FILE - In this March 13, 2019, file photo, Jessie Royer passes icebergs in open water on Norton Sound as she approaches Nome, Alaska, in the Iditarod trail sled dog race. As the new head of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Rob Urbach will have to overcome dwindling sponsorships, dog deaths, a recent dog-doping scandal and animal rights protests. With all that drama, it seems fitting Urbach was introduced to the sport by soap opera actress Susan Lucci. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)

Former head of USA Triathlon takes helm of the Iditarod

July 01, 2019 - 2:37 pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — As the new head of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Rob Urbach will have to overcome dwindling sponsorships, dog deaths, a recent dog-doping scandal and animal rights protests.

With all that drama, it seems fitting Urbach became hooked on the sport thanks to soap opera actress Susan Lucci.

Lucci, who starred on "All My Children," and Urbach struck up a conversation on a 1999 flight to Anchorage, where she was taking part in the Iditarod's ceremonial start and he was going skiing.

Urbach acknowledges the challenges for the Iditarod, but he says he's faced significant tests in his previous roles, including as CEO of USA Triathlon.

He says there's an opportunity to put out some fires for the Iditarod, while also protecting the race for the next 50 years.

AP Editorial Categories: