Seavey Family Continues Iditarod Tradition
LAKE LOUISE - Over the years the Seavey name has become synonymous with the Iditarod, with five members of the family completing the race.
At Lake Louise, an Iditarod icon prepared for his return to racing after a 10-year absence.
“They try to tell me there’s life beyond the Iditarod, maybe so,” said Dan Seavey.
Dan, now 74, helped found the race four decades ago. Over the years he’s passed on his passion for mushing to his son Mitch.
“Mushing is always something we’ve had in common since I was a little kid. Here we are now nearly 50 years later mushing together, so it’s pretty cool,” said Mitch.
“It’s gratifying, but I often wondered what life would be like if I had an interest in stamp collecting or something like that,” said Dan.
But dog mushing is no hobby. After years of dedication and determination Mitch won the Iditarod in 2004. He’s thrilled to once again be training for the top spot with the man who gave him his start.
“I’m so in awe of him, not only because of his somewhat advanced years, but he’s a good dog musher and having fun and even as difficult as this can be we’re having a good time. So it’s cool to have him here and enjoy the privilege of being able to be around him while we’re doing this,” said Mitch.
But Dan and Mitch won’t be the only two Seaveys running to Nome this year: Dallas Seavey – Mitch’s son, Dan’s grandson – now operates his own kennel outside Willow. Like the dogs around him, mushing is in his blood; this will be his sixth Iditarod, and the first with his grandpa.
“I get a lot inspiration from him, he sets his mind on something, he has his goals and he does it. Simple as that. We had dogs, we wanted to travel so of course we’re going to do the Iditarod,” said Dallas.
A son, and a grandson, and now Dallas is now a father himself. Though she’s only a year and a half, Annie’s already showing signs she could be an Iditarod contender one day.
“If she wants to get in to ballet, so be it, that’s great. There’s no pressure that she has to race dogs or I feel she should race dogs. If she wants to, I’ll support her 100 percent, and if she doesn’t want to, she’s smarter than I am,” said Dallas.
After a few generations of mushing men, it seems the next chapter of the Seavey family history will be written by women. Annie is just one of Dan’s three great-granddaughters.
“One of the highlights of my existence was about a year ago when my wife Shirley and I purchased a small kids’ sled for Alex – Danny, the oldest grandson’s daughter – and to see her hook up one dog and go down the trail, there goes the fourth generation and I thought, this is pretty cool,” said Dan.
While Dan may have started the dog-mushing dynasty, he says the rest of his family is leading the way to becoming world-class champions.