Sarah Koonce, left, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Greg Czarnecki, of Wasilla, Alaska, are among volunteers stuffing bales of hay inside plastic bags in Anchorage, Alaska, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. About 1,500 bales will be flown to checkpoints along the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which begins March 7, and will be put down on the snow and ice so the canine participants in the race have a warm place to sleep. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen) - Anchorage, Alaska
'Straw drop' volunteer event is a signal the Iditarod is near
Volunteers slung bales of hay onto a table, where they were swiftly stuffed inside blue plastic bags, twirled and shut with twist ties before being dragged off to waiting pallets.
The 60 or so people in safety vests Thursday in Anchorage weren’t participating in some type of agricultural competition. Instead, their efforts will help ensure that the canine participants in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have some place warm and dry to bed down when their mushers stop along the 1,000-mile trail between Anchorage and Nome.
The so-called straw drop is the first volunteer event of the Iditarod race, said Mark Nordman, the race director and marshal. More event follow next week, including people helping prepare shipments of food for both the dogs and the mushers to the checkpoints.
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