Iditarod festivities start with salute to late champion

Posted: Sunday, March 02, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Festivities at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race included a salute to the late Susan Butcher, a four-time champion.

Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday morning signed a bill establishing the first Saturday of every March as Susan Butcher Day. It will coincide with the start of each year's Iditarod.

"No one exemplifies the spirit of Iditarod more than Susan Butcher," Palin said. She added that Butcher was a great role model for many Alaskans, including Plain.

Butcher, the second woman to win the Iditarod, died in August 2006 of leukemia.

Joining Palin at Saturday's ceremony were Butcher's husband, Dave Monson, and their two daughters, Tekla and Chisana.

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