AR-News: Grants for Iditarod mushers administered by Iditarod Nat'l Historic Trail, Inc.

Glickman37 at Glickman37 at
Tue Mar 2 17:59:42 EST 2004

Establishment of Seppala Heritage Grant 

Capital Weekly

In keeping with the legacy of Leonard Seppala and the qualities demonstrated 
by him in his lifetime, the Seppala Heritage Grant has been established to 
support and promote those persons demonstrating a commitment to work with, train 
and race sled dogs, and who demonstrate the qualities of generosity of spirit, 
courage, integrity and love for the dogs, land and people of Alaska. 

The grant has been seeded by the Seppala family with a $10,000 donation with 
a four year commitment of $10,000 per year. It is the hope of the Seppala 
family and the selection committee that other persons or organizations will donate 
to this charitable grant with money or services, thereby increasing the 
outreach potential of this grant. Grant funds are administrated by Iditarod 
National Historic Trail, Inc., a private, nonprofit organization with 501, C-3 
federal tax status. 

Persons eligible for the grant include any youth or junior musher who aspires 
to the senior Iditarod race for the first time, and who demonstrates the 
qualities outlined above. Financial need will also be considered. 

The advisory committee members for the grant are- 

Dan Seavey, musher of Seward, Alaska, a founder and four time runner of the 
Iditarod Race, member of the Iditarod Trail Committee and Iditarod National 
Historic Trail, Inc., and retired history teacher. 

Libby Riddles, musher of Fitzcreek, Alaska, first woman to win the Iditarod 
Race and recipient of the 1985 Seppala Humanitarian Award, author and sled dog 
tour operator. 

Laura Samuelson, musher of Nome, Alaska, Iditarod Finish Checker 1991-2001 
and Director of Nome's Carrie McClain Memorial Museum. 

Mike Williams, musher of Akiak, Alaska, ten time finisher of the Iditarod 
Race promoting sobriety, Chair of the Alaskan Intr-Tribal Council and member of 
the Alaska Board of Education. 

Maja Ramsey, horsewoman of Sausalito, California, teacher, mediator, retired 
litigator and granddaughter of Leonard Seppala. 

Leonard Seppala is an Alaskan legend. Born in Norway in 1877, as a young man 
he migrated to the Nome goldfields. There he began his lifelong love affair 
with Northern sled dogs. First, as a gold mine freighter, later as trainer and 
racer of imported Siberian dogs. With these, on three occasions, he won the 
famed 408 mile All Alaska Sweepstakes. He garnered international acclaim in 1925 
for the giant's role he played in the dog team relay of serum from Nenana to 
diphtheria stricken Nome. Seppala died in Seattle at age 90. His ashes were 
spread along the Iditarod Trail. 

Today, Seppala is an honored icon of the world famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog 
Race. Annual presentations of the Leonard Seppala Humanitarian Award pay 
tribute to Seppala's exemplary care and kind treatment of racing dogs. Also, 
honorary mushers selected by the Iditarod Trail Committee's Board of Directors are 
designated "Leonard Seppala Honorary Mushers." He was the first to be inducted 
into the Alaska Mushers Hall of Fame in 1967. 

The grant committee hopes to have details ironed out enough to solicit 
applications during the 2005 mushing season.

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