Iditarod releases first round of mushers to sign up for 2021 race

The Iditarod restart in Willow, Alaska (KTUU)

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Iditarod has released the list of 22 mushers in the first round to sign up for the 2021 Iditarod. The initial signup, usually held in person at a musher's picnic, was virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign-ups began on June 6 and will continue through June 27th.

The list includes two rookies and two four-time champions.

Martin Buser and Jeff King are the two former champions.

The newcomers to The Last Great Race are Jennifer Campeau, of Canada, and Joanna Jargow, of Alaska.

Also signed up so far:

Paige Drobny, Alaska
Jason Campeau, Canada
Riley Dyche, Alaska
Dan Kaduce, Alaska
Ryne Olson, Alaska
Sebastien Dos Santos Borges, France
Dennis Kananowicz, Alaska
Jeff Deeter, Alaska
Michelle Phillips, Alaska
Matt Hall, Alaska
Ryan Redington, Alaska
Gunnar Johnson, Minn.
Brent Sass, Alaska
Linwood Fiedler, Alaska
Marcelle Fresineau, Canada
Karin Hendrickson, Alaska
Lev Shvarts, Alaska
Wade Marrs, Alaska

Not on the list: Four-time champion Dallas Seavey, who made a high-profile exit from the race after 2017 when it was announced that his dogs had tested positive for a banned substance. Seavey raced in Norway's Finnmarkslopet before spending last year as a race commentator.

This year, Seavey and his father, Mitch, himself a three-time champion, announced that they would combine their long-competitive kennels, and the younger Seavey would race, while the elder would sit out.

Neither of the race's last three champions has signed up for the race yet. Norwegian Thomas Waerner won in 2020, then spent more than two months awaiting a trip home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[RELATED: Iditarod champ Waerner arrives in Norway after hitching a ride home on historic plane]

2019's champion Peter Kaiser and Joar Leifseth Ulsom, who won in 2018, have not yet signed up for the race.

The Iditarod says race officials are working on a number of safety plans related to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes a Green/Yellow/Red risk level structure of guidelines.

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