• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 52s

Photographer captures decades of Iditarod history

By James Gaddis 10:18 AM March 13, 2014

Photographer Jeff Schultz has captured the Last Great Race for the last 34 years.

ANCHORAGE – Mushers and dogs weren’t the only ones braving the trail to Nome over the past several weeks: The official photographer of the Iditarod has been capturing the race since 1981.

Jeff Schultz – who’s working on self-publishing a book on the Last Great Race – says there’s one thing he loves about the race.

“The racing, to me, doesn’t matter. I don’t care who wins,” he said. “It’s just going across Alaska by dog team, to me that’s just so romantic and just old school, it’s great.”

He said the draw of the outdoors and the lack of people and pavement brought him to Alaska from California in 1978, just three months after his high school graduation. Photographing weddings, Schultz said he had a plan to make a name for himself when a special guest at a concert he was attending stood up to be introduced.

It was Joe Redington, known as the Father of the Iditarod.

“I thought to myself, ‘Hmm, famous Alaskan, great guy, unique event – I want to photograph his portrait, put it in my studio and then people will think, wow, you photographed Joe Redington?’” Schultz said. “And hopefully that would increase my business.”

Schultz followed up on his plan with a typed letter to Redington, who agreed to have his portrait taken and followed up with a request of his own.

“He said, ‘Well, you’re a photographer, come take pictures for us,’” Schultz said.

The rest, as they say, is history.

For the last 34 years, Schultz hasn’t missed a single race, photographing everything from the ceremonial start to the burled arch and everything in between. One year, the race nearly killed him: A plane crash between checkpoints in 1992 left Schultz with severe facial injuries that required four surgeries, five metal plates and 24 screws.

But the crash didn’t stop Schultz from climbing back into a plane, from where he went on to capture one of his most iconic images.

From National Geographic to Sports Illustrated, Schultz said his trip north more than 30 years ago has opened many doors.

“It was an adventure,” Schultz sad. “That’s what I came to Alaska for.”

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    UAA volleyball setter receives GNAC Player of the Week honors

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 21, 10:22

    No surprise … another honor for the UAA volleyball team. Sophomore setter Morgan Hooe is the GNAC Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week.

  • On-Air

    Travel Tuesday: Airfare 9-1-1

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 10:07

    Airfare 9-1-1 alert: feuding airlines means airfare drops for you! Get those carry-ons ready, Daybreak’s travel guru Scott McMurren is back on the couch with some deals you just can’t refuse. McMurren says if the first snowfall of the year has you thinking about getting away, there’s no better time than now. Anchorage to Houston […]

  • Sports

    UAA hockey heads east

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 21, 8:55

    On Monday, the UAA hockey team’s long week was just beginning.

  • Sports

    West and South football prepare for battle

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 21, 8:48

    A pair of familiar rivals will duke it out for high school football’s biggest prize this weekend.

  • News

    Autopsy being performed on Sitka downing victim

    by Associated Press on Oct 21, 8:40

    An autopsy is being conducted on a man who drowned in the ANB Harbor in Sitka. The Daily Sitka Sentinel reports (http://is.gd/r7uhKh) 41-year-old Richard T. Hatten was unresponsive when he was pulled from the water last Thursday. Friends found him in the water near the dock and pulled him out. Efforts to revive him were […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Oct. 21

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 21, 8:28

     

  • News

    Complaint filed against teacher who supports Ballot Measure 2

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 21, 8:13

    A retired teacher has filed a complaint against an educator for unethical behavior after she threw her support behind the ballot measure to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Alaska. Last month, Kimberly Kole, a science teacher in the Anchorage School District, spoke at a press conference where she encouraged people to vote yes on Ballot […]

  • News

    State, refinery reach agreement on cleanup

    by Associated Press on Oct 21, 7:17

    Owners of the shuttered North Pole refinery and the state of Alaska have agreed on cleanup methods for a leak of an industrial chemical at the site. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1rpKyHN) reports the agreement for the cleanup of sulfolane was worked out between Flint Hills Resources Alaska, the Alaska Department of Law and the […]