All Alaska Sweepstakes

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The All Alaska Sweepstakes was an annual dog-sled race held in Alaska during April. Mushers traveled from Nome to Candle, traveling along the Bering Strait, and then return to Nome.

Between 1908 and 1917 the race was held ten times. Due to the United States' involvement in the Great War and new dog-sled races elsewhere in North America, the race was discontinued. Two commemorative events occurred in 1983 and 2008, to mark the 75th and 100th anniversaries of the first race, respectively.

History[edit]

Start of 1915 All Alaska Sweepstakes

In 1907, the local administrators of the Nome Kennel Club in Nome, Alaska, developed plans for a long-distance dog-sled race that followed a route along the Bering Strait. The first race, named the All Alaska Sweepstakes, took place in the spring of 1908. The competition was held annually until the final race in 1917.

To be in the race, participants were required to register by November. Each team had anywhere from 10 to 20 dogs. The race started in Nome and followed telegraphic lines to Candle, Alaska, before retracing the route to Nome. The telegraphic lines enabled the mushers to communicate their checkpoint times and ranks to the media. The stop numbers and places were uncontrolled, so stewards were placed at each stop along the journey to resupply teams.

Mushers were required to finish the race with as many dogs as they started with, whether they were alive, injured or dead. This rule encouraged participants to take adequate care of their dogs, since an injured or dead dog would be a great drawback. To help minimize the weight on each sled, a minimum amount of items such as clothes, water and shoes for the dogs was loaded.

Winners[edit]

Year Musher State (United States) or
birth country
Time
1908 John Hegness Flag of Norway.svg Norway 119 hours 15 minutes 12 seconds
1909 Allan A. « Scotty » Allan Flag of Scotland.svg Scotland 82 hours 2 minutes 41 seconds
1910 John Johnson Flag of Finland.svg Finland 74 hours 14 minutes 37 seconds
1911 Allan A. « Scotty » Allan (2) Flag of Scotland.svg Scotland 80 hours 49 minutes 41 seconds
1912 Allan A. « Scotty » Allan (3) Flag of Scotland.svg Scotland 87 hours 27 minutes 46 seconds
1913 Fay Delzene Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa 75 hours 42 minutes 27 seconds
1914 John Johnson (2) Flag of Finland.svg Finland 81 hours 3 minutes 45 seconds
1915 Leonhard Seppala Flag of Norway.svg Norway 78 hours 44 minutes 57 seconds
1916 Leonhard Seppala (2) Flag of Norway.svg Norway 80 hours 38 minutes 5 seconds
1917 Leonhard Seppala (3) Flag of Norway.svg Norway 113 hours
1983 Rick Swenson Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota 84 hours 42 minutes 4 seconds
2008 Mitch Seavey Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska 61 hours 29 minutes 45 seconds

Bibliography[edit]

  • Hegener, Helen (2009-12-14). "The All Alaska Sweepstakes". Alaska Dispatch News. ;
  • "Great dog races of Nome". ;
  • "Nome Kennel Club History"..
  • Gold, Men and Dogs by A.A. “Scotty” Allen

References[edit]