Wells Fargo, the banking and financial services company which has been a key sponsor of the Iditarod for nearly three decades, has pulled its financial support of the Last Great Race on Earth.
“Wells Fargo regularly reviews where we allocate our marketing resources to build and enhance relationships with customers and the broader community. As part of this process, we have decided not to sponsor the Iditarod in 2018,” Alaska Regional Communications Officer David J. Kennedy said in a statement to KTVA.
The ties between the two go back to 1988 when the late Elmer Rasmuson of the National Bank of Alaska was in the corner of the 1,000 mile race. It extended with his son Ed and in 1999, continued with Wells Fargo.
In a statement of its own, the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) squarely placed the blame on PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“There is no doubt that the decision announced earlier this week is directly related to the manipulative misinformation that P.E.T.A and others have been using to target our sponsors at their corporate headquarters outside of Alaska,” Stan Hooley, ITC’s chief executive officer, wrote in a memo released Tuesday.
PETA has long criticized the race as inhumane to the dogs and has continued to call for all sponsors to pull out of the race.
The ITC was careful to separate the corporate decision makers of Wells Fargo in San Francisco and Wells Fargo Alaska noting that, “support for the Iditarod by Wells Fargo Alaska remains strong.”