Meet the Jr. Mushers!

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Iditarod headquarters was like a family reunion Friday night at the Jr. Iditarod musher’s meeting.  The Jr. Iditarod began in 1978, and it is a remarkable musher mentor program.  Students 14 to 17 years old are competing this year in the 150-mile race which builds friendship, responsibility, and integrity in the young mushers.  I met up with some friends at the meeting, one being Joe Pendergrass, a long-time Iditarod Air Force pilot.  I met Joe in June at the Iditarod Summer Camp for teachers where he presented and shared stories from the trail.  We hugged and he handed me a special gift…my very own Iditarod Air Force pin!  I will proudly add it to my parka for the trail, alongside my Teacher on the Trail™ patch.  Flying along the Iditarod trail has been something that I have been looking forward to, and I have always secretly hoped it would be in Joe’s Cessna.  I was also so happy to see Barb Redington, the President of the Board of Directors for the Jr. Iditarod, who loves and mentors all of the young people involved.  Barb was a competitor in the very first Jr. Iditarod, and she was the red lantern winner that year.  She began the meeting, along with Danny Seavey, the race marshal.  These young people have the most incredible opportunity with this experience, and to see the love and support for them from volunteers, pilots, and parents was wonderful.  I can’t wait to be there as they cross the finish line!