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A special supplement Sunday, February 23, 2014

Iditarod 2014

Your local guide to the 42nd running of ‘The Last Great Race on Earth’


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IDITAROD 2014

FEBRUARY 23, 2014


OFFICIAL RESTART

LAST GREAT RACE

Willow survives restart scare T hanks in large part to a Valley-based construction outfit, the official restart of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will remain in Willow this year.

BY GREG JOHNSON Frontiersman.com

Concerns over unsafe trail conditions, especially from the top of Rainy Pass to Nikolai, prompted the Iditarod Trail Committee Board of Directors to consider moving the restart to Fairbanks. After meeting Feb. 17, the board decided to keep the March 2 restart in Willow, said Stan Hooley, the committee’s executive director. “We think we have the ability through a combination of heavy equipment that is going to be brought into the equation … and our trailbreaking crew that we can make for a safe trail,” Hooley said. “The reality of it is, if you went out onto that trail today, you’d say you can’t run the Iditarod over that. We’re very confident this equipment will transform the trail into something passable.” That equipment comes courtesy of Cruz Construction, Hooley said. Cruz Construction President Dave Cruz has offered to use his equipment to groom the trails, essentially transforming them from the hard-packed ice they are now to more of a snowy surface. “It will literally transform an icy trail into something that resembles snow,” Hooley said. “It’s equipment we haven’t had access to before.” Cruz said hosting the official restart is a Willow and Mat-Su tradition, one he didn’t want to see interrupted. “For 10 days in March, everybody kind of stops what they’re FEBRUARY 23, 2014

Frontiersman file photo

Fans of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have something to cheer about with a recent decision to not move the official restart from Willow this year.

doing and focuses on that race,” Cruz said. “I certainly don’t want to see that leaving from Willow.” Building and grooming winter trails is something his company has plenty of experience with, Cruz said, adding that the current conditions on parts of the trail leaving Willow are not good for mushing. “It’s very hard-packed and very rough right now,” he said. “The grooming equipment has the capabilities to break up and reprocess that and lays it

back out.” For now, Cruz said he’s in a holding pattern hoping the weather will turn and leave some fresh snow on the trail; however, “we’re prepared to take care of it if it doesn’t.” The donation of Cruz Construction’s services was a main factor in keeping the restart in Willow, Hooley said. “Had he not been willing to do this, it’s safe to say we’d probably be restarting this race in Fairbanks.” IDITAROD 2014

After weeks of speculation about the potential for the restart to move to Fairbanks, folks in Willow are grateful and relieved they will play host to the restart again this year, said Jim Huston, president of the Willow Chamber of Commerce. “There are a lot of events, and it would be a large negative impact to the community (to move the restart),” he said. “Bed and breakfasts are full, gas stations get extra business and people of the community always have concessions

selling lunches to the people and such at the restart.” Besides, the official Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race restart is Willow’s annual 15 minutes in the international spotlight, Huston said. “It’s our one day of fame and fortune,” he said. Huston also agreed with Hooley with the assessment that, as they are now, the trails are unsafe for mushers and their dogs. “We have a great trail system in Willow, but Mother Nature’s got to bless it,” he said. There are 16 inches of snow on the trails now, but “it’s all hard snow, icy and crusty. We live out there on those trails regularly recreating, and we have so many mushers in Willow. It’s termed the ‘Dog Mushing Capital of the World.’ I know the mushers are concerned about the safety of the dogs and mushers.” Keeping the restart in Willow was always the preferred option, Hooley said, but looking out for the safety of the dogs and mushers is paramount. “From a traditional standpoint, in an ideal situation, we want to run as much of the Iditarod on this section of the Iditarod Trail as possible,” he said. “That doesn’t mean Fairbanks wouldn’t be a good and viable option, but keeping it here is a less challenging situation.” Now that a decision has been made, the final countdown to the March 2 restart is officially on, Hooley said. “Full speed ahead,” he said. “We were prepared to go to Fairbanks if need be, but we’re confident we can make a safe trail.” n Page 3


LAST GREAT RACE

O

MEET THE MUSHERS

f the 70 mushers entered in this year’s 42nd running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 20 hail from the Mat-Su.

That’s 28.5 percent of the hopeful entrants in what’s been billed as the “Last Great Race on Earth.” Of those Valley mushers, 11 are from the Willow area, which lends credibility to that community’s claim as the “Dog Mushing Capital of the World.” Following are biographies of those Valley mushers, courtesy of the Iditarod Trail Committee. These, along with biographies of all 70 mushers, can be found at Iditarod.com.

MARTIN BUSER

Entrant: No. 2 Hometown: Big Lake

Biography Born in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 1958, Martin became fascinated with sled dogs while still a teen. He came to Alaska in 1979 to enhance his knowledge of care and training of sled dogs. He Buser began working and training with longtime Alaskan mushers Earl and Natalie Norris and ran his first Iditarod in 1980. Martin and wife Kathy Chapoton reside in Big Lake, where the family owns and manages Happy Trails Kennel. Their sons, Nikolai and Rohn, both named after Iditarod checkpoints, have been involved with dogs at various times in their lives. Nikolai currently resides in Seattle. Rohn lives near the kennel and is currently an integral part of the kennel operation. Rohn completed his first Iditarod in 2008 as a senior in high school. Martin spends a great deal of time speaking in schools on the humanitarian care of animals and the spirit of the Iditarod. A favorite celebrity of the children of Alaska, Martin treats them with surprise visits from his dogs and puppies. Martin runs the race each year with his dogs to test the success of their breeding, training and physical endurance. He regards his racers as true competitive athletes and prides his team on its longevity and spirit of competition. Says Martin, “I run the Iditarod to prove that my dogs bred, trained and raced by Happy Trails Kennels are the best amongst the world’s Page 4

long-distance athletes.” For nine years, Martin’s 2002 team held the record for the Fastest Iditarod by completing the race in 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds. As tribute to his treatment of his racers, Martin was awarded the coveted Leonhard Seppala Award in 1988, 1993, 1995 and again in 1997 for the most humanitarian care of his dogs. The award was named for the most famous Alaskan musher who ran the longest and most dangerous stretch of the 1925 674-mile diphtheria serum run from Nenana to Nome, which saved hundreds of lives. Following Martin’s 2002 Iditarod victory, the process for his becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States was completed under the burled monument. He then turned around in Nome and made the trip from Nome to Big Lake with his family by snowmachine. Upon completion of the 2005 Iditarod after a woodworking accident four days prior to the race start resulting in the amputation of a part of his finger, he was awarded both the Sportsmanship and Most Inspirational awards by his fellow mushers. Martin is an honorary member of Rotary. He is always involved with some project around the kennel or house. While he and Kathy moved into the retirement home that Martin built, they are still working on finishing all the details — your typical Alaskan self-built home that is never quite finished. In the summer, Martin and his family give tours of their working kennel. The tour begins with a DVD trip from Anchorage to Nome narrated by Buser and includes his unique anecdotal stories gathered over 23 Iditarods. Visitors are offered a glimpse of a mockup of the Cripple Checkpoint complete with campfire and wall tent. Veterinary and dog care topics are discussed and, of course, there’s the cuddling of puppies. The tour ends with a riotous symphony of dogs barking as a team is hooked up and taken on a demo run to show folks the dogs in action. Sprocketheads LLC produced a DVD featuring the unique lifestyle made possible by training and racing sled dogs. The DVD captures a sled dog’s life from puppyhood to racing and Martin’s interaction

with his athletic friends. “Mile by Mile: Martin Buser’s Iditarod” is a new release DVD. In partnership with Jeff Schultz and Sprocketheads LLC, a unique journey from Anchorage to Nome with some of the most spectacular images ever assembled in a DVD was created. With a combined 54 years on the trail, Jeff’s photos and Martin’s trail stories make it possible for you to “be there” on the back of the sled! Martin is currently the musher with the most consecutive Iditarod finishes, 28 races completed in row, 29 total finishes. He is looking forward to many more and working diligently toward a fifth Iditarod win. While the race is always the final exam, the year-round interaction and relationship with the dogs is the most valuable aspect of this lifestyle. On a daily basis, he says he is amazed by the stamina, loyalty, honesty and joy of our dogs. Author Brian Jacques went on a ride with Martin and the team many years ago and described the dogs as “eternal children.” “We couldn’t agree more,” he says. “It is our good fortune to be able to take care of them.”

JEFF KING

Entrant: No. 4 Hometown: Denali

Biography Jeff King, 58, was born in California. He came to Alaska in 1975 to “seek adventure.” He began mushing in 1976 after he heard Jerry Riley’s race King finish while listening to the radio. Jeff has an outstanding race record, including a Yukon Quest victory in 1981 and four Iditarod victories. He has three adult daughters, Cali, Tessa and Ellen. All the girls have run the Jr. Iditarod and Cali finished the Iditarod

RAMEY SMYTH

Entrant: No. 5 Hometown: Willow

Biography Ramey Smyth, 38, was born and raised

IDITAROD 2014

in Alaska, the son of Iditarod veterans Bud Smyth and the late Lolly Medley. His father raced in the first Iditarod and his mother raced in the second Iditarod. Ramey has lived all over the Smyth state and says he moved to Willow to put down roots and build a home for his wife and children. He says he’s been mushing since he was “born.” He ran the Jr. Iditarod twice and won both times. He ran his first Iditarod in 1994 and has only skipped one year since. He is a log builder and dog musher. He says that his hobbies are family and all sports. “I love that my family can be so involved in this sport as they all love dogs. I would like to bring awareness to the need for cancer research funding. I am running under the banner of abstinence from drugs and alcohol.” Ramey and his wife, Rebecca, are the parents of Ava, 7, and Banyan, 3.

LISBET NORRIS

Entrant: No. 7 Hometown: Willow

Biography “I grew up in Willow, AK, surrounded by dogs and loving winter,’ says 26-year-old Lisbet Norris. “After high school, I moved to Fairbanks Norris to attend university. At UAF, I cultivated a love for the north. I studied in Norway and Baffin Island and worked as a musher and expedition guide. I received my BA in Northern Studies and History from UAF in 2011 and decided then to pursue a long-held dream — distance mushing. I returned to Northern Norway that summer and spent the fall and winter of 2011-12 training and racing dogs in the Alta area. I loved all aspects distance mushing offered: Time in nature and time with dogs. I came back to Alaska with aspirations toward Iditarod. In the fall of 2012, I moved from Fairbanks to the MatContinued on next page FEBRUARY 23, 2014


MEET THE MUSHERS Continued from previous page

Su Valley to work at the family business, Underdog Feeds, and run dogs from our kennel, Alaskan Kennels, the oldest Siberian Husky kennel in the world. I qualified for Iditarod this past season and am proud and excited to field a team of AKC registered Siberian Huskies in the 2014 Iditarod.”

RICK CASILLO

Entrant: No. 8 Hometown: Willow

Biography Rick Casillo, 40, grew up in a small country town of Alder, outside of Buffalo, N.Y. He worked in Alden as a subcontractor before moving to Alaska in 1999 to become a fly fishing Casillo guide. He began mushing in 2002. He says as he watched the race go by, he began to get interested in actually running it.

He first ran in 2004. He is back in 2014, after a five-year break and says, “This year is very special. We have teamed up — both our racing kennel, ‘Battle Dogs Racing’ and our summer glacier tour business with ‘Alaska Healing Hearts,’ an organization serving the battle wounded and battle weary. We are able to provide 12 months of healing grounds for our nation’s wounded warriors. During the summer, we fly the veterans up to our glacier dog camp and take them mushing. For the winter, the warriors are playing a key part in helping us train and prepare for the Iditarod. “This hits home with us because, my wife has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Both my wife, Jennifer, and I operate Battle Dawgs Racing and are committed to helping our nation’s true heroes.” Rick says his hobbies are fly fishing, shooting and helping veterans.

DALLAS SEAVEY

Entrant: No. 11 Hometown: Willow

Biography Dallas Seavey, 26, was born in Virginia

and his family moved to Seward when he was 5. He is a third-generation musher who grew up helping his dad, Mitch, the 2004/2013 Iditarod champion, train his racing teams. He ran the Jr. Seavey Iditarod four times and in 2005, Dallas became the youngest musher in history to run the Iditarod. He also wrestled for Skyview High School and spent one year training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. He is a high school state wrestling champion, a Jr. National Champion and was on the 2005 Jr. World team. In 2009, he and his family moved to Willow to “train our Iditarod team.” Dallas’ current occupation is training and racing sled dogs. In 2011, he won the Yukon Quest and in 2012, he became the youngest Iditarod champion in its history. He is one of four mushers ever to hold a championship in both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod. Dallas and his wife, Jen, also an Iditarod veteran, are the parents of 3-year-old Annie. Dallas is a member of

Going to the Dogs Art Exhibit February 21 through March 28, 2014

DEEDEE JONROWE

Entrant: No. 12 Hometown: Willow

Biography DeeDee Jonrowe, 60, was born in Frankfort, Germany, while her father was in the military. The family moved to Alaska in 1971, where her dad was stationed at Ft. Richardson. DeeDee Jonrowe has a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences and Renewable Resources and now lists her occupation as kennel owner and dog racer. She began mushing in 1979 when she was living in Bethel, and her mother was excited about the early Iditarod races. She says, “Participating in the Iditarod has become my life’s passion. I begin training Continued on next page

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LAST GREAT RACE

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LAST GREAT RACE

MEET THE MUSHERS

Continued from previous page

the day my pups are born, with my focus to provide each of my dogs a long, safe and successful career. I have helped to develop state-of-the-art nutrition, sports therapy and training plans, working yearround to develop a well-rounded life style for my dogs. In addition, it is my desire to honor God in my racing and daily life, encouraging young people to follow after their dreams.” DeeDee is a member of the Big Lake Baptist Church and the Willow Running Club. She says in her spare time she enjoys trail running, mountain biking, triathlons, purebred Labradors, Pekingese rescue and gardening. DeeDee is married to Mike, secretary of the Iditarod’s Board of Directors.

JUSTIN SAVIDIS

Entrant: No. 13 Hometown: Willow

Biography In 2004, Justin (AJ), 39, and his wife, Rebecca, packed their worldly belongings into a truck and a trailer (complete with a rocking chair strapped to the top)

and moved to Willow to follow a job offer — and more importantly, to chase down a dream of running dogs. It was a quick journey from having a couple of dogs and handling for other Savidis mushers to establishing a kennel of their own, and then setting the goal to prepare for and race in the Iditarod. Today, they operate Snowhook Kennel comprised of more than dogs. Some are rescues, some procured from other mushers and others are a result of the Snowhook Kennel recipe. Growing up in Southeast Idaho, Justin has always sought out adventure, including mountaineering and whitewater kayaking. Mushing and the Iditarod are a natural fit for Justin’s sense of and need for adventure. He and the dogs live for pulling the snowhook! Justin’s racing career includes the Rich Allen “For Love of Dogs” award for exceptional dog care and a fifth-place finish in the 2013 NorthContinued on next page

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IDITAROD 2014

FEBRUARY 23, 2014


MEET THE MUSHERS Continued from previous page

ern Lights 300, a first-place finish in the 2012 Don Bowers Memorial Sled Dog Race and a first-place finish and receiving the Humanitarian Award in the 2011 Don Bowers Memorial Sled Dog Race — the awards for dog care are by far the bigger honors. Justin earned his degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with an emphasis on experiential education from the University of Utah in 2002. Driven to help others, his career path has been focused on working with youth at risk. In addition to running dogs, Justin enjoys kayaking, carpentry, reading, climbing and mountaineering.

JAKE BERKOWITZ

Entrant: No. 14 Hometown: Big Lake

Biography Jake, 27, was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minn. From a very young age, he developed a love for dogs and the outdoors. Jake spent many summers in the North Woods of Minnesota exploring and guiding whitewater canoeing and

backpacking expeditions with the YMCA. At 18, Jake decided to venture to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to guide sled dog trips and train for the Iditarod. Jake completed his first Berkowitz Iditarod in 2008 at age 22. This instilled in him the love for racing and Alaska. In 2009, Jake moved to the Last Frontier and completed that year’s Iditarod with all 16 dogs in harness — a feat only accomplished by four others in the 41-year history of the race. In 2011, Jake created Apex Kennels and quickly won three major sled dog races across the state of Alaska in his first year of operation. One of those victories came in the infamously tough Copper Basin 300. In 2012, Jake and his team won the Knik 200 and finished as Rookie of the Year in the international sled dog race the Yukon Quest. After arriving in Unalakleet in sixth place, he was withdrawn from that year’s Iditarod because of a severely injured hand. He then bounced back in 2013 to achieve his proudest moment yet

in racing, winning the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for excellence in dog care. Not only did he win one of the most coveted awards among mushers, he did it by finishing in eighth place with 15 healthy, energetic dogs. In the off-season, Jake gives dog sled rides at the Alaska Native Heritage Center with 2011 Iditarod champion John Baker. Jake is married to Robin Berkowitz and is the proud father of Ruby White Berkowitz, born Aug. 15, 2013.

LAST GREAT RACE

family.” After running the Jr. Iditarod several times, he took a break from mushing. He began racing again in 2000. He is married to the former Julia Flodin, daughter of Iditarod veteran Steve Flodin. They lived in Two Rivers for nine years and then moved back to Knik to be closer to family. Ray and Julia’s daughter, Ellen, will be 8 during the 2014 Iditarod and son, Isaac, will be 5 in December of this year. Ray says he enjoys hunting and fishing. He lists his occupation as “dog musher.”

RAY REDINGTON JR.

Entrant: No. 22 Hometown: Wasilla

Biography Ray Redington Jr., 38, was born and raised in Alaska. The grandson of Iditarod co-founder Joe Redington Sr. and son of Iditarod veteran Raymie Redington, Ray says that Redington he’s been mushing since he can remember. “Iditarod has always been around my

JASON MACKEY

Entrant: No. 24 Hometown: Wasilla

Biography Jason Mackey, 41, was born in Alaska and raised in the Mat-Su and at Coldfoot. He says he’s been mushing, “Since I was big enough to hold onto the sled.” His mushing career began when he started running junior races back in 1983. After four Jr. Iditarods and four Jr. World Continued on next page

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Page 7


LAST GREAT RACE

MEET THE MUSHERS

Continued from previous page

Championships, he went into distance mushing, ultimately running the Iditarod in 2004 and 2008. The first Iditarod he remembers was the 1978 Race. “Dad won in 1978,” he says. “I love Iditarod Mackey and racing dogs. It’s been part of my life since birth. My goal is to be the next Mackey champion. There’s not anyone else anymore hungry to win, trust me. My wife and kids are behind me 100 percent. It takes that to win. (Dad) Dick Mackey won in 1978. (Brother) Rick Mackey won in 1983. (Brother) Lance Mackey won four times, 2007 to 2010. Being the youngest brother and youngest son, I have had the best in the world to learn from. I feel very fortunate. This year’s team, training and strategy will have an exciting outcome in this year’s Race.” He is a member of the Northern Lights 300. Jason is married to Lisa and they are the parents of Patrick, 21, and Jason, 19. Jason has been a heavy equipment operator for the last eight years. He says he enjoys hunting, fishing, berry picking, wood carving and backcountry hiking.

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Entrant: No. 31 Hometown: Big Lake Biography Cim Smyth, 37, was born and raised in Fairbanks. The family moved to the Wasilla area in 1991. He is the son of Iditarod veteran

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IDITAROD 2014

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Biography Lev Shvarts, 34, says, “I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, back when it was part of the ‘Evil Empire.’ My parents took my brother and me and moved to the Boston area in 1989. I Shvarts went to school there, and bounced off to college in Pittsburgh.” Lev received an engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001 and went back to Massachusetts, where he was employed as an engineer before moving to Alaska two years ago to “play with dogs.” “It all started with a dog named Ollie,” he says. “He is a Siberian husky, now 12 and still around and still the best dog ever. I fell in love with mushing and even though Iditarod was a long time pipe dream, I decided to chase it. My wonderful wife and I relocated to Willow two years ago for the purpose of running dogs.” He currently is a handyman and says he enjoys “sleeping and eating.” He is married to Melissa. And finally, he says, “I am a very proud American citizen as of 1997.”

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LEV SHVARTS

Entrant: No. 35 Hometown: Willow

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“Bud” Smyth. Cim says he’s been mushing, “Since I was big enough to stand on a sled.” He lists his occupation wildland firefighter. He is married to Corrine. He enjoys horses, hunting, fishing and gardening.

FEBRUARY 23, 2014


MEET THE MUSHERS Continued from previous page

KELLY MAIXNER

Entrant: No. 38 Hometown: Big Lake

Biography Kelly Maixner, 38, was born and raised in North Dakota. After graduating from Montana State University, he went to dental school at Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where he received Maixner his dental degree. Kelly moved to Alaska in 2007 for a pediatric dental residency. Being a man who always seeks out challenges, he immediately set his sights on running the Iditarod. He started Mad Stork Kennel LLC with two pregnant females and it has grown to around 60. Before Kelly decided to become a pediatric dentist, he was a farmer, a snowboard instructor, a soldier in the National Guard, a bartender, a doughnut maker, a physical therapy assistant for the Phoenix Suns, a state champion boxer and a semiprofessional football player for the Bozeman Kodiaks. An avid runner and competitor, Kelly has completed multiple marathons and triathlons, including the Silverman competition. He hopes one year to finish the Iditarod, climb Mt. McKinley and race the Boston Marathon. Every year Kelly takes his professional skills to Haiti to provide dental care for the children of Kobonal Mission. Kelly’s wife, Margaret, found him in 2009 and they were married the following year. They are the parents of Rosemary, 2, and Vendelin, an infant. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the America Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

ELLEN HALVERSON

Entrant: No. 41 Hometown: Wasilla

Biography Ellen Halverson, 53, was born and raised in North Dakota. She received her degree in Biology and Music Education at Concordia College in Minnesota, then Halverson went to medical school in North Dakota. She has been a psychiatrist since 1991. FEBRUARY 23, 2014

She moved to Alaska in 1998 for a job at the Alaska Guidance Clinic, which is now Providence Behavioral Medicine. Ellen began mushing when she moved to Alaska and finished the Iditarod in 2007. “I love being out on the Iditarod Trail,” she says. “This will be my fifth attempt in the Iditarod. I have failed to finish twice and come in last twice, so I would like to do better. Sled dogs are the most amazing athletes. They are so much happier when they have been training. My goal with Iditarod for this year is to inspire people to move their bodies and become fit, eat well and exercise with the same dedication that mushers provide for their sled dogs.” Ellen has a son, Peter, 10. She says her hobby is horseback riding.

KARIN HENDRICKSON

Entrant: No. 43 Hometown: Willow

Biography Karin Hendrickson, 43, was raised in the small mountain town of Mt. Baldy, Calif. She has a BA in Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado at Hendrickson Boulder and has worked in environmental regulation since 1998. She now works in environmental regulation in Alaska and lives north of Willow. “I saw my first sled dog in March 2002, when I came up to volunteer for Iditarod,” she says. “By 2003, I had sold everything I owned, quit my job and moved to Alaska to become a handler. After two years as a handler, I tried to quit my dog habit. That didn’t last long — I was miserable without dogs! I started building my own team in 2006. I really never expected to do any racing, much less run the Iditarod! I am not too sure how it all happened, but just two years later I found myself signed up for my first Iditarod. 2014 will be my sixth time in a row to leave the starting line of ‘The Last Great Race.’ “I am one of a very few mushers to work full-time through the winter. My biggest challenge is trying to fit training and racing in around the demands of my job. It is just this side of impossible to get everything done, but somehow we make it happen.” Before dogs, she says she used to telemark ski, rock climb, whitewater kayak, train horses, hike and all kinds of other outdoors sports. Now she spends so much

time with her dogs that she doesn’t have time for other hobbies. Karin is married to Varin Hoyt.

LINWOOD FIEDLER

Entrant: No. 51 Hometown: Willow

Biography Linwood Fiedler, 60, was born in Vermont. He received his BSW at Carroll College and his MSW at University of Montana. He began dog mushing in 1977 Fiedler and lived in Montana before moving to Alaska in 1990, after finishing eighth in his second Iditarod. He says he moved to Alaska to “race Iditarod and raise my family.” For the last 14 summers he has operated a glacier tour business in the Juneau area. Linwood says, “Running to Nome is now a celebration of life and fulfilling personal goals. It’s not cheap therapy, but it seems to do the trick. At least it keeps me out of most trouble and my wife knows where I am.” Linwood and his wife, Kathleen, are the parents of Justin and Dalton.

ELLIOT ANDERSON

Entrant: No. 55 Hometown: Big Lake

Biography Elliot Anderson, 22, was born and raised in Wisconsin. After high school graduation in 2010, Elliot was a wrangler and hunting guide for antelope, deer and elk at a ranch in Wyoming. Anderson He says he always loved animals and the outdoors. He came to Alaska in the summer of 2012 and worked in Juneau on a glacier doing dog sled tours. That fall, he started working for Martin Buser. “I’ve always wanted to come to Alaska from hearing my father’s stories of when he gold-mined in the 1970s,” he says. “After finding the job with Alaska Icefield Expeditions on Mendenhall Glacier, I met James Volek. That contact resulted in my working for Martin Buser. I am running his yearling team that I have raised and trained.”

IDITAROD 2014

LAST GREAT RACE

He lists his hobbies as hunting, trapping and archery.

MATT FAILOR

Entrant: No. 56 Hometown: Willow

Biography Matthew Failor, 31, was born and raised in Ohio. “My family taught me a love of the outdoors — camping, fishing, canoeing, backpacking, hunting were all things we did Failor on family vacations,” he says. “My mom and dad and brothers and sister all enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. My three brothers and I are Eagle Scouts.” He moved to Alaska in 2006 for a summer college job as a dog handler at Gold Rush Sled Dog Tours. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Photography in 2007. He began mushing in 2008 and became interested in the Iditarod when Martin Buser offered him a chance to run his yearlings. He has worked for various mushers over the years, gaining experience and knowledge. He recently moved to Willow to run dogs under his own name. Matthew is currently a dog trainer as well as manager at Gold Rush Sled Dog Tours. He says he is a sports enthusiast and enjoys keeping in touch with family and friends back in Ohio.

WADE MARRS

Entrant: No. 64 Hometown: Wasilla

Biography Wade Marrs, 23, was born and raised in the Knik area outside of Wasilla. He started running dogs in 1996 and first ran the Jr. Iditarod in 2007 and his first Iditarod in 2009. He’s been Marrs a tour guide for the last six years. He says, “My dogs look really good — very excited.” Wade’s says he enjoys hunting, fishing and trapping. n

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LAST GREAT RACE

THE ROUTE

2014 IDITAROD TRAIL SLED DOG RACE CHECKPOINTS Checkpoint Distance to next Distance to Nome n Anchorage to Campbell Airstrip................................... 11 ................................................ 964 n Campbell Airstrip to Willow .......................................n/a.................................................. 964 n Willow to Yentna Station ............................................... 42................................................. 922 n Yentna Station to Skwentna .......................................... 30................................................. 892 n Skwentna to Finger Lake ................................................ 40.................................................. 852 n Finger Lake to Rainy Pass .............................................. 30.................................................. 822 n Rainy Pass to Rohn ......................................................... 35 ................................................ 787 n Rohn to Nikolai ............................................................... 75.................................................. 712 n Nikolai to McGrath ......................................................... 48.................................................. 664 n McGrath to Takotna ....................................................... 18.................................................. 646 n Takotna to Ophir ............................................................ 23.................................................. 623 n Ophir to Cripple .............................................................. 73.................................................. 550 Page 10

Checkpoint Distance to next Distance to Nome Cripple to Ruby ............................................................... 70.................................................. 480 n Ruby to Galena ................................................................ 50.................................................. 430 n Galena to Nulato ............................................................. 37.................................................. 393 n Nulato to Kaltag .............................................................. 47.................................................. 346 n Kaltag to Unalakleet ........................................................ 85.................................................. 261 n Unalakleet to Shaktoolik ................................................ 40.................................................. 221 n Shaktoolik to Koyuk ....................................................... 50.................................................. 171 n Koyuk to Elim .................................................................. 48.................................................. 123 n Elim to Golovin ............................................................... 28.................................................... 95 n Golovin to White Mountain .......................................... 18.................................................... 77 n White Mountain to Safety.............................................. 55.................................................... 22 n Safety to Nome ................................................................ 22...................................................... 0 n

IDITAROD 2014

FEBRUARY 23, 2014


FAST FACTS IDITAROD TRAIL SLED DOG RACE WINNERS Year Racer Time n 1973 .......... Dick Wilmarth ................20:00:49:41 n 1974 ........Carl Huntington ................20:15:02:07 n 1975 ...........Emmitt Peters ................14:14:43:45 n 1976 ..................Jerry Riley ................18:22:58:17 n 1977 ............Rick Swenson ................16:16:27:13 n 1978 ............. Dick Mackey ................14:18:52:24 n 1979 ............Rick Swenson ................15:10:37:47 n 1980 ......................Joe May ................14:07:11:51 n 1981 ............Rick Swenson ................12:08:45:02 n 1982 ............Rick Swenson ................16:04:40:10 n 1983 ............. Rick Mackey ................12:14:10:44 n 1984 ...............Dean Osmar ................12:15:07:33 n 1985 ............ Libby Riddles ................18:00:20:17 n 1986 ...........Susan Butcher ................11:15:06:00 n 1987 ...........Susan Butcher ................11:02:05:13 n 1988 ...........Susan Butcher ................11:11:41:40 n 1989 ................Joe Runyan ................11:05:24:34 n 1990 ...........Susan Butcher ................11:01:53:23 n 1991 ............Rick Swenson ................12:16:34:39 n 1992 .............Martin Buser ................10:19:17:15 n 1993 .....................Jeff King ................10:15:38:15 n 1994 .............Martin Buser ................10:13:02:39 n 1995 ..........Doug Swingley ..................9:02:42:19 n 1996 .....................Jeff King ..................9:05:43:13 n 1997 .............Martin Buser ..................9:08:30:45 n 1998 .....................Jeff King ..................9:05:52:26

Year Racer Time n 1999 ..........Doug Swingley ..................9:14:31:07 n 2000 ..........Doug Swingley ..................9:00:58:06 n 2001 ..........Doug Swingley ..................9:19:55:50 n 2002 .............Martin Buser ..................8:22:46:02 n 2003 ............. Robert Sorlie ..................9:15:47:36 n 2004 .............Mitch Seavey ..................9:12:20:22 n 2005 ............. Robert Sorlie ..................9:18:39:31 n 2006 .....................Jeff King ..................9:11:11:36 n 2007 ........... Lance Mackey ..................9:05:08:41 n 2008 ........... Lance Mackey ..................9:11:46:48 n 2009 ........... Lance Mackey ..................9:21:38:46 n 2010 ........... Lance Mackey ....................8:23:59:9 n 2011 .................John Baker .................8:19:46:39 n 2012 ............ Dallas Seavey ..................9:04:29:26 n 2013 ..............Mitch Seavey ..................9:07:39:56

Multiple Winners

Musher Wins Years n Rick Swenson ............ 5 ......... 1977-79-81-82-91 n Susan Butcher ........... 4 ...............1986-87-88-90 n Martin Buser ............. 4 ...........1992-94-97-2002 n Lance Mackey ........... 4 ...............2007-08-09-10 n Doug Swingley .......... 4 ...........1995-99-2000-01 n Jeff King ..................... 4 ...........1993-96-98-2006 n Robert Sorlie ............. 2 .......................... 2003-05 n Mitch Seavey .............. 2 ........................... 2004-13

LAST GREAT RACE

New book a visual history of Iditarod A new book titled “Iditarod” by local author Tricia Brown was released this month and includes more than 200 vintage images that chronicle the history of mushing in Alaska and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The images are introduced with a forward by four-time Iditarod winner Jeff King. For sled dog racing fans, the most important calendar day is the first Sunday in March, when teams convene for the official re-start of mushing’s apex event. “Iditarod” chronicles the history of the race since its start in 1973. Vintage images

follow this ultimate challenge beginning with its ceremonial start in the state’s most populated city, Anchorage, and then diving into the Alaska Bush on a historic trail that wends over mountain ranges, along frozen rivers and onto the Bering Sea ice, and finally to the finish line 1,049 miles away in Nome. Official Iditarod photographer Jeff Schultz, who has photographed the race for more than 30 years, provided many of the images in the book. “Iditarod” is published by Arcadia Publishing and is available at local bookstores or online. n

FOLLOW THE RACE Keep up with all the action of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race online at Iditarod.com. Online features include constant updates on race conditions and GPS tracking of mushers.

MTA

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Martin

Buser Four-Time Champion of the Iditarod and Our Community

FEBRUARY 23, 2014

VISIT US: Eagle River, Palmer-Wasilla Hwy, Palmer and Wasilla 694.3211 or 745.3211 mtasolutions.com

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LAST GREAT RACE

HONORING JOE REDINGTON SR.

Iditarod legacy continues T

he Mat-Su Borough School Board has honored the man known as the ‘Father of the Iditarod’ by naming a new high school soon to be built in the Knik area after him. Work is underway to build Joe Redington Jr./Sr. High School.

BY ANDREW WELLNER Frontiersman.com

Redington was a Knik resident and famous dog musher and was among two names, along with Dena’ina, in play for the new junior/senior high school and a new elementary school that will be built in the Mat-Su Borough’s fastest-growing area. The two names were finalists for the junior/senior high school during the naming process. A district poll elicited more support for Redington than Dena’ina, 57 percent to 43 percent. But then the Knik Tribal Council sat down with Mat-Su Borough School District Superintendent Deena Paramo and asked her to reconsider. As a result, Paramo put a measure changing the name before the board, asking it to consider naming the high school after the Dena’ina people and the elementary school for Redington. The board declined to go back on its decision to accept the winner of the poll. The school, which will be finished in about two years, was also the subject of a presentation from Gary Wolf with Wolf Architecture at an August 2013 Mat-Su Borough Assembly meeting. Wolf told the assembly that $16 million of the project’s $65.4 million cost would be spent on things that aren’t bricks and mortar. “It’s a big number,” Wolf said. That includes work preparing the site, parking lots, a track, bleachers and a turf field. He said the site is challenging with slopes inappropriate for school buses on 103 acres, with half of that wetlands. The plan is to have middle school downstairs and high school upstairs. Eventually, a second school will be built on that same 103 acres and the middle and high schools will be separate. “It’s in Knik and we wanted the school to Page 12

Frontiersman file photo

A bust of Joe Redington Sr. stands outside Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters off Knik-Goose Bay Road. Redington, who is known as the ‘Father of the Iditarod,’ garnered 57 percent of votes during a Mat-Su Borough School District survey to name two new schools in the Knik area.

be a good community center for the Knik area and we designed it to be that,” Wolf said. Wolf said the building will be certified

LEED silver or better, meaning that it will be very energy efficient. As far as timelines go, he said the project would seek permitting in February and bid

IDITAROD 2014

in March, then spend 15 months under construction. “We’ve done a lot, we have a lot to do,” Wolf said. FEBRUARY 23, 2014


2014 iditarod