Name: Tekla Butcher Monson

Age: 26
Residence: Fairbanks, Alaska

Occupation: I am currently the general manager at trail breaker kennel, and taking over my family’s dog and tourism business.

Years involved with Iditarod: I’ve been involved with the Iditarod as the child of racers and as a spectator. And in 2007, I wore the ceremonial number one bib when my mom was being honored as a ceremonial musher, and I mushed 700 miles at age 11 from Anchorage to Nome.

Current Location: Settler’s Bay Lodge in Wasilla, Alaska
Date of Photo: March 1, 2022

Temperature: 68 F Indoors

How did you first get involved with the Iditarod?

I first got involved with Iditarod when I was about seven years old, my mom took me out on the, Iditarod trail. She was being a commentator or something, and I think she wanted to show me the joy and hospitality that people have out on the trail. And so we flew along and we made it all the way to Nome and we watched the teams come in and I could definitely tell why my parents loved it and why they loved being a part of this community, because it is so exciting and such a feeling of pride in the dogs and the humans throughout their time on the trail.

What was your most memorable Iditarod experience?

One of my most memorable Iditarod experiences was in 2007, being an 11 year old dog musher at old woman cabin. Now that’s halfway to the checkpoint of Unalakleet and me and my family were doing a memorial run of the Iditarod trail. We were running 700 miles from our homestead in Eureka, Alaska, all the way to Nome to honor my mom’s life and her career and her contributions to the Iditarod. And we stopped for a 24 hour rest at old woman, because that was one of my mom’s favorite spots. We climbed to the top of the old woman hill. We scattered her ashes, watched the teams come by and it was just so beautiful to see that heart of Alaska, to see the coast off in the distance and to hang out with some really tired mushers in the cabin when they stopped to rest their dogs for a little bit, that was very special.

What does the 50th running of the Iditarod mean to you?

Knowing that this is the 50th Iditarod makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. You know, the way my parents talk about it, they knew it at its infancy and they’ve been a part of it for so long. But I look around this room today at the 50th anniversary gala, and I see just all these people who still have a pride in the race. And I see all the people in my generation who have excitement for the race going forward. And it makes me really excited to be at the hundredth anniversary with my peers.

What do you know for sure?:

I’m sure … What I know for sure in life is that I love community so much. And I don’t know if I get that from growing up around dogs or growing up around the hospitality of being freezing cold and coming into a cabin and having people care for you. But I remember really specifically being out on the Iditarod trail with my mom when I, in 2004 and we got to the first checkpoint and we went inside the checkpoint headquarters and there were just people cooking and people sitting around their socks and that feeling of like community and shared experience of being out on a very cold trail that made me love community. And I know I love it. Can’t help it.



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