IDITAROD SPONSOR

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska bank has joined the world's most famous sled dog race as a major sponsor.

Northrim Bank's entry in Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race fills a vacuum left earlier this year when Wells Fargo decided to drop its longtime sponsorship.

Iditarod and Northrim officials declined Friday to disclose the dollar amount of Northrim's support.

But it's significant enough for the Anchorage-based bank to earn a spot as a "Lead Dog" sponsor, the second-highest tier among four sponsorship levels.

When Wells Fargo terminated its sponsorship, Iditarod officials blamed animal rights groups like PETA for pressuring corporate backers outside Alaska.

PETA has said it alerted Wells Fargo that five dogs connected to this year's race died, bringing the total dog deaths to more than 150 in the Iditarod's history.

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