SATURDAY, MARCH 5TH.
It is the Super Bowl of the land
of the midnight sun! It is the Iditarod!
Over the next 9 to 15 days (maybe
more) dog sled teams and their Mushers
will race between Anchorage and Nome
In 1925 a similar route was used by
dog sled teams to deliver antitoxins to
native children in Nome who were
facing a diphtheria epidemic.
I don't know a heck of a lot about
racing dogs, except to say that I have
run from a few back in the day! Of
course my only chance was a nearby
door I could open in time!
But that said, I, or at least my family
will be well represented as the Iditarod
gets under way. It's likely that most if
not all of the contestants will be using
a hitching set up first introduced in the
Le Pas Dog Derby of 1920 by Walter
Goyne. Mr. Goyne was a relative of
mine, likely a second or third cousin
or Great Uncle or whatever.
My Mom used to try to tell me about
my "racing relative" years ago. But we
don't always pay attention to history,
especially family history, when we're
I remember her telling me that he
had a "club foot" and died when his
dog sled crashed through the ice. She
never told me that he was famous for
introducing the system which hitched
sled dogs together side by side rather
than just one in front of the next. He
is also credited with introducing the
parka for the mushers!
I guess when you're driving a team
of huskies through a blizzard it's a good
idea to keep warm!
It's amazing that, all these years
after my Mom is gone, the World Wide
Web is providing more details about
those family tales I used to hear. One
report, found just last night, indicates
that my "cousin" , then 25, drowned
in Moose Lake. The Provincial Police
said they believed he was traveling at
racing speed toward shore when he
and his 9 racing dogs plunged through
the ice. His story also mentions his
"crippled foot which forced him to
ride on the sleigh more than his rivals."
No wonder I still get chills when
I hear Johnny Horton sing...."He talked
to his team of huskies as he mushed
them through the snow!" I only wish
I had listened a little more closely
when those old family stories were
I'd try mushing......if I had a dog
team, a sleigh, parka, and ...WINTER!
Never mind! Changed my mind!
Hope the snow stays in Alaska
and that all your NEWS is good!
Walter Goyne 1919