Monday, August 07, 2006

"Alaska: Where men are men and women win the Iditarod.''

It is with a sad heart that I report Susan Butcher, famed Iditarod dog musher, lost her battle with leukemia August 5th in Seattle, WA.
Susan Butcher competed in a total of 17 Iditarod races. She placed in the top 10 in all but two of those races. But above this record, she was a much loved and respected member of the dog community and beyond. All of us who knew her are feeling a great loss.

Please observe a moment of quiet reflection after reading this sad post.

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Butcher loses cancer fight

IDITAROD LEGEND DIES: Four-time champion succumbs to leukemia at 51.

By CRAIG MEDRED

Anchorage Daily News

Published: August 6, 2006

Far from her Alaska home and the dogs she loved so much, four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher died Saturday in a Seattle hospital.

She was 51 years old and the mother of two young daughters. She had been waging a battle against leukemia for a year and a half, but sometimes not even the toughest warriors can win.

A child of the American upper middle class, she turned her back on the civilized world of Cambridge, Mass., to carve out a niche for herself and her beloved dogs in a cold, difficult corner of Bush Alaska.Through her 20s and into her 30s, she lived an almost cloistered existence in the Interior with her life dedicated to one seemingly impossible goal, winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She spent days on end on the runners of a dog sled following huskies through the frozen taiga and barren wilderness north of Fairbanks.

"I like spending a lot of time alone,'' she told a writer for the Daily News' old Sunday magazine, We Alaskans,' in 1981.She was then 27 years old and already an Iditarod contender, though it would still be five long and difficult years before the breakthrough Iditarod victory of 1986. By then, she had joined forces with Dave Monson, a one-time lawyer, a fellow dog musher and a soul mate.Together, they would team to dominate the Iditarod. Butcher was the driving force behind their Trailbreaker Kennels and the face of the business. Monson was the organizer and administrator, the behind-the-scenes player who held everything together.They were married in 1985.

Butcher won the first of her four Iditarods the next year. She would go on to win three more in the next four years -- the most impressive string of victories in Iditarod history.

See complete article by clicking the link below...

Trail Breaker Kennels / Susan Butcher

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