Conway Seavey has won the 2014 Jr. Iditarod. He crossed the finish line at Happy Trails Kennel in Big Lake, Alaska at 7:50 a.m. this morning (Sunday Feb 23rd) with 10 dogs on his team. Seavey, 17, of Sterling, Alaska has Seward roots. He is the youngest son of last year’s Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey and mother Janine, and grandson of Dan and Shirley Seavey, of Seward. Seavey began mushing when he was four, following the example set by his three older brothers, his father and his grandfather. He has now finished the Jr. Iditarod four times. His main focus is singing and songwriting, but he says while he doesn’t plan to run dogs professionally in the future, he will always do it for fun.
Seavey was closely followed by Ben Harper, from Wasilla, Alaska, another race veteran, who finished just two minutes later, making it “a real race,” said Barb Redington, Executive Director of the Jr. Iditarod. Both were race veterans.
Moose Pass Rookie musher Ashley Guernsey, at 14 one of four rookies in the race, and also the youngest racer in the pack, did very well, arriving at the finish line at 11:11 a.m. in seventh place. Ashley was smiling and appeared happy at the end of the race, Redington said. When Redington asked her if she was ready to try again next year, she replied, “I guess so.”
Ashley has wanted to run the Iditarod since she saw a documentary at age six about the first woman to finish Alaska’s Great Race. Inspired, she told her mother she wanted to do that, and she followed through, with the help of her mentor, Rick Tarpey, of Crown Point, who had raced the Iditarod in the ‘80s. She also got help from the Seavey’s, and volunteered for some of their Mayor’s Cup races. She raced this weekend with some of Tarpey’s dogs, from Soggy Dawg Kennel, and with some dogs contributed by Mitch Seavey. She had a host of local sponsors and well-wishers. Ashley is a student at Seward Middle School.
Heidi Zemach for SCN