Libby wins the Iditarod
Materials Sandblasted glass, bronze, wood
Collection Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, AK
This sculpture depicts a rest stop in the Alaskan Iditarod Trail Race. In 1985 Libby Riddles an American originally from the lower 48 won the race and became the first woman to do so. When she was 17 she saw a sprint race and fell in love with dog mushing. She moved to Alaska and eventually ran in the 1980 and 81 races using dogs which she obtained from different kennels. Un satisfied with her performance she met Joe Garnie and they began to breed their own dogs. In 1985 Libby Riddles won the Iditarod and became the first woman to accomplish that feat. Susan Butcher won the three succeeding races and a popular refrain became, “Alaska where men are men and women will the Iditarod.
The Iditarod, “The last Great Race” began in 1973 as a commemoration of the Serum run in 1925 which was a relay from Anchorage to Nome to bring a serum to counteract a Diphtheria epidemic. After a few lean years the race with widespread sponsorship became an International Sporting event attracting mushers from all over the world. The race covers a course of approximately 1000 miles from its ceremonial start in Anchorage, its true start in Willow 80 miles north, and finishing on Main Street in Nome taking between 8 and 15 days depending on weather conditions. There are checkpoints along the way and a northern route and a southern route used in alternating years. There are also mandatory rest stops and a rigorous regard for the well being of the dogs.