why is joe redington called the father of the iditarod

Joe Redington Sr. Joe Redington Sr. killed dogs to feed to other dogs:
They came looking for us and c. a. p. [civil air patrol] found us and then they sent out rescue and wanted to rescue us. We didn t want to be rescued. Then, of course, we run out of dog food and had to kill some dogs to feed the other dogs. We didn t have airplane traffic we have today, you know. Finally I got word to the rescue unit. I worked with them at the time and c. a. p. I finally got word to them and told them I needed dog food. Joe Redington Sr. United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management interview of Joe Redington Sr. Joe Redington Sr. beat dogs who screamed: БI find that licking a dog that doesnБt scream is not the right way to discipline it. Dogs that donБt scream simply donБt respond to whipping. The screamers do. Б Б Redington, Joe Sr. , musher and writer. Vaudrin, Bill, compiler of articles. , Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, 1977 Joe Redington Sr. used electric shock to train his dogs: They rigged up a system where an electric coil ran through the team. The plan was for [Joe] Redington to stand on the sled runners, shout Geronimo! and then shock the dogs. When it came time to race they believed the dogs would be trained to leap off the starting line at the mere act of yelling the old Indian warrior s name. This was using Pavlov s theory of conditioned response. The shock device was triggered and the dogs went berserk. б Freedman, Lew. , Fairbanks: Epicenter Press, 1999 Joe Redington Sr. Бs dog Pancho died in the Iditarod from a snapped neck: БOnly a little later, just before Joe [Redington] arrived at Rohn, Pancho, a four-year old dog back in the pack snapped his neck.

Б Б Cellura, Dominique. , Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Books, 1990 Joe Redington Sr. s dog Nip died in the Iditarod: Things turned sour for [Joe] Redington again on the trail into McGrath when a dog named Nip died. Joe Redington Sr. had 527 dogs: БBy 1990 we had five hundred and twenty-seven dogs. Б Б Joe Redington Sr. , May, 1999, preface to Lew FreedmanБs book Freedman, Lew. , Fairbanks: Epicenter Press, 1999 ANCHORAGE (AP) - Even on his deathbed, Joe Redington Sr. was thinking about his gift to Alaska and dog-mushing fans everywhere - the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. ``'You keep the Iditarod going. I love the Iditarod. ' That's about the last thing he said to me,'' his son Raymie Redington said. Redington, known as the father of the Iditarod, died yesterday of esophagus cancer at his home north of Anchorage at age 82. His name was synonymous with the sport of dog mushing, and his devotion ran so deep that he will be buried in a dogsled, his family said. Redington first teamed with the late Dorothy Page to promote a race in 1967 called the Centennial Iditarod Sled Dog Race, a two-day event covering about 50 miles around Big Lake. He got more ambitious in 1973, announcing a race from Anchorage to Nome and promising a purse of $50,000. Redington worked to raise the purse up until the last minute. He sent the mushers onto the wilderness trail with a promise there would be money waiting for them at the other end. While Redington didn't run the first race, he entered every year but one from 1974 until 1992 and served on the Iditarod Trail Committee, the race's governing board. He took a break from racing after 1992, but not from mushing. Instead of speeding down the trail, he guided tourists over it after the racers were done.

Several of those customers returned to run the Iditarod. In 1997, at the age of 80, Redington was again one of the racers heading out from Anchorage for the 1,100-mile race. He finished a respectable 36th in his 19th and final Iditarod. Redington was preparing to run next year's race. ``It's not just our sport - it's our lifestyle,'' said DeeDee Jonrowe, one of the Iditarod's most successful mushers. ``Entire lives have been built around Joe's dream. '' Jonrowe met Redington in 1980, when she was living in Bethel and he came to compete in the first Kuskokwim 300 race. She said it was the beginning of a long relationship in which she received a lot of instruction and fatherly advice. ``Joe never thought it wasn't possible,'' she said. ``If you had a dream, he was about making it happen for you. He wasn't about telling you the pitfalls. '' Doug Swingley, the Lincoln, Mont. , musher who won the 1999 race, said Redington gave him crucial support after he became the first non-Alaskan to win, in 1995. ``He was one of my biggest fans, and being from the outside it was important to have guys like him on my side,'' Swingley said. Redington was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his esophagus in November 1997, and started chemotherapy soon after. His esophagus was removed in surgery two months later. His condition improved until about one month ago, when he suffered a relapse. Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles has ordered flags flown at half-staff through Saturday to honor Redington. Redington was saddened to see the Iditarod's pace quicken dramatically in the past decade. ``They've took the fun out of running the race,'' he said before the 1997 Iditarod. ``You never see a campfire anywhere.

There's never any time for visiting. '' But in that race, Redington did take some time for visiting, speaking to friends in villages along the trail. In earlier years Redington was among the Iditarod's leaders. His top finish was fifth place, a spot he filled four times - in 1975, 1977, 1978 and 1988. He was among the top 10 finishers seven times. While the Iditarod may have grown into something Redington didn't envision in 1973, it has been a key force in keeping dog mushing alive. The continued use of dog teams wasn't at all guaranteed in the 1960s and 1970s as snowmobiles came to Bush Alaska and provided faster, more convenient transportation. Redington was born Feb. 1, 1917, in rural Oklahoma, near Kingfisher, and his family wandered the country looking for farm work until they settled in Bucks County, Pa. , just before the Great Depression. That's where he met his wife, Vi, when he was 14. Redington and a friend set out for Alaska in 1934, but they ran out of money in Seattle and had to turn back. Then, in 1948, he and Vi drove two Jeeps to Alaska. At a border trading post Redington picked up the first of thousands of husky puppies he would eventually raise. The couple homesteaded in Knik, about 18 miles north of Anchorage, and had 40 dogs two years later. The Redingtons married in 1953. In addition to his dog mushing work, Redington worked as a commercial fisherman and a miner. Surviving in addition to his wife are sons Raymie, Joee, and Tim and daughter Shelia. A commemoration of his life will be held Saturday at Iditarod headquarters in Wasilla from 1 p. m. to 4 p. m. The burial service will be private.

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