Emmitt Peters
Emmitt Gordon Peters, Sr. (born October 1, 1940) the "Yukon Fox", is an Alaskan American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

, fisher
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

, trapper
Trapping (Animal)
Animal trapping, or simply trapping, is the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food, wildlife management, hunting, and pest control...

, and dog musher
Mushing is a general term for a sport or transport method powered by dogs, and includes carting, pulka, scootering, sled dog racing, skijoring, freighting, and weight pulling. More specifically, it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow or a rig on dry land...

. The last rookie to win the 1,049 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (in 1975), he and his lead dogs Nugget and Digger shattered the previous speed record by almost six days.

Peters is an Athabaskan Alaska Native
Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

 who was born in Ruby
Ruby, Alaska
Ruby is a city in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 188.-Geography:Ruby is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of ....

, deep in the Alaska Interior
Alaska Interior
The Alaska Interior covers most of the U.S. state's territory. It is largely wilderness. Mountains include Mount McKinley in the Alaska Range, the Wrangell Mountains, and the Ray Mountains....

. He became a hunter, fisher, and trapper, and grew up around sled dog
Sled dog
Sled dogs, known also as sleigh man dogs, sledge dogs, or sleddogs, are highly trained types of dogs that are used to pull a dog sled, a wheel-less vehicle on runners also called a sled or sleigh, over snow or ice, by means of harnesses and lines.Sled dogs have become a popular winter recreation...

s. Mushing was the primary means of transportation in the rural parts of the state, far from the road system that spans southern Alaska, but the advent of the snowmobile (known as snowmachines in Alaska) in the 1960s almost drove mushing into extinction.


style="text-align:right" align=bottom | http://www.deedeejonrowe.com/RaceInformation.html
Year Position Time (h
The hour is a unit of measurement of time. In modern usage, an hour comprises 60 minutes, or 3,600 seconds...

A minute is a unit of measurement of time or of angle. The minute is a unit of time equal to 1/60th of an hour or 60 seconds. In the UTC time scale, a minute on rare occasions has 59 or 61 seconds; see leap second. The minute is not an SI unit; however, it is accepted for use with SI units...

1975 1st 14 days, 14:43
1976 5th
1977 4th
1978 3rd
1979 2nd
1980 9th
1981 12th 13 days, 14:14
1982 4th
1983 19th
1984 17th
1985 12th
1990 41st
1991 (scratched)
2000 40th 12 days, 2:42

Peters entered the Iditarod as a rookie in 1975, and won the race with a time of 14 days, 14 hours, 43 minutes, and 45 seconds. The two previous races in 1973 and 1974 were slower and more measured, and both were won in just over 20 days. The 1975 race was a close one, and he placed in the top 10 in the next five races. According to Peters, he earned the "Yukon Fox" nickname, "because I'd sneak away from all my competitors and have five or six teams chasing me" (Rozell, 2003). Even with a weak team of sled dog
Sled dog
Sled dogs, known also as sleigh man dogs, sledge dogs, or sleddogs, are highly trained types of dogs that are used to pull a dog sled, a wheel-less vehicle on runners also called a sled or sleigh, over snow or ice, by means of harnesses and lines.Sled dogs have become a popular winter recreation...

s, he regularly placed high in the standings.

The race changed as corporate sponsors began to fund top competitors, who ran large kennel
A kennel is the name given to any structure or shelter for dogs. A kennel is a doghouse, run, or other small structure in which a dog is kept...

s and bred faster dogs. Peters gradually fell behind, and until he broke his knee
The knee joint joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two articulations: one between the fibula and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body and is very complicated. The knee is a mobile trocho-ginglymus , which permits flexion and extension as...

 in a training accident in 1986 and stopped racing. He returned briefly in 1990 and 1991, but only placed 41st in the first year, and scratched in the second.

Peters raced his final Iditarod in 2000, and finished in 12 days, 2 hours, and 42 minutes, which is his fastest time ever. He earned the Most Inspirational Musher Award, which is given based on a vote by the other finishers. Afterwards he said, "that's it. No one is going to talk me into anything else" (Pemberton, 2000).

Peters serves as a volunteer checker at Ruby, which is an official checkpoint of the Iditarod on even-numbered years.

Alaska Native mushers

Peters had to sell his dogs to cover his debts after the races in the 1990s, and was only able to race his final race because two friends donated USD $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

10,000 each, and he leased a team from Rick Swenson
Rick Swenson
For the Saskatchewan politician see Rick Swenson .Rick Swenson, sometimes known as the "King of the Iditarod", , is an American dog musher who has won the 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across the U.S. state of Alaska more times than any other competitor...

. While Alaska Natives won the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Iditarods, and accounted for roughly a third of all the racers, by the 1980s the costs had become prohibitive and the native presence almost vanished from the race.

Expenses faced by modern teams include lightweight gear including thousands of booties and quick-change runners, special high-energy dog food
Dog food
Dog food refers to food specifically intended for consumption by dogs. Though technically omnivorous, dogs exhibit a natural carnivorous bias, have sharp, pointy teeth, and have short gastrointestinal tracts better suited for the consumption of meat...

s, veterinary care, and breeding
Selective breeding
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

 costs. According to Athabaskan musher Ken Chase, "the big expenses [for rural Alaskans] are the freight and having to buy dog food". (Hutchinson) Most modern teams cost $10,000 to $40,000, and the top 10 spend between $80,000 and $100,000 a year. Sponsors are hard to solicit without access to roads, and for most purposes snowmobiles are more economical.

A recent minor resurgence saw Ramy Brooks
Ramy Brooks
Ramy "Ray" Brooks is an Alaska Native kennel owner and operator, motivational speaker, and dog musher who specializes in long-distance races. He is a two-time runner up in the 1,049+ mi Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across the U.S...

 and John Baker
John Baker (musher)
John Quniaq Baker is self-employed American dog musher, pilot and motivational speaker of Inupiat descent who consistently places in the top 10 during the 1,000+ mi Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Baker won the 2011 Iditarod with a finish time of 8 Days 19 Hours 46 Minutes 39 Seconds.Baker started...

 place 5th and 6th in the 2005 Iditarod
2005 Iditarod
The ceremonial start of the 33rd annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across the US state of Alaska began in Anchorage on March 5, 2005 at 10 AM AKST , and restarted in Willow the next day at 2 PM...

. Ramy Brooks has placed 2nd twice, and his second place finish after Martin Buser
Martin Buser
Martin Buser is a champion of sled dog racing.Martin Buser began mushing at age seventeen in Switzerland. In 1979, Buser moved to Alaska to train and raise sled dogs full time...

's record-setting run in 2002 is the second fastest time in the history of the Iditarod.

Iditarod awards

style="text-align:right" align=bottom | Anchorage Daily News (2005)
Year Iditarod awards Criteria
1975 Rookie of the Year Award Highest placing first timer
1979 Golden Harness Best lead dog
1982 Halfway Award 1st to Cripple
2000 Most Inspirational Musher Award Chosen by other mushers
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