Bill Mackey 1991 Iditarod sports card

Bill Mackey 1991 Iditarod sports card

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Description (Brief)
1991 Iditarod sports card autographed by musher Bill Mackey of Mackey's Mushing School. Bill Mackey ran the 1984 Iditarod Sled Dog Race as a rookie and received the Red Lantern Award. This award is given to the last finisher of the race and began as a joke during the 1953 Fur Rendezvous Race and carried over to the Iditarod. It is often mistaken for the Widow’s Lamp which is a kerosene lantern, lit and hung on the burled arch in Nome until the last racer crosses the finish line. It is then extinguished. This is to commemorate the tradition started during the early days of Alaskan history when sled dog teams were used to carry mail and supplies to the early settlers of Alaska. A lamp was lit and hung by the door of a roadhouse to help the mushers find their way and to let people know that there was still a team out on the trail. Once the last musher arrived the lamp was brought inside.
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sports card, sled dog racing
date made
Physical Description
cardboard (overall material)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in; 8.89 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Dog Sled racing
Iditarod Sled Dog Race
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Sled Dog Racing
Sports & Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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