Iditarod loses another major sponsor

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© Anchorage Daily News

Thomas Waerner mushes into Unalakleet, Alaska, Sunday, March 15, 2020 during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – One of the Iditarod’s top sponsors is dropping financial support, the second major sponsor with Alaska ties to sever relationships with the sled dog race this month.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed Monday that the Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership will no longer sponsor the race. The dealership for 30 years has been one of the race’s principal partners and annually presents the race winner with a new pickup at the finish line in Nome.

A statement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, noted the parent company did not sponsor the Iditarod.

“Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Center – an independently owned and operated dealership – had been a sponsor of the race. We understand and can confirm the dealership will no longer continue sponsoring the race. As such, FCA and the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram logos will no longer be associated with the race,” the statement said.

Chuck Talksy, a spokesman for the Anchorage dealership, initially said they planned to sponsor the race again next year, finances permitting.

Later, when informed of Chrysler’s statement, he said, “That’s kind of news to us. As a franchisee, we are subject to various controls."

An email to Iditarod officials seeking comment was not immediately returned

The announcement came as mushers are making the final push for Nome in this year’s race. The nearly 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race started March 8 in Willow with 57 mushers. Six have withdrawn.