  his groceries (bread, peanut butter). While he was gone an urgent request came over the  radio asking for the location  of a particular team which I knew was parked outside.  I knew there were fairly strict  Federal rules about who could operate a ham radio, but this was important info, so after a few unanswered calls I picked up the  microphone and answered the question.  There was dead silence on the  radio for  several moments.  Finally  someone asked me to confirm my call sign.  I responded that I didn’t have one.   More silence.  Finally  the operator returned  from the store and I found a reason to tour the checkpoint.  I can only imagine the chatter while I was gone.

When I returned I was told of the possible penalties for talking on ham radio without a license. It was suggested  that Federal prison was a real possibility.  I didn’t talk on the radio again, but I never went to prison. I guess at -20 with a stiff breeze, the FBI didn’t want to  travel to Unalakleet to arrest me.