The first Iron Dog event started in 1984, in Big Lake following the Northern Route of the Historic Iditarod Trail to Nome. The event began as the “Iron Dog Iditarod”, but the name was quickly changed the next year to the “Gold Rush Classic”, in 1990 the race was recognized as the “Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic” for a decade until Tesoro Corporation became a title sponsor, thus recognizing the event as the “Tesoro Iron Dog”. Today, we simply refer to the race and ourselves as The Iron Dog. The event was sponsored by the Alaska National Guard from 2009-2016 which allowed the Iron Dog to grow significantly.
Today’s Iron Dog course distance is over 2,000 miles, starting in Big Lake with a halfway stop in Nome and finishing in Fairbanks, making it the World’s longest snowmobile race. Participants cover some of Alaska’s the most remote and rugged terrain while confronting some the harshest winter conditions. Survival skills are essential, making it the World’s toughest snowmobile race. All teams in race classes are a team of two persons and two snowmobiles for safety.
The Iron Dog offers a non-competitive trail class giving adventure seekers an opportunity to travel 1,100 miles on the Northern Route of Historic Iditarod Trail to Nome. These teams of two or more travel the same race trail as the Pro Class Teams.
Iron Dog, Inc. brings a World Class Event across the State of Alaska each February impacting over twenty five Alaskan communities beginning with the “Iron Dog Safety EXPO”. This EXPO provides a unique winter recreational trade show that brings in industry vendors, promotes snowmobile safety and education, and a face to face opportunity for the fans and media to meet with notable Iron Dog athletes.
In 2015 Iron Dog began hosting a downtown Anchorage Ceremonial Start. Along with the race start, there are two X-Game style Flying Iron Exhibition shows, the Iron Pup parade, Memory lane featuring vintage snowmachines and so much more! Sunday morning racers have the official ReStart on Big Lake where the race officially begins and racers depart the start line at high race speeds. Nome marks the half way point for the racers and a finish for the trail class. The Nome Halfway Banquet brings the race participants and fans together with celebration awards, tales from the trail, slide show presentations, and prizes. Pro Class participant’s race into Fairbanks chasing one of the many contingency awards based on the fastest team between two check points crossing the finish line. Teams are held in the City of Tanana before Fairbanks in order to have the teams cross the Finish line in a two hour window for spectator viewing. A finishing reception celebration is held the evening of the Finish. Iron Dog Headquarters during the race are located at the Westmark Hotel in downtown Fairbanks. The awards reception is held at the Westmark Saturday evening of the finish.
Race participation typically averages (35) thirty-five Pro Class teams with an average of (20) twenty or more Trail Class riders for a total number of about 90-100 riders on the trail each year.
Iron Dog is a proud leader in the snowmobile sports community promoting snowmobile safety and outdoor education through trade shows, seminars and community events.
Iron Dog, Inc. is a 501(c)(7) not for profit Alaska corporation.
Federal TIN/EIN # 92-0096382
Alaska Gaming Permit #79