03/07/2012 04:50 pm ET Updated May 07, 2012

Team of Olympic Champions Brings Up Rear of Iditarod Sled Dog Race

Iditarod rookie Matt Failor has a message for the Flying Tomato. He wants the red-headed Olympic snowboarder Shaun White to know there's a young dog driving deep into the Alaska wilderness named for him.

Failor, 29, hoped to let White know about his elite canine, who's racing in the so-called Super Bowl of sled-dog races, before gliding out of Willow and into his first-ever Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a nearly 1,000-mile late winter race across Alaska. But Failor isn't a part of the Twitter generation, a must, he discovered, if you're trying to track down the wild-haired snowboarder.

Shaun White the canine, who also has red hair, didn't have an appetite for breakfast after pulling in here early Tuesday morning. Horses had wandered close to another dog team sleeping near lakeside trees, and Failor's dogs yelped, yipped and bounced at the sight -- an Iditarod equivalent of a noisy, early-morning rooster call signaling the start of another day.

Rosey Fletcher, Kikkan Randall, Lindsey Vonn and Michael Phelps, the largest male in the litter born during the Olympics, also weren't interested in morning snacks. It's a common obstacle with puppies, Failor said. They don't always want to eat when a musher needs them to and on Tuesday many preferred sleep to the beef-and-kibble gruel Failor had prepared.

Read the whole story and see photos from the Iditarod Trail only at Alaska Dispatch.