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In Nikolai: New Generations

The Iditarod has long been a family affair. This year, a handful of young mushers are following their fathers on the trail: sometimes, literally.

At the Nikolai checkpoint on Tuesday night, our race reporter Laureli spent a little time with Quinn Iten (of Kotzebue, Alaska) and Dallas Seavey (of Seward).

Quinn’s father Ed Iten is an Iditarod veteran. Ed’s sitting out the 2010 race, allowing his 18-year-old son – one of the youngest Iditarod mushers ever – to hit the trail. Quinn was running on little sleep by the time he hit Nikolai, but he still shared his impressions of the race and of his dog team:

22-year-old Dallas Seavey has competed in several Iditarods before, and he’s sharing the trail with his father Mitch Seavey, the 2004 Iditarod champion. Dallas was enthusiastic about his race prospects and says he definitely intends to keep mushing at the forefront of his future:

At time of writing, Quinn Iten was in 39th position and resting in Nikolai (he arrived at 7:35pm on Tuesday); Dallas Seavey was in 20th position, resting in McGrath (he arrived at 11:48pm Tuesday).

UPDATE (as of 2pm Wednesday):

Hear one more “next-generation” musher! This is Michael Williams, Jr. of Akiak, Alaska. His father – Mike, Sr. – is a longtime veteran of the Iditarod, but he’s stepping aside in 2010 to allow his son to take to the trail. This is Mike, Jr.’s first Iditarod:

At the time of writing, Michael Williams, Jr. is in 32nd position; he arrived into the Takotna checkpoint at 9:15am on Wednesday morning with 15 dogs.

Correction: Our original post incorrectly stated Quinn Iten’s age as 17 years old. He is 18.