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 organized as the “Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic” for a decade until Tesoro Corporation became a title sponsor. Since 2008, the Alaska National Guard has continuously held the top sponsor position and most recently became the title sponsor. The Iron Dog is now enjoying a strong resurgence in awareness, attendance and participation by more than 20 communities across Alaska. Since 2015 the Anchorage community has been involved in a two day downtown start event. Kicking off Friday with the Flying Iron show and continuing into Saturday with the Pro Class start and a second Flying Iron Show.
The Iron Dog course is now over 2,000 miles, from Big Lake to Nome and finishing in Fairbanks, making it the World’s longest snowmobile race. Participants must traverse in 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 through seminars, and a face to face opportunity for the fans and media to meet with notable Iron Dog athletes.
Iron Dog Routes over the years
|2015 Forward||Anchorage – Big Lake – Nome – North Pole –Fairbanks||2,050*|
|2011 – 2014||Big Lake – Nome – North Pole –Fairbanks||2,031|
|2006 – 2010||Big Lake – Nome – Fairbanks||1,971|
|2005||Wasilla – Nome – Wasilla||2,000|
|1998 – 2004||Wasilla – Nome – Fairbanks||1,971|
|1993 – 1997||Wasilla – Nome – Wasilla||2,000|
|1984 – 1992||Wasilla - Nome||1,049|
|*19 miles of caution flag riding, 2,031 racing miles.|
Race Event Start includes fundraising activities, vendor booths and a patriotic celebration start. Nome marks the half way point for the racers and a finish for the recreational class. The Nome Halfway Banquet brings the race participants and fans together with celebration awards, tales from the trail, 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 banquet celebration is held the evening of the Finish. The Awards Banquet is now a reception for sponsors, racers and family held in local venue to present awards.
Race participation has been averaging 30-35 Pro Class teams with an average of 18-22 Recreational Class riders.
Iron Dog is a proud leader in the snowmobile sports community promoting snowmobile safety and outdoor education through trade shows, seminars and community events.