Seymour Antelope visits Alaska during the Iditarod Ceremonial Start
and Runs with the Reindeer during Fur Rondy 2012
Fellow coworkers, friends and fans – Thank you so much for all of your support in the 2012 Fur Rondy events. What an exciting time it was to be visiting the great state of Alaska and to see all of the excitement that surrounds the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Being able to visit BLM Alaska’s Campbell Tract and Campbell Creek Science Center and seeing all the families for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod was the highlight of the trip. I was so fortunate to meet the legendary Centennial musher, Dan Seavey. What an amazing man he is, he nearly cracked my hoof when we shook hands and it was great to hear him talk about preserving open, wild and public places for future generations.
I couldn’t tell if the adults or the kids were having more fun in singing “happy birthday to the Iditarod,” and to add to the enjoyment, Dan even let me blow the candles out on the cake!
As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, going to downtown Anchorage, where thousands of participants and spectators were there for the “Running of the Reindeer,” was almost overwhelming. It was obvious from the amount of people that wanted pictures with me that Alaskans were surprised to see a Pronghorn Antelope in the nation’s last frontier. When it came to the race, I thought it was going to be pretty even, but it turned out that my large antlered Reindeer cousins, who I thought were the antelope of the north, just couldn’t keep up with us fleet footed Pronghorns. Being the first of the four legged racers to cross the finish line, it was quite a sight to turn around and see the funny and oddly dressed humans dodging a herd of Reindeer as they came down Anchorage’s 4th Avenue.
This was truly an “adventure of a lifetime,” a story that will be shared over and over again. And who knows, maybe one day my home state of New Mexico will host a “running of the antelope.”
I want to send a giant thank you to my fantastic group of volunteer BLM-Alaska handlers that showed me around Anchorage and ran with the Reindeer with me! I do hope I can get back up your way again sometime.