In 1935, when Anchorage had just a population of about 3,000, resident Vern Johnson organized a three-day sports tournament. Called the Winter Sports Carnival it was timed to cincide with the rendezvous’ of the time which brought fur trappers and swappers together and hoped to raise the community’s spirits. As the fur trade was then the second-largest industry in Alaska, adding it to the event seemed natural and it was renamed the Winter Sports Tournament and Fur Rendezvous. Now it is just Fur Rendezvous.
According to a press release from Fur Rondy marketing manager Susan Sommer the 2013 Fur Rendezvous announced the Fur Rondy Queen and Princesses, and the King and Queen Regents at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Shayla Silva was named Miss Fur Rendezvous and will reign for one year as Rondy Queen. Native to Alaska, Shayla was born and raised in Fairbanks. While growing up as an avid athlete in her community, she also had aspirations to travel the world. Opportunities opened doors for her to venture through the Midwest to Southeast Asia. Shayla is back in Alaska completing her economics degree.
Avery J. Kristiansen is one of this year’s two Rondy Princesses. She was born in Anchorage and spent the first nine years of her life on the Kenai Peninsula. She has resided in Anchorage for the last eleven years. Avery graduated in 2010 from Service High School and now attends the University of Alaska Anchorage where she’s in her third year majoring in hospitality and restaurant management. In her spare time she enjoys fishing, camping, hiking and the overall beauty of Alaska.
Sierra Rain Begich Slade was also named Rondy Princess. She was born in Eagle River. Some of her favorite things are being outdoors during Alaska’s beautiful summers, cooking and playing with her five-year-old sister. She has a passion for her community, travel and continuing her e ucation. Sierra is looking forward to traveling abroad to study and volunteer this summer, and is currently working towards a BAA at UAA this semester. She says she can’t wait to use her education to enrich the community she grew up in.
The King and Queen Regents were also announced at today’s gathering. Doug and Shirley Iverson met in Alaska before statehood and have been married for 57 years. They are active in the community and are Life Members of Pioneers of Alaska. They’ve worked many years with local Lions Clubs to produce the Miners & Trappers Charity Ball held each year during Fur Rondy. The King and Queen Regents are selected from within the membership of the Pioneers of Alaska.
Those chosen as Fur Rondy Royalty serve as goodwill ambassadors for the 10-day festival. Royalty connects with the community and promotes Rondy during the celebrations and throughout the year. Lord and Lady Trapper will be announced soon.
Fur Rondy is the nation’s premiere winter festival. Since 1935, Rondy has proudly represented the pioneering spirit of Alaskans through sports and events.
Fur Rondy events run from Feb. 22 – Mar. 3, 2013. Traditionally it lasted just 10 days but since 2004 it has extended through early March in order to lead into the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and draw more visitors.
The original Winter Sports Carnival included skiing, hockey, basketball, boxing and a sled dog race for children, as well as a bonfire and torchlight parade. Modern Rondy has over 100 events.
Modern Rondy has well over 100 events, including: Rondy Grand Prix - the oldest street race in the U.S.; Official Fur Rondy Fur Auction - the descendant of the original fur trade rendezvous, present since the earliest days; Miners’ and Trappers’ Charity Ball and Mr. Fur Face beard contest (since 1950) - Beards are grown as long as possible and they are dyed, decorated and shaped for this contest; World Championship Sled Dog Race (since 1946, with a women’s race since 1953) - This three-day, 75-mile sled dog race brings mushers from across Alaska and the world. However, it is often canceled in recent years due to warm weather, with the most recent cancellation being in 2006; World Championship Dog Weight Pull (since 1967) - sled dogs attempt to pull the greatest weight; Miss Fur Rendezvous pageant (from at least late 1950s  through mid 1970s ), also called Miss Fur Rondy; Snow Sculpture Competition; Fur Rondy Carnival; Frostbite Footrace - Costumed competitors run through downtown Anchorage; Rondy Grand Parade; Running of the Reindeer began 2008; Rondy on Ice - figure skating show; World Ice Bowling Championships; and many events tend toward the whimsical, such as the Outhouse Races (in which teams build outhouses and pull them on skis with a rider inside), ice bowling, or even snowshoe softball matches. Others focus on Alaska Native culture, such as the Multi-Tribal Gathering and Native Arts and Crafts Show.