12 sled dogs pack into a Prius for the start of a race

Courtesy: Julie Stricker
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TWO RIVERS, Alaska (KTUU) - What do you do if you're a musher and your dog truck breaks down before the start of a race? If you're Jacob Witkop, you pile 12 sled dogs into the back of your Toyota Prius and strap your sled to the roof.

Julie Stricker witnessed Witkop come to the start line; she says he told her the dogs were raised as pets and are very well socialized and well behaved. According to Stricker, the dogs looked great stepping out of the Prius.

The Two Rivers Dog Mushers posted the picture on its Facebook page. Some people recounted that although rare to see today, the idea of a dog team packed into a car was not uncommon in years gone by.

Witkop's unconventional dog transport rolled up Friday morning to the start line of the Two Rivers 200/100, a mid-distance sled dog race that runs from Chatanika Lodge to Pleasant Valley Store.

Former champion Will Rhodes won the Two Rivers 200 Saturday evening around 5 p.m. after leaving 45 minutes ahead of four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey. Mackey scratched from the race and returned to the Pleasant Valley Store. On social media, Two Rivers Dog Mushers said he had scratched for the good of team.

The race boasts a competitive field of 16 mushers including top-ten Iditarod finisher Aliy Zirkle, Yukon Quest veteran Richie Beattie and Iditarod veteran Jeff Deeter. All of those mushers and Witkop have left the race’s third checkpoint.

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