Send this article to Promobot

Iditarod champ returns home to Kotzebue parade, gives motivational talk at school

March 22nd 12:54 am | Alex DeMarban Print this article   Email this article   Create a Shortlink for this article

Iditarod champ and record-breaker John Baker returned home to a hero's welcome Monday afternoon, complete with a siren-wailing parade and traditional drumming and dancing by Kotzebue's Northern Lights Dancers.

Of course, he also gave an inspirational speech at the high school. See videos by Cathy Jones at her blog by clicking here. [http://tundratantrum.blogspot.com/]

The celebration was awesome and appropriately loud.

Sharon Milbocker, mayor's assistant at the Northwest Arctic Borough, heard someone call the parade the "Fourth of July in March."

An apt description, she said.

No candy was tossed out, but fire trucks and ambulances made all the noise they could. A caravan of cars blared a cacophony of horns. Baker, whisked from the airport, rode in a truck with family and waved, said Milbocker.

"Everyone's very happy to share in that win with him," she said. "He's the first Native to win in how many years?"

Thirty-five, to be exact.

Baker, an Inupiaq and 48, won this year's race after he and his dog team covered more than 1,123 miles in 8 days, 18 hours, and 46 minutes, setting a new record.

 


Alex DeMarban can be reached at alex@alaskanewspapers.com

Copyright 2014 The Arctic Sounder is a publication of Alaska Media, LLC. This article is © 2014 and limited reproduction rights for personal use are granted for this printing only. This article, in any form, may not be further reproduced without written permission of the publisher and owner, including duplication for not-for-profit purposes. Portions of this article may belong to other agencies; those sections are reproduced here with permission and Alaska Media, LLC makes no provisions for further distribution.