Lecturer will present a history of sled dog racing
By Site Administer in Press Coverage
Published: Friday, 21 May 10 - 12:01 AM (GMT -07:00)
Last Updated: Sunday, 09 January 11 - 12:12 PM (GMT -07:00)
The West Yellowstone News reported:
The first organized sled dog race in the States started in West Yellowstone on March 4, 1917, and ran 55 miles west to Ashton.
Iditarod lecturer Anne Millbrooke will present a slide show on the origin of the sport of sled dog racing in Gold Rush Alaska and continue through the latest Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, at the United Women’s meeting at noon on Monday, May 24, at the Community Church.
The first organized sled dog race was the All-Alaska Sweepstakes of 1908, a 400-mile race with minimal rules. It continued to be run annually through 1917.
Economic depression and the Great War then intervened. During the war over a hundred of Nome’s sled dogs served in the Sled Dog Division of the French Army, a division organized by a French prospector from Nome.
Dogs continued performing traditional tasks for decades, including transporting medication to Nome during the diphtheria epidemic of 1925. Sled dogs remained beasts of burden as well as racing stock till the airplane, and later the snowmobile, took the loads from the sleds.
The Iditarod dogsled race was started to revive interest in sled dogs and the traditional means of winter travel during the Alaska gold rushes. The race reached a thousand miles from Anchorage to Nome first in 1973 and annually since then. In March 2010, Lance Mackey won the 38th Iditarod, his record-setting fourth win in a row.
Photo Caption: Volunteers make it happen! Appropriately 2,000 volunteers donate their time and energy each year during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Here is the P-team on break in 2009. The P-team collects dog urine for drug testing, a program to discourage any mistreatment of dogs. Iditarod lecturer Anne Millbrooke is at the far left.