Handbook used by pilot Joe Pendergrass while a member of the Iditarod Air Force, 2014

Handbook used by pilot Joe Pendergrass while a member of the Iditarod Air Force, 2014

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Description (Brief)
Handbook with a white plastic cover and black, plastic spiral binding. There is a color photograph of one of the planes used during the Iditarod with dogs tethered to the struts on the cover and a color map of the Iditarod route on the back. The Iditarod Air Force began flying in 1978 to give support to all involved in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race. The experienced pilots are all volunteers and use their own planes to fly veterinarians to checkpoints, drop off supplies, food and volunteers along the trail before, during and after the race. They also transport dropped dogs and/or injured persons from the race and escort the teacher on the trail throughout the race.
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
handbook, sled dog racing
date made
Pendergrass, Joe
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 11 1/2 in x 9 1/4 in; 29.21 cm x 23.495 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Dog Sled racing
Air Travel
Iditarod Sled Dog Race
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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