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Lynden Iditarod support goes way back

Thu, Feb 29, 2024

lynden_iditarodThe annual Iditarod sled dog race begins March 3, and Lynden is once again a ‘lead dog’ sponsor. The first Iditarod race took place in 1972, and it wasn’t long before Lynden became involved. Lynden’s contributions started with supporting mushers Susan Butcher and her husband David Monson.

Susan Butcher wearing Lynden hatAlthough Lynden has sponsored many mushers over the years, Susan holds a special place in Lynden history and in the hearts of its employees. Susan was the second woman to win the Iditarod, the second four-time winner, and the first to win four out of five sequential years from 1986 to 1989. She died of leukemia in 2006 at age 51, leaving daughters Tekla and Chisana and husband David who continued mushing and operating Trail Breaker Kennel.

Starting in the early 1980s, Lynden began hauling thousands of pounds of frozen meat and 20,000 pounds of dog food annually 500 miles from Anchorage to remote Eureka, AK for Susan’s teams and kennels. Lynden continued to sponsor Susan until her last races. As employees followed her career, she became an unofficial company mascot – a symbol of the tough and pioneering spirit of the Lynden companies in Alaska.

In 1988, Jim Weber, retired Lynden Transport Terminal Manager, and former Lynden Transport Maintenance Manager Buddy Pearson spent their vacations as dog handlers to support Susan’s husband, David, in his 1,000-mile Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race. David finished in first place almost six hours ahead of the second-place finisher. Jim also served as one of six dog handlers for Susan’s races. “Working with Susan taught me how independence and intensity can lead you anyplace you want to go,” Jim says. “Having the endurance to complete the Iditarod is a monumental feat. Susan was pure quality and inspiration.”

Today, Susan is commemorated in Alaska by Susan Butcher Day, an annual state holiday on the first Saturday in March, and by the Susan Butcher Family Center at Providence Hospital in Anchorage. In March, a new event, the Susan Butcher Memorial T-Dog Fun Run, will be held in her honor.

Lynden Air Cargo still delivers dog food and supplies to race check points, and employees volunteer to help in a variety of capacities. Lynden still sponsors other mushers including Mike Williams and Pete Kaiser. Lynden was also a sponsor of the Junior Iditarod for many years.

“As a distinctly Alaskan company, Lynden’s support of this iconic race has held steady. We are grateful for the continued support in a variety of ways; sponsoring the Red Lantern Award, flying food and supplies to race locations, providing employee volunteers and more. Few events can claim such dedicated sponsors, and we are so thankful that Lynden is one of them,” says Iditarod Director of Marketing & Communications, Shannon Noonan.

Topics from this blog: Lynden Lynden Air Cargo Lynden Transport Alaska LTL Air Ground Community Featured

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