MEARNS musher Wattie McDonald is gearing up to take part in the gruelling Iditarod sled dog race in 2012, and as the only UK entrant, he has attracted the attention of a Hollywood producer.
Wattie told this newspaper that he has received an email from a television producer in Beverly Hills to discuss the possibility of becoming one of ten featured mushers in a ten-episode documentary series.
He said: “This is such an exciting opportunity for me and it just adds to the fantastic journey that the Iditarod has been for me over the last few years.
“It will give me the chance to show everyone a close up and personal insight into the preparation needed for this huge undertaking. It is very difficult for anyone to take part in this world famous event due to many factors, my main obstacle is logistics, being from the UK, while the race takes place in Alaska.”
Wattie took part in a conference call over the weekend with the producers, from Seymour Productions, which he said was very positive. The programme will be following ten mushers over a period of several months, documenting their preparations for the race and their daily routines, focussing on training schedules and the care of the dogs.
The cameras will then follow the mushers on the famous trail during their race across Alaska in the Iditarod next March.
A producer from the company said: “Wattie is such a huge attraction in Alaska. He brings a huge part of Scotland over and they are known for their kilts and the bagpipes at the start line in downtown Anchorage.
“We also feel he will bring an extra angle to the series due to the extreme lengths he has to go to just to get here for the race.
“There is an increasing interest in the Iditarod, which is billed the toughest race on earth. Although the series will be produced initially for mainstream US television, we will be marketing this production worldwide.”
Wattie added: “I am just pinching myself as this opportunity will help in my search for sponsorship which im still seeking to allow me to take part in the race, as this will increase the exposure that I could offer potential sponsors. I believe it will also be of huge benefit to Scotland as a whole with some of the early filming possibly taking place around town here in Stonehaven and within Fetteresso Forest where I usually train my dogs over the winter months.”
Wattie has competed in the gruelling 1150 mile Iditarod sled dog race twice in 2010 and 2011, finishing 46th and 37th respectively.
For further details about Watties adventure or to learn about the Iditarod you can visit www.wattiesgreatrace.com