1986, 1987, & 1988 Winner of the Iditarod
Susan Butcher grew up in the city of Boston. She hated city life, she thought it was unhealthy and crowded. She moved to the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska to pursue her first love - dog-sled racing and breeding huskies! She is an animal lover, a businesswoman, a wife and a mother. She is also the only person ever to win the 1,161 mile Iditarod three consecutive times.
She trains between twelve to sixteen hours a day, usually seven days a week. She trains herself through running, cycling, weight lifting program, and then for about nine months of the year she can actually use a sled. She mushes fifty to seventy miles a day.
|"I have been known to walk in front of my team for 55 miles, with snow shoes, to lead them through snow storms, in non-racing situations, where I could have just as easily radioed for a plane to come and get me."|
Once when she was interviewed she was asked to describe one of her adventures while mushing.
"A less common danger, but nonetheless very serious, is the moose. The wolves are simply curious. They never cause us any problems. The bears, except for the polar bears, are in hibernation, and most of the polar bears are much further north than where we race. So the only danger for us really is the moose and the buffalo. But we only run through one herd of buffalo on the way to Nome. The moose generally run away from a dog team but occasionally they will somehow feel entrapped, and they feel they have to run toward you, and in essence, through the dog team. That has probably happened to me three or four times. No serious injuries to the dogs, none to me. Only minor injuries.
In 1985, I was traveling alone at night in the lead of the race and ran into an obviously crazed moose. She was starving to death. There was something wrong with her. She was just skin and bones. And rather than run away, she turned to charge the team. I thought she would just run through me. I stopped the team, threw the sled over. She had plenty of room to pass us along the trail. She came into the team and stopped. She just started stomping and kicking the dogs. She charged at me. for twenty minutes, I held her off with my ax and with my parka, waving it in her face. And finally, another musher came along and we shot her, but not before she had killed two of my dogs, and she injured thirteen others, leaving me to scratch from the race. She bruised my shoulder. We spent the next two weeks at a veterinary hospital, saving the lives of the injured dogs."
© Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Beckett and Sarah Teel
If you have any questions or comments please send them to (Sorry, this email link is outdated.).