The Iditarod Effect

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Tyler Short (L), Karen Land, Steve Brinkworth, and Romano

Laura McCracken, a devoted Iditarod teacher from Northside Middle School, Columbus, IN, writes:

Tyler Short was a Trailblazer last year when he was in seventh grade. He was captivated with the Iditarod and with meeting you and Romano, seeing an actual Iditarod sled and all the gear. Each of his classmates wrote a letter to an Iditarod musher using an address provided via the Iditarod education website. However, Tyler took his letter writing to the next level. He wrote one very good letter and we photocopied it. Then he painstakingly addressed each envelope by hand. He sent a letter to every single musher who provided an address. This came out to be about 60 letters.

During the summertime, he enjoyed checking the mail because he received replies throughout the summer. Seventeen mushers wrote him back. Dallas Seavey sent his Iditarod identification pass, some brochures, and a very kind letter. Tyler also received lots of dog booties and photographs. Pete Kaiser sent a two-page handwritten letter and some booties.

Tyler explains: “I was having a great time learning about the Iditarod and when Mrs. McCracken said we were going to write letter, I got super excited. I was excited because I was actually about to write to a musher! Someone who had actually gone through the Iditarod and knows what really goes on! Then I had the idea of writing a letter and sending it to all the mushers. I talked to Mrs. McCracken and she said that they could pay for the stamps and that’s when the determination kicked in. I actually had a letter done in 20 minutes and sent that exact letter to every musher. It took forever to fill out all the envelopes and sign all the letters.”

2 thoughts on “The Iditarod Effect

  1. That is such a great story! Sophie & I will never forget the time we got to spend with you in Eureka. And your presentation really made it come alive for us when we went to Alaska & spoke to someone who knew you at a sled dog summer training camp @ a musher author who spoke highly of you & included you in a chapter in her book. I’m still Facebook in touch with PJ. Keep on mushing, Karen, you are a great inspiration to so many young (& us old) people & especially to girls! Love you & your pack! -Rose H

    1. Great to hear from you! We enjoyed our visit to Eureka so much… it was so great to have you and Sophie make us feel like we were right at home even though we were on the road (and had been on the road for months!). And thank your for the inspiration as well… the people I meet during my talk trips are my inspiration and the reason why I keep on road tripping with my dogs after all of these years (16 years now, to be exact!?!). Maybe someday I’ll “branch out” and upgrade my technology and get on Facebook but until then thanks for keeping in touch the “old-fashioned” way. You gals are awesome!

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