THE IDITAROD TRAIL DOG SLED RACE - Comprehension/ Sports ... THE IDITAROD TRAIL DOG SLED RACE ... Answers toTHE IDITAROD TRAIL DOG SLED RACE 1. c. It is held every year

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  • Reading Comprehension/ Sports Name ___________________________________________ Date _________________

    ____________________________

    2007 abcteach.com

    THE IDITAROD TRAIL DOG SLED RACE The Iditarod is a dog sled race that is held annually in Alaska in March. Dog sled racing is a very competitive sport, and the Iditarod is considered the most competitive evaluation of mushers and their teams. In a dog sled race, a group of dogs pull a sled across the snow, guided by a person who stands on the sled behind the dogs. The race may be short (called a sprint race) or long. Taking about ten days to cover a distance of over 1150 miles (1,852 km), the Iditarod is classified as a long distance race.

    Mushing refers to any type of dog pulling any kind of transport across the snow. Historically, mushing was used to move materials (including the mail) over otherwise snowbound terrain. Dog sled racing is a type of mushing, and the people who guide the dogs are called mushers. Its possible that the word mush comes from the French word for go! (marche), and many people think of mushers as calling out Mush! Mush! to their teams, but most Iditarod mushers today use English, and call out Hike! instead. Dogs are harnessed to the sled. How the dogs are harnessed and how many dogs are used to pull the sled across the snow varies depending on how much is being pulled and how far, the type of terrain, and the reason that the dog is pulling. If the load is heavy, more dogs are used. If the terrain is rough but generally treeless, the dogs are harnessed in a fan formation so that they have a wider range of movement. In the Iditarod, a team of twelve to sixteen dogs pulls a single person for a long distance over a specified path as quickly as possible. Iditarod teams are harnessed in pairs to the sled. The type of dog chosen for dog sledding also depends on the load and the purpose. Some people believe that Alaskan malamutes are the best suited for dog sled racing. Alaskan malamutes are remarkably powerful and have good stamina, which makes them natural choices for extremely cold conditions. Other people feel that crossbred dogs, chosen specifically for a mixture of speed and temperament, make the best sled dogs. Although the Iditarod is closely monitored by veterinarians to make sure that the dogs are healthy, there are no specific rules about the types of dogs used. A group of poodles have even run in the Iditarod! The Iditarod is not an easy race for the mushers or the dogs. Competitors face blizzards, wild animals, and many other life-threatening risks. Although the race spans several days, the winning margin can be quite narrow (one year, the winner was only one second ahead of the next competitor!), which makes the race stressful for both the mushers and the dogs. The cost of preparation for the race and the race itself can be very high, higher even than the first place prize. However, the sense of triumph over the elements, the pleasures of teamwork with the dogs and camaraderie with other enthusiasts, and the other rewards of winning are often more than enough motivation for some passionate dog sledders.

  • Reading Comprehension/ Sports Name ___________________________________________ Date _________________

    ____________________________

    2007 abcteach.com

    Answer the questions about THE IDITAROD TRAIL DOG SLED RACE 1. When and where is the Iditarod held?

    a. It is held every year in March in Iditarod. b. It is held in alternate years in Iditarod. c. It is held every year in March in Alaska. d. It is a special event this year in Nome, Alaska.

    2. What is the significance of mush, in terms of dog sled racing?

    a. It refers to the quality of the snow the dogs race across. b. It is believed to come from the French word for go! c. It is the word the mushers call to the dogs, to tell them to hurry. d. It is a synonym for dog sled racing.

    3. According to the article, what are factors in deciding how to harness the dogs?

    a. type of race, size of the dogs, weather, and danger b. mushers, speed, temperament, and endurance c. weight, distance, ground quality, and purpose d. fan formation or pairs

    4. What does the article mention as factors in choosing dogs for a dog sled race?

    a. strength, endurance, swiftness, and mood b. weight, stamens, assuredness, and high tempers c. warmth, friendliness, familiar with terrain, and enthusiasm d. strength, competitive nature, tirelessness, and warmth

    5. What are some of the reasons mentioned for entering this race?

    a. danger, tension, and expense b. wild animals, the beauty of nature, passion c. working with other mushers, winning the grand prize d. cooperation, friendship, and satisfying results

    6. Which of the following are true about dog sled racing (check all that apply):

    a. It is very competitive. b. It is challenging for the mushers, but not difficult for the dogs. c. It is not difficult for the mushers, but it is challenging for the dogs. d. It can cover short distances. e. It can cover long distances. f. Dogs race freely at their own pace.

    7. Would you like to participate in or watch a race like the Iditarod? Why or why not?

    ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

  • Reading Comprehension/ Sports Name ___________________________________________ Date _________________

    ____________________________

    2007 abcteach.com

    Answers toTHE IDITAROD TRAIL DOG SLED RACE

    1. c. It is held every year in March in Alaska. The clue word for when is annually. Although the race passes through Iditarod, the town for which it is named, and the race concludes in Nome, the article merely states that the race is held in Alaska, and so this is the correct answer.

    2. b. It is believed to come from the French word for go! There is no mention of snow quality; according to the article, the mushers call Hike! (which means go, not hurry); mushing is dog sled pulling as a whole, not only racing.

    3. c. weight, distance, ground quality, and purpose These are the only answers all specifically mentioned in the article (how much is being pulled and how far, the type of terrain, and the reason that the dog is pulling)

    4. a. strength, endurance, swiftness, and mood These are the only answers all specifically mentioned in the article. (remarkably powerful and have good staminaa mixture of speed and temperament)

    5. d. cooperation, friendship, and satisfying results Danger, tension, and expense are disadvantages; the beauty of nature and passion are not mentioned; the grand prize is not listed as a motivation (as the costs exceed the prize); the reasons in d are the only ones specifically stated in the article (teamwork with the dogs and camaraderie with other enthusiasts, and the other rewards of winning).

    6. a, d, and e. The race is difficult for both mushers and dogs, eliminating B and C; dogs are harnessed, eliminating F.

    7. Answers will vary; accept reasonable answers.

    Writing Prompt:

    This is recommended as a writing prompt for advanced students, and can be used as a class discussion topic for all students:

    The article mentions the rewards of winning. What are these rewards? In the case of the Iditarod, rewards are both intangible (feeling of success, triumph over nature, etc.) and tangible (book deals, speaking tours, etc. for the winners). Do competitors who dont win first prize still get the rewards of winning? At what point do the risks outweigh the benefits? In what way do the risks make the success more valuable?

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