In every sport there are names that transcend and are easily recognized among the hardcore fans and arm-chair ones alike. The Iditarod is no different. In a competition where more people have climbed Mount Everest than have finished the Iditarod it is pretty select company to become a well recognized musher in this sport.
While these folks are the names that we know, lets not forget the mushers and their teams in what we call back-of-the-packers, the countless handlers, musher’s widows (those waiting for their spouses to come in from the trail), the support staff and of course the dogs.
These are names which are automatically associated with the race:
Joe Redington, Sr. – co-founder and affectionately known as the “Father of the Iditarod”
Rick Swenson – the only five time champion, the only champion to win in three different decades and the only musher to have completed 30 Iditarod’s
Dick Mackey – the 1978 winner in the only photo finish in Iditarod’s history
Col. Norman D Vaughan – finished the race for the fourth time in 1988 at the age of 88 and led an expedition to Antarctica in the winter of 1993-‘94
Susan Butcher – the first woman to ever place in the top ten and the first four-time winner
Libby Riddles – in 1985, the first woman to win the Iditarod
Emmitt Peters – set a race record in 1975 that wasn’t broken until 1980, known as the Yukon River Fox
Rick Mackey – wearing bib #13, the same number his father wore in 1978, crossed the finish line first in 1983, making Dick and Rick the only father and son to have won the Iditarod
Joe Runyan – 1989 champion and the only musher to have won the Alpinrod in Europe, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod
Terry Adkins – retired from the United States Air Force, the only veterinarian on the first Iditarod in 1973 and now one of only eight mushers to have completed at least 18 Iditarod’s
Doug Swingley – the first Iditarod winner living outside Alaska and the second four time winner
Martin Buser – a four-time winner who holds the record winning time and was the first musher to break the nine-day barrier
Herbie Nayokpuk – the Eskimo from Shishmaref, the “Shishmaref Cannonball” who raced in eleven Iditarod’s
DeeDee Jonrowe, Charlie Boulding, and Lance Mackey – all came back to race again after life threatening bouts with cancer
Robert Sørlie – first musher from out of the United States (Norway) to win the Iditarod
Lance Mackey – won the 2007 Iditarod after winning the Yukon Quest only 10 days earlier – first musher to have won both races in the same year and made Dick Mackey the only father to have won the Iditarod and to have two sons also win the Iditarod, all wearing bib #13. Lance Mackey repeated his feat of winning both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in 2008. Lance is the first musher to ever win four consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Races in a row (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010)
John Baker – first Eskimo to win the Iditarod and also set fastest winning time of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes and 39 seconds in 2011.
Who is your favorite musher?
- Iditarod 40: Parking in Willow (robertforto.com)