BIG LAKE, Alaska -- The howling raaaap, raaaaap, raaap of the tireless engines of iron dogs filled the air Sunday as the world's longest, wildest and craziest snowmachine race once again launched toward Nome.
On hand to officially send off the 70 drivers entered in the 2009 Tesoro Iron Dog competition was Gov. Sarah Palin, whose husband, Todd, was one of those hitting the trail.
He appeared to be comfortably back in the snowsuit, body armor and helmet of a snowmachine racer after having spent the fall criss-crossing the country in finely tailored suits as the escort for Sarah on her failed bid to become vice president.
Asked to pick which attire suited him best, Todd gracefully sidestepped and said he would prefer Helly Hansen rain gear smeared with salmon slime. One of his jobs, aside from being a periodic oil field worker on Alaska's North Slope, is commercial fishing in Bristol Bay.
Another of his jobs is racing Iron Dog.
He and partner Scott Davis won the race in 2007. It was Todd's fourth victory and Davis's seventh, but the first time the duo had ever won together.
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