The Mat-Su Valley is home to many Iditarod mushers, and several of them are former champions of the world-famous race. But you don't have to spend years training for the race to experience what it's like to be an Iditarod musher, and you certainly don't have to wait for winter.

Many mushers in the Mat-Su Valley offer kennel tours throughout the year, where you learn what it takes to run the Last Great Race. These interactive tours are not only fun and exciting, but they are educational as well. From hands-on demonstrations about the sleds, the winter gear and the equipment, these kennel tours are fully immersive - you'll feel like you are ready to run the race! Visitors get to mingle with the four-legged athletes that make the 1,100-mile trip from Willow Lake to Nome each March as the mushers explain why and how they train for this grueling race across Alaska. Several kennel tours also feature cart rides, in which a musher hooks up a team of huskies to an ATV, and you get to experience the thrill of being pulled across the trails.

If a full kennel tour isn't an option, you can always stop in at the Iditarod Trail Headquarters in Wasilla. During the summer months, visitors have a chance to meet Raymie Redington, son of the "Father of the Iditarod" Joe Redington Sr., and take a quick cart ride with his team of huskies. An informative video and race artifacts are on display as well.

Test your hand at mushing this fall with a stop at one of the many Iditarod kennels in the Mat-Su Valley. Just don't get too hooked - you may end up as a musher yourself!