WASILLA — Sled dog racing legend Dick Mackey will be inducted into the Knik Museum’s Musher’s Hall of Fame.
Mackey, 86, will personally attend the ceremony to accept the induction and the public is invited to celebrate with him on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m., at the Knik Museum at Mile 13.9 of Knik-Goose Bay Road.
“He’s still alive and he’s a main player in what we know of the Iditarod… and able to come. That’s a pretty big deal for us ” Robbin Robbert, president of the Knik Museum, said.
There will be a community potluck picnic with beverages and dessert. Admission for this event and tours inside the museum will be free. It’s one of two days of the year people can tour the museum for free.The other is the free Hobo Jim concert.
After the speeches, Mackey will have his picture taken by the Iditarod’s longtime official photographer Jeff Schultz. Mackey’s photo will be mounted on the wall alongside the other notable names in the Musher’s Hall of Fame.
Robbert noted that most of the frames broke during the Nov. 30, 2018, earthquake and proceeds from the raffle will help buy new frames.
Mackey’s name is well known in the mushing and Iditarod community. He is credited for helping put the Last Great Race into the forefront of public interest, gaining attention all over the world. He won the Iditarod in 1978, defeating defending champion Rick Swenson by one second.
“That was big news… Seems like since then it’s just been building,” Robbert said.
According to Diane Johnson’s 2016 “Where Are They Now?” article on the official Iditarod website, it was the “most exciting victory” in the history of the race.
“That race helped cement the Iditarod on the world map and to this day stands as the most dramatic victory in the Iditarod’s 44-year history,” Johnson stated in the article.
Mackey is also the patriarch of one of Alaska’s most noted mushing families. Mackey has two sons, Rick and Lance, who are also Iditarod champions. Rick won the race in 1983. Lance captured four straight titles from 2007 through 2010.
Dick Mackey will also join Lance in the Musher’s Hall of Fame. Lance was inducted in 2015.
Robbert said he is excited to have him come out and mingle with the community as they all take time to recognize his mushing legacy.
“I think he’ll have a lot of stories,” Robbert said.
For more information, call 907-376-7755.
Contact Mat-Su Valley reporter Jacob Mann at: firstname.lastname@example.org