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A third Iditarod assault

Lanier 2013 snowmachiner in bkgrd

A friendly Iditarod fan on a snowmachine accompanies musher Jim Lanier into Nome.      Photo courtesy Julie St. Louis

As alleged Iditarod assailant Arnold Demoski from Nulato was settling into a cell at the Fairbanks Correctional Institute on the evening of March 13, an attack on at least one more Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher — and possibly more — was underway along the Yukon River.

An Alaska State Trooper has now confirmed an incident involving 28-year-old Sarah Stokey from Seward, but would not go into detail. Iditarod officials have failed to respond to repeated requests for information. Stokey was among the last six mushers, four of them women, to finish the 2016 Iditarod.

Several mushers have independently recounted an incident along the frozen Yukon wherein Stokey was approached by men on snowmachines who tried to pull her off her dogsled. All of the mushers asked their names be withheld for fear of retaliation from the Iditarod Trail Committee.

Leo Rasmussen — the former mayor of Nome, for decades the official Iditarod greeter at the end of the trail and a race fan — was not so reluctant to speak publicly. He last week said he believes the  Iditarod tried to cover up a number of incidents.

“Actually about six mushers were involved, four of them women,” he said. “Two snowmachiners pulled up on either side of her and tried to pull (Stokey) off her sled.”

Another musher, according to Rasmussen, “hollered to her, ‘grab your ax and use it'” to drive the men off. Iditarod rules requires mushers to carry an ax in their sled as part of their traditional survival gear.

Craigmedred.news has been unable to independently substantiate the ax statement or the report of multiple mushers attacked, but has confirmed Rasmussen’s report that earlier snowmachine assaults on Iditarod celebrity Aily Zirkle from Fairbanks and the dog team of Jeff King from Denali Park, a four-time champion, were not the only incidents this year.

Snowmachines are everywhere in rural Alaska these days, and problems between snowmachiner drivers and dog teams remain extremely rare, which makes the attack on the 46-year-old Zirkle only more bizarre.

The three-time Iditarod runner-up and fan favorite described an incident unprecedented in Iditarod history.

UNPRECEDENTED IDITAROD ATTACK

“Over the course of almost two hours one man, by using his snowmachine, made prolonged, aggressive and what I believe to be deliberate threats to me and my team,” she said in a statement published at Iditarod.com. “For two hours, I felt like a hostage, and I sincerely believe that our lives were in danger. I was terrified. Had it not been for my defensive reactions, we could have been maimed or killed.”

As described by other mushers, the incident involving back-of-the-pack musher Sarah Stokey  sounds similar. The young musher originally from Cape Cod was reported to be scared but not injured.

That the Stokey incident passed unnoticed by the media horde covering the race is not surprising. The Iditarod is informally divided into two classes of mushers: contenders and the BOP — shorthand for back-of-the pack. Almost all media attention these days focuses on the race leaders.

The BOP is left alone to struggle north largely out of sight as it tries to stay ahead of Iditarod officials looking to boot mushers for going too slow in order to get the race over as soon as possible and thus cut down on costs. The Iditarod lasted just under two weeks this year, about two days less than a decade earlier and a week less than the 1980s when it was not unusual for the last musher to take three weeks to reach Nome.

As the race has evolved over the years, mushers and Iditarod officials have regularly worried about its relationship with village Alaska. Some villages have always loved the Iditarod. The reception in others has been sometimes lukewarm and varying from year to year. Some villagers, who appear to be a small minority, view Iditarod as more an intrusion in their lives than a celebrated Alaska sporting event.

Still others see it as an excuse to party, which has caused past incidents with dog teams being hit by drunk drivers on snowmachines. The 26-year-old Demoski has cited drunk driving as the reason he crashed into King’s team at more than 60 mph, killing one dog and seriously injuring several others.

Demoski’s snowmachine hit King’s dogs with such force, authorities say, that the impact blew its cowling off. King retrieved the part, and authorities say it matches Demoski’s Ski-doo.

Demoski turned himself in to village police the day after the crash, and in an on-camera interview with an Anchorage television station KTUU apologized for killing King’s dog, saying the animal was the victim of a drunk-driving accident. Demoski also said King was his “favorite musher.” He has said nothing publicly about his alleged encounter with Zirkle.

Shortly after his television interview, Demoski was arrested and flown to court in Fairbanks, 270 miles to the east, where a magistrate suggested the Nulato villager had been involved in what “could amount to be an act of terrorism.”

DRIVER PLEADS NOT GUILTY

He was later charged with three counts of felony assault for the alleged attacks on King and Zirkle. He pleaded not guilty  in Fairbanks on Tuesday.

Not long after Demoski’s arrest, Minnesota musher Blake Freking, whose wife, Jennifer, had a dog killed on the Yukon while running the Iditarod, expressed his gratitude that “Alaska state troopers are looking in to this.

“When we had the same situation in 2008, the troopers would not even return our calls,” he posted on Facebook, “much less make contact with the drunk that hit our team. If the residents of Nulato want to help the situation, the week-long party that takes place at the juncture of the Koyukuk and Yukon needs to be addressed. The individuals that hit our team were returning from that party and judging from the location and time, I am assuming that this guy was doing the same.”

A snowmachine hitting King’s team at high speed, running over dogs and speeding on down the trail is consistent with a drunk driving collision caused by someone foolishly or recklessly trying to pass too close to a dog team. The incidents involving Zirkle, who says she was repeatedly confronted, and Stokey, who was said to be grabbed by people trying to pull her off her sled,  sound more like attempts to haze, scare or intimidate mushers.

“It wasn’t really an assault,” Trooper James Lester said of the Stokey incident when reached by telephone in Galena. But he wouldn’t describe exactly what it was.

“I obviously don’t want to comment,” he said.

According to Lester,  Iditarod race marshal Mark Nordman was the one who reported the incident to troopers in Galena. Stokey was supposed to provide troopers a detailed account after the race finished. That never happened.

Why is unclear.

IDITAROD GAG ORDER

At least a half-dozen sources say that at the official Iditarod Finishers meeting in Nome at the end of the race, it was decided problems along the trail this year should not be talked about publicly. The Iditarod has long adhered to an omerta that would make Lance Armstrong and the other dopers of the old Tour de France proud.

Stokey said in a brief telephone interview that “I had everything that happened taken care of by Karen Ramstead (a race judge) and Mark Nordman.” Stokey refused to go into detail.

Nordman did not return a message left at Iditarod headquarters. Neither did anyone else there. Ramstead, contacted by Facebook message, did not respond, although her Facebook page said the message had been read.

Stokey, in refusing to discuss what happened, said “It’s not the type of publicity that needs to be promoted.”

Rasmussen said he decided to speak up because he doesn’t think  Iditarod is helped by covering up these sorts of incidents.

“I’m sick and tired of this happening,” he said. “There’s no place for it. They sure tried to pull her off her sled. Something needs to be done. This is not new. There’s been an awful lot covered up in Iditarod’s past history.”

“This does seem to be a more widespread issue than one person (attacked),” added a musher with direct knowledge of the Stokey incident.

“It makes me wonder about what else is going on out there with other women if they’re willing to reach out and touch an Iditarod icon like a musher,” the musher said. “If this was me, all sorts of hell would be being raised. It was my understanding that (Stokey)  gave a statement to troopers.”

As of the moment, that has not happened.

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of her,” Trooper Lester said.

Both the names and genders of some mushers involved in this story are being withheld because of an Iditarod “gag order” mushers were required to sign this year.

“They actually had all of the mushers swear to not say anything that reflected anything bad on the race,” Rasmussen said.

OTHER IDITAROD THREATS

“They could take my only Iditarod finish away for talking to you,” one musher said. “That’s a pretty high thing to hold over my head.”

Most people devote nearly two years of their lives to dogs in order to complete qualifying races necessary to gain entry into their first Iditarod, and then there there is no guarantee of finishing. Many rookies don’t make it to Nome on their first try. Costs of competing are high. Marketplace.org last year put the costs at $70,000 to $100,000.

Rasmussen believes the Iditarod Trail Committee engaged in a cover-up of the Stokey case  to hide simmering community-relation problems the multi-million dollar sporting event faces in impoverished Alaska villages.

“Those people were the founders of the Iditarod,” he said. “They made the Iditarod. (But) quite honestly, they’ve lost the villages because nobody has a tie to (dog mushing) any more.”

Some mushers privately agree with that assessment, and some are admittedly trying to improve the situation. Justin Savidis, a 41-year-old Iditarod veteran from Willow, and friend Joe Carson, a sponsor and sometimes McGrath resident, have begun planning for the McGrath Mail Trail 202 race next year to expand contacts between rural Alaskans and Iditarod mushers.

“Teams are invited to stay at the school, B and B or Inoko lodge in McGrath beginning December 12th to train until the race start the following Saturday,” he posted on the race’s Facebook page. “McGrath has opened it’s doors to mushers and their dogs for this race.
The anticipated race route will be McGrath to Nikolai, travel to Medfra around the back of Apple Mountain and into Takotna.”

The race, Savidis said in a telephone interview, is more about building goodwill in the Iditarod checkpoints of McGrath and Nikolai than it is about running dogs. Savidis, who had a pre-mushing career working with troubled youth, said he is working on a plan to try to get McGrath area kids involved in the race.

WORKING TO MAKE IT BETTER

Best news I’ve heard in a long time!!” Nordman, the Iditarod race marshal, posted in a comment on the McGrath 202 page.

Publicly, Rasmussen said, Iditarod doesn’t want to talk about village relationships in anything but the most positive light for fear it “might hurt the race.

“If (Demoski) hadn’t killed one of King’s dog, that (incident) would have been hush-hushed, too,” he said.

The way in which that dog death was first reported did raise questions. Angela Marie Rosario, an Iditarod fan and Wisconsin dog musher was watching video live-streamed from the Nulato checkpoint when King and Zirkle arrived shortly after 3 a.m. on March 12.

“I saw video of Aliy and Jeff coming into Nulato and it was evident there was a big, big problem on the trail,” she later posted on Facebook. “I have been frantically searching for news ever since.”

Official Iditarod trail reporter Sebastian Schnuelle, working at Iditarod.com, was in Nulato at the time. At 3:59 a.m., he reported that “Jeff King, Aliy Zirkle and Robert Sorlie are resting in the dog yard.” It was almost four hours later, at 7:40 a.m., that Schnuelle finally revealed that “a very unfortunate incident happened this morning here in Nulato. Both Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King’s teams were attacked by a snowmachiner. Here is the link to the official press release.”

In a lengthy phone interview, Schnuelle said the delay in reporting the dog death was not intentional on his part. The only reporter covering the 2016 race by traveling on snowmachine, an arduous task, Schnuelle said he knew there was a problem when he arrived in Nulato, but didn’t know what. The Iditarod Insider, the video arm of Iditarod.com, was already covering it, so Schnuelle decided to go to bed and get some much needed rest.

A seven-time Iditarod veteran, he was awoken almost immediately and asked to go back up the trail toward Galena because “something scary is going on out there,'” he recalled. “We didn’t know what was going on.”

He said it was unclear whether there had been an accident or the Iditarod had somehow come under attack. Schnuelle motored back along the  trail, but couldn’t find anyone or any sign of where King or Zirkle might have been attacked.

He finally encountered musher Mitch Seavey from Seward on the wide and empty Yukon and asked if there’d been any problems. Seavey replied, “What problem?” Schnuelle said.

Schnuelle returned to Nulato, filed his 7:40 a.m report, and was long gone to the north along the trail before the Stokey hit the trail from Galena to Nulato. He was unsure of what to think when told she was also confronted.

“I thought things had gotten better,” he said. “There was a big welcoming (in Nulato). More people were involved. There were lot of local people manning the checkpoint. In these communities, I had a very positive experience.”

And it is possible things have gotten better.

A BIG RIVER IN EGYPT

Behind the scenes, Nordman has been for years a workhorse in trying to build stronger relationships between the Iditarod and Alaska villages, but publicly the Iditarod-village relationship  — like so many other issues roiling rural Alaska — just isn’t talked about.

Sometimes it appears the biggest river running through the 49th state isn’t the Yukon but denial. Rasmussen said that has to change.

“It’s not going to get any better,” he said, until people start talking about their feelings, their differences and what to do about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 replies »

  1. The crime committed against Sarah should’ve been dealt with differently from the start. Karen should’ve immediately notified the Alaska State Troopers (and then the ITC). Was the priority to preserve the race’s image or the proper handling of the crime? At that point the ITC should’ve issued a press release about the situation. I understand Sarah not wanting to discuss the situation publicly, but I’m shocked she would not want it revealed (publicly) a crime ever happened. She has allowed herself to become part of the bigger problem. Let’s all put on a happy face and pretend nothing ever happened! Well this sponsor can’t do that. I’m completely disgusted.

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    • i was wondering when someone was going to notice the order of events. the person on the scene calls someone whose not on the scene to call the troopers in Galena? why wouldn’t Ramstead just call Galena? she’s on the scene with the victim, and in position to hand the victim the phone so the victim can actually describe what happened.

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  2. I agree 100% with Medred regarding the “Old Iditarod” compared to the new. I grew up with this race in Alaska having arrived from Minnesota in 1974. The early days of the Iditarod were enthralling and amazing. I had the good fortune to know a number of the early pillars of this long distance mushing community. They were Redington’s Mackey’s, Wilmarth, Demoski, Chase, the “Yukon Fox” Emmitt Peters from Ruby, The “Shishmaref Cannonball”
    Herbie Nayokpuk of Shishmaref and of course 5 time champion Rick Swenson and Libby Riddles to name a few. Larry Thompson in a beat up Cessna 180 was an Iditarod Air Force of One. I was there, I knew these people and it was an exciting time in Alaska. A world class spectacle was taking shape and people around the globe were taking notice. A seriously good fire was lit with the kickoff of the Iditarod in the early 70’s. I believe it peaked around 1990.
    Used to be the population of Nome would about quadruple in the days surrounding the finish of the race. People would fly light airplanes from Nome and Kotzebue to McGrath just to witness the front runners coming through and of course the party at McGuires tavern. Those days are long gone and politics, political correctness and big money sponsorship have taken their toll. I have little interest in the Iditarod these days which to me is quite sad. It was an exhilarating event which I gave my heart and soul to for many years as a pilot flying support for the main event as well as the qualifying races. Don’t have deep pockets? you need not apply. Can’t afford to train year round? like maybe have a job or something ? need not apply. Now we have a gag rule, where mushers are not allowed to make any disparaging comments regarding the race. This in my opinion has a very bad odor to it. What exactly are we (ITC)
    concerned about ? Are there issues that should see the light of day and are being suppressed? Not the Iditarod I grew up with and was passionate about. Not, sadly by a long shot.

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  3. Reading this article, I sense spin to make the Iditarod as the villain … for not fostering relationships with the Bush. But the issue goes much, much deeper and wider than the ITC. The issue is the new generations of people that have grown up in a world of lawlessness throughout the Bush. It’s not just mushers that are harassed. State troopers, federal outreach and social workers, non-profit service providers, school teachers, construction workers, tourists … the list is endless as to who is harassed in the Bush. (I’ve had rocks thrown at me by Natives at Ekwok, so I’m on the list too). Yeah, I too am no fan of the ITC. But there isn’t shit the ITC can do to change the Bush. The ITC can connect with community leaders. But community leaders are not the problem. And the lawless younger generations won’t listen to the village leaders. Probably the best solution for the mushers travelling down the Yukon is snowmobile escorts (one guy driving, and a rider with an AR-15).
    .

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    • Tim, I’m female. I get harassed EVERYWHERE.

      Until people realize that men are the problem, men are the problem EVERYWHERE, this will never change. People want to say, oh, this town is the problem. Going to bars is the problem. Wearing provocative clothes is the problem. None of those things are the problem: the problem is male entitlement and the fact that this behavior goes unpunished over and over and over.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your principled and clear reporting. The Iditarod is getting bigger, as the fan base expands across the United States and the world. I appreciate your fairness to the ITC for the enormous and very difficult job they do. I too feel they are not doing themselves a favor by covering up things, and we the fans know they are. I am an enormous fan of the Iditarod, but this year’s incidents were a complete turn off, mainly because of the way it was handled. The dogs are wonderful, they are given the best care by the owners and they deserve better than what happened. I think the mushers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but are being put in a terrible position by the ITC. They need the Iditarod to pursue their careers, the Iditarod also needs them to have a race. These were criminal offences committed with malice, and it should not be left up to race officials to handle. The ITC wants it both ways, they want the fans from all over the world, but want to continue their insular ways of running things. I don’t think it is going to work for them, as people like me, who have visited Alaska (fell in love with it and its people) because of the Iditarod don’t like seeing the racers and above all the dogs treated this way. There is obviously a problem in some of the villages, and covering it up is just another way of enabling this behavior.

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  5. If these situations are allowed to continue it will mean the end of a very unique sport in Alaska. I am very aware of some real native problems in the bush.
    Just talk to any retired Alaskan fish and game people. So let’s hope these incidents are delt with justice and fairness.

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    • Joy: this is a somewhat strange place for me, but i’m going to have to defend the Alaska State Troopers on this one. they patrol a huge area out there. policing it is damn near impossible, and in cases like this they’re usually looking for someone dressed up in so much Arctic gear it’s often hard for a witness to tell whether they’re male or female, let alone provide a detailed description.

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  6. This most unfortunate situation isn’t going to improve unless their are consequences for these ruthless attacks, and the gag order is removed by the Iditarod committee.

    Think about this for a minute…. if these attacks continue to be silenced there will be no solution for this lethal problem.
    Next year may lead to rapes, or even homicides of mushers, not just dogs;
    because these attacks have, not only increased over the years; they’ve become more aggressive.

    Shame on the “Alaskan Iditarod Committee,” that puts their reputation above the safety of the Iditarod mushers and their dogs.

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  7. I wouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good story. This is embarrassing – do we care anymore Craig? Or does the conspiracy theorist in you not allow you to be thorough about finding the facts before you hit – print?

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    • The number of mushers telling me Stokey was “ass grabbed” is now up to five, Mr. Heister. (This wouldn’t be Greg Heister, the voice of the Iditarod, would it?) The fact these mushers said this happened isn’t in doubt. It is, of course, possible these mushers are engaged in some sort of conspiracy to mislead me into somehow smearing the Iditarod. But if that is the case, how do you explain the report to Alaska State Troopers and a trooper saying there was an incident? Or, for that matter Stokey herself in the comments here saying she was “very happy with how the Iditarod was handling this incident.” What incident? If this is Greg Heister, who is part of the Iditarod team, maybe you could provide some details on the “incident” and the “handling.” Does the ITC now have a law enforcement arm that investigates these sorts of things? Does it consider the “ass grab” a sexual assault or simply harassment? How does it plan to locate the perpetrator? Will it prosecute? How does it plan to prevent this from happening again in the future? There are a few questions left out there.

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      • I would like to know why the ITC is the one who has to OK prosecution. Shouldn’t the Alaska State Troopers be doing that with or without the ITC’s blessing?

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  8. So, it’s pick and choose when it comes to law enforcement ? What else can we expect when we are willing to tolerate an Attorney General who states publicly, “…I will not prosecute my own people…? The Constitution alludes to equal protection under the law, but that will never happen if we allow excuses such as, “I was drunk at the time.” The really good PR happens when people can hold their heads high because they did the right thing…….not by sweeping it under the table or enforcing gag orders.

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  9. Speaking of the Iditarod’s refusal to be honest, they allowed a musher who is on bail for domestic violence (2nd charged incident) against another female musher to be in this year’s race. Other sports would not have allowed this. It’s so ironic that the Iditarod has a gag rule but then turns a blind eye to domestic violence.

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    • Leslie: Is this the one of which I am aware headed for trial in April or another one? Is it the one with a musher and the musher’s wife in the same race? I wonder how the NFL would handle something like this?

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      • Other sports have banned the individual. Iditarod management was informed several months ago about the incident. Under the gag rule, the musher could have been banned from the race for conduct reflecting badly on the race. The all-male ITC chose to do nothing. He was given money for being in the top thirty; it is outrageous that the young male was permitted to run the race and to receive prize money that donors give the race. Why has nobody challenged the ITC on this?

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  10. I would like to say that when the author, Craig Medred, contacted me, I specifically asked that he not write this article because I was very happy with how the Iditarod was handling this incident and that I was also extremely happy at how they were looking to ensure the safety of all mushers on this section of trail, and others, moving forward. I told him that this was not the type of publicity I wanted nor did I think it would help this situation or the relations between racers and villagers — and that the Iditarod had already taken many positive courses of action, and had outlined several more.

    No one was ever silenced and no one feared speaking out. Things were properly handled and people were doing their job. From my perspective, energy was better spent being solution oriented rather than creating a story meant to garner likes, shares, and potential outrage towards a race and race committee that has been nothing but supportive and solution-oriented.

    Although this was expressed, my views and opinion were not taken into consideration. I am disgusted that this author continued to write this piece, that he falsified certain pieces of information to sensationalize what happened, and, once again, feel incredibly violated. I am extremely disappointed that Craig Medred is trying to use what happened to his own personal advantage and am sincerely disappointed at his decision to continually focus on the negative aspects of Iditarod and on my race.

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    • This is partially accurate summation, and I am sorry if Ms. Stokey feels violated. I can say the same for Aliy Zirkle, who ended up in the national news after being similarly harassed on the trail. Ms. Stokey did ask that a story not be written. After a lot of other interviews and careful consideration, taking into consideration how the assault on Ms. Zirkle was handled, I made a news decision and decided the story should be written. That’s what journalists do. I stand by the decision. Ms. Stokey’s opinion on Iditarod’s handling of the incident was as quoted in the story. Ms. Stokey’s comments here are an expansion on what she said in a very brief interview she spent most of her time trying to end. The Iditarod gag order and the comments of other mushers on that issue stand for themselves. Obviously some people were silenced. More mushers commented by text or email after the story today and provided more details. They also asked that their names not be used. Obviously some people fear speaking out. Ms. Stokey is entitled to her views, but few things in any society get better by pushing them out of site as if they didn’t happen. Two mushers have now used the exact same term in describing what happened to Ms. Stokey: “ass grabbed.” At best, that constitutes harassment. At worst, some might call it sexual assault. It is not up to the Iditarod to decide how to deal with it. It is up to the legal authorities. Women traveling on the Iditarod Trail, whether on dog sleds or by any other means of transportation, shouldn’t have to worry about being “ass grabbed.”

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      • I agree with your decision. I think this is an important story. I’m very sorry that Ms. Stokey feels the way she does, and I hope that she eventually comes to realize that making this type of thing public isn’t something that reflects badly on her. She shouldn’t feel embarrassed or anything like that. She should be happy that someone is naming and shaming the people involved.

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  11. I have read several of your posts about the Iditarod and the incidents that occur during the race, and I cannot tell if you support the race or not. I know others have said that they used to be fans, but are no longer due to the ITC. What is your view on the race? Either way, I enjoy reading your posts – very insightful:)

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    • Kaiden: I’m not a fan of anything. I was trained as a scientist and became a journalist.I consciously try to avoid becoming a fan. The journalist’s job, much like that of a good scientist, is to look at things with clear and open eyes, a natural curiosity and a sound skepticism grounded in the fact people sometimes lie and journalists never, ever get the full picture. Good journalism is a little like the analysis of military intelligence. You get bits and pieces of the story and from that you try to reconstruct the entire picture. I covered my first Iditarod back in the early 1980s. I have been friends with a number of mushers over the years. I love Iditarod stories. I compiled the first list of Iditarod dog deaths, when the Iditarod didn’t want to talk about that subject, and defended the Iditarod at length when it came under attack from animal rights activists. The race is not inhumane. It does take dogs to their athletic peak. There is nothing wrong with that. I probably have to confess I prefer the old Iditarod to the new Iditarod, and the back of the pack on the trail to the front now. There are some awfully big egos up among the leaders these days, and they spend a lot of time worrying about their images. They’re not as much fun to hang with as the free-spirited, free-wheeling gang of old. I miss Rick Swenson who could be gruff, lovable, angry, funny, smart, impossible-to-deal-with, and truly interesting all in the space of a day. The same for Susan and Cowboy Smith and Herbie and Doug Swingley, who was cocky as he was good,and a gang of others, some now gone. I miss the connection the race had to villages and villagers before “corralling” began to ensure none of the competitors got any “help” from the locals. I think the ITC has an extremely difficult job dancing in a minefield of opposing views as to how the race should be run. I recognize the ITC, despite a $3 million budget, is running this race on a shoestring. I don’t think enough people understand how hugely costly it is to operate in rural Alaska. I could go on, but I won’t. I’ve probably already told you more than I should. My journalism friends and old colleagues are often appalled at the idea one of us would try to honestly answer a question such as yours. They are of the opinion that honesty will somehow make us less reliable, that if we are honest people will cease to believe journalism flows pure and clean from some magic fountain of pure objectivity. It doesn’t. It never has. And today, sadly, too much of it bubbles up out of a septic system as the waste product of people who don’t know much and think too little.

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  12. Is assault not enough, what will it take rape of a lone woman on the trail. After she is pullef of her sled and physical assaulted and rape. Will the committee than deem to tell the truth. I pray it never comes to this point. I was accosted 30 years ago on my horse in the mountians by drunk Elk hunters. Thank god my german sheapard attack the idiot who had his hand on my bridle. I knew the mountian and i had a fast sure footed horse. So I know the fear you experience and it is ugly. Im sure she was terrified.

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  13. Excellent reporting, Craig. These lawless attacks need to be exposed. The reputation of the Iditarod already is questioned by these cover ups by the race managers. Bully for Leo for speaking out. He’s volunteered endless hours, days, weeks to the success of the race over the years.

    Like

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