Canada was well represented under the burled arch as Jason Campeau brought his team to Nome in 10 days 4 hours 10 minutes and 35 seconds. His wife and father were on hand to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment in only his second Iditarod.
Jason first went down the gangline and hugged and thanked every one of his dogs for a job well done. Jason’s father got in the act and showed some love to this special team that brought his son to Nome. At Jason’s Atka kennel, dog mushing is a family affair.
Jason’s wife, Jennifer, surprised him under the arch and she and their twin daughters, Jessica and Mackenzie, share his passion for the sport. She collected his pink dog booties that I handed out to eager children and fans on Front Street. Jason’s mother told me in Anchorage at the ceremonial start that Jason preferred the bright neon colors because they are easy to see on the trail. I first met Jason when I rode in his sled as an IditaRider…and I have been a fan ever since.
The Iditarod Insider crew interviewed Jason about his trail experiences, and several mushers such as Richie Diehl, were waiting to shake his hand.
I remember the last time I saw Jason on the trail in the tiny, remote village of Shaktoolik. Even though I’m sure he was quite tired, he really engaged the village children that came into the one-room checkpoint in a thoughtful and friendly way. Jason is dedicated to helping underprivileged youth at his Atka Kennel, and he says, “We feel that dogs and mushing are a great way to connect with kids and truly have an impact with them.”
Jason and Jennifer jumped on the back of his sled and headed out to the dog lot together, as a team… a wonderful way to end his 2016 Iditarod.