Jacket worn by Lance Mackey during his career as a sled dog musher

Description (Brief)
Red fleece jacket worn by four time Iditarod and four time Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey while competing in sled dog races from 2000 to 2011. Lance Mackey, a Native Alaskan, comes from a strong family tradition of Iditarod champions. His father, Dick Mackey, one of the original organizers of the first Iditarod in 1973, won the 1978 race by one second, in one of the most thrilling finishes in Iditarod history. His brother Dick became an Iditarod champion in 1983 but Lance’s trip to the Iditarod would be delayed as he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001. After extensive treatment he entered the 2002 Iditarod but had to drop out as his frail health was no match for the grueling race. Taking some time off to recuperate and train, Mackey entered the Yukon Quest, another 1,000 mile sled dog race, in 2005 and won. He went on to win the next three years in a row making him the only musher to do so. He returned to the Iditarod in 2007 and again became the only musher to win that race four times in a row, a record that stands as of 2016. He is also the first musher to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year, twice. He is most proud of the Humanitarian awards he has won during his career which validates the extreme care and respect he has for his sled dog team which he considers the true heroes of the sport.
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is an extreme sports challenge that tests the skill and endurance of competitors while celebrating Alaska’s sled dog culture and history. Teams of 12 to 16 dogs, primarily Alaskan Huskies, and their musher experience harsh terrain and weather conditions during the 1,150 mile run from Anchorage to Nome. In its modern iteration as an extreme sport, the Iditarod takes an intense physical toll not only on the human competitors but also on the sled dogs. The race follows a large network of Native trade and travel routes which travelers used when gold was discovered in the isolated town of Iditarod. This discovery led to a “rush” of miners and settlers from across the country, transforming the trail into the region’s main mail and supply route. The area’s harsh winter conditions made sled dog teams the main source of transportation along the Iditarod Trail and it is this rich history which the Iditarod race celebrates today. In 1978 Congress designated the 2300 mile Iditarod Trail as a National Historic Trail recognizing its importance in the shaping of America. Through its beginnings as a regional story, the Iditarod provides us the opportunity to explore the American Experience through the origins of the Iditarod National Historic Trail and the transformation of the Alaskan sled dog culture into an international sport. The Iditarod is now the largest and most prominent sled dog race in the world, attracting international competitors and world-wide media attention.
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race is a 1,000 mile race that follows the “Yukon River and the historical winter land routes travelled by prospectors, adventurers and mail and supply carriers traveling between the gold fields of the Klondike and those in the Alaska interior.” The first Quest was run in 1984 with Sonny Lindner winning in a little over 12 days.
Currently not on view
Object Name
jacket, sled dog racing
Mackey, Lance
Physical Description
fleece (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 28 in x 22 in; 71.12 cm x 55.88 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Dog Sled racing
Sled Dog Racing
Sports & Leisure
Iditarod Sled Dog Race
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Sport and Leisure
Sled Dog Racing
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.