Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where men are men....

Where Men are Men, and Women Win the Sled Dog Races

Back in day when Libby Riddles and Susan Butcher were opening eyes, a popular bumpersticker read "Alaska - Where men are men, and women win the Iditarod".  It seems that Alaska has a long history of respecting and awarding our female mushers.

Back in 1960 ardent dog musher Libby Wescott won the top award available to a sportsperson in the Interior of Alaska in a ceremony that drew the largest banquet crowd ever seen in the burgeoning city's Elk's Lodge.  Here is the story, from the "Looking Back" section of today's issue of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.  It's humorous to read how the author dealt with gender issues in print.

April 11, 1960 — Libby Wescott, an ardent dog musher here for many years, last Saturday night was awarded the title of ‘Fairbanks Sports King.” Pardon us, we meant “Fairbanks Sports Queen.”

She was the only woman in the field of seven nominees. She took the stage with Deacon Jack Hurley, and a host of Fairbanks notables. Before television viewers, and the biggest banquet crowd ever to turn out in the Elks Lodge, she was given the huge trophy that is the top award a sportsman can win in Interior Alaska. Pardon us, sportswoman.

She has been the backbone of women’s dog mushing here for years, devoting time and effort to organizing and planning the events, then getting out with her dogs and racing.

Even though she is a veteran at the sport, and not as young as she once was, this year she won the event for the first time, and broke all track records on a lap while winning her crown.

Speakers and guests, in addition to Hurley, included Dean McAdams, University of Washington athletic creat, Jeanette Knepprath, national president of the women’s bowling association, and Peggy Friend, state bowling president.

To all of you guys in the Lower-48 who have yet to experience it, I assure you there is nothing in the world sexier than a competent woman wielding heavy power tools.  It's a common vision here in the Last Great Frontier.

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