In the last third of this year’s Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in Alaska, musher Allan Moore was making his way along the Seward Peninsula coastline when he encountered another musher in trouble. Karin Hendrickson and her dogs were stopped on sea ice in strong wind. Other mushers had passed Hendrickson, either not realizing the danger she was in or not wanting to get stuck on the sea ice themselves, but Moore stopped.
“She started getting cold, cramping, and started getting hypothermic,” Moore later told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Hendrickson couldn’t walk and couldn’t pull her sleeping bag over herself to warm up.
Presenting the Fred Meyer Sportsmanship Award to Moore, musher DeeDee Jonrowe said, “This driver stopped, assessed the situation, saw that she had slurred speech and was … unable to take care of herself, unable to deal with the situation at hand.”
Moore helped Hendrickson up, walked her around, and made sure she was hydrated. Then he attached Hendrickson’s team to the back of his sled, and his dogs led the way to safety. Hendrickson stayed in the race for another day before scratching. Moore placed 24th, his best finish in his five Iditarod races.
Accepting the award, Moore said, “I didn’t do anything special … Most people would stop and help someone, especially when they see a musher in trouble. Hopefully, somebody will pick me up one of these days, which I’m sure I’ll need.”
* Moore’s wife Aliy Zirkle also competed in the race and also won an award. The Iditarod veterinarians gave her the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for excellence in dog care and humane treatment of the animals.
* The winner of the race was John Baker, the first native Alaskan to win since 1976, and the first Eskimo ever to win. He covered the 1,150 miles from Anchorage to Nome in eight days, 19 hours, and 46 minutes, beating the previous record by three hours.