March is the month of Iditarod in Alaska, and this year the Bethel area had two strong teams in the race. ALO managed to send representatives to the start, Anvik, Shageluk, White Mountain and Nome.
Our local teams had a banner year, with Pete Kaiser recording the best finish ever for a Bethel team at number eight and Mike Williams Jr. not far behind. The weather for the entire race was fantastic, which not only made it better for dogs and racers, but also for fliers and spectators. Pete finished around 10 in the evening and managed to pose for pictures in the chute with some of his home town fans.
Earlier that day Kotzebue racer John Baker made rural Alaska proud by winning the race. John, who races in Bethel every year, is a former champion of the Kuskokwim 300 and a friend of ALO. Rural Alaskans have a special bond which reveals itself during events like the Iditarod. When John finished, most of the crowd around him was rural folks, some of whom had to sneak past security to get close. Those folks were all happy to see the Iditarod crown return to rural Alaska for the first time since the 70's. Racers from the bush face substantial obstacles when competing against teams from elsewhere, which include much higher costs, less exposure to potential big money sponsors, and increased logistics for travel. But John stuck with his program and has flirted with the top spot many times. It was a sweet win.
John Baker and an unauthorized gate crasher.
There were races at home as well. The Dog Farm team showed once again that if they run fast enough, any old fool can win a race. Chris Pike took second in a 120 mile race later in the month.
Colin McDonald flirted with the big time in Nome as well. Drinking beer at the finish line (8 am) he was filmed by the TV crew following Ariel Tweto for next year's version of Flying Wild Alaska. If they really wanted some reality, the film crew should have followed Colin and Ariel for a few days in Nome.
Colin auditions for a reality show.
When Alaskan travel outside they are often asked about Sarah Palin. Some who ask are actually fans of Alaska's only governor who quit in mid-term. These Palin fans represent the best of the bunch. Makes a person proud to be an Alaskan.
The legal news this month is pretty well summed up by this article. What a guy. Clarence Thomas should never have been appointed to the Supreme Court, and this is just the most recent proof of that. He hasn't spoken at oral arguments for many years, and many feel that is because he believes in the old saying that it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.
Grant Fairbanks, ALO's designated heating contractor, is rarely available to work on ALO's heating issues. He spends a lot of time at his Holitna River homestead. This year he is sawing wood, and shared this photo of the first log ready for the mill.
Grant's first log for the mill.
Finally, a series of winter photos of the Angstman cabin taken by Bill Eggiman.