HUMAN

Name: RICHARD BURNHAM
Age: 70
Residence: KALTAG, ALASKA
Occupation: I DO A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING – HUNTING, TRAPPING, FISHING, CHECKING FOR IDITAROD
Years involved with Iditarod: SINCE 1975
Iditarod Role: I’M KIND OF THE OVERSEER. I DO THE BACKGROUND WORK. AND ONCE THAT’S DONE, THEN PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO THE PHYSICAL DAY-TO-DAY STUFF OR HOUR-TO-HOUR STUFF. THEY COME IN AND DO THEIR WORK.
Current Location: KALTAG, ALASKA
Date of Photo: MARCH 9, 2019
Temperature: 31F / OUTDOORS

What is your Why?.. Why are you here today and involved in Iditarod?:

WELL, IF YOU’VE EVER RUN THE RACE, YOU KNOW, YOU’RE INVOLVED. AND ME BEING HERE ON THIS CHECKPOINT, WHICH IS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE IDITAROD, IT’S JUST ALMOST LIKE A SACRED DUTY. I NEED TO KIND OF BE THERE FOR ANOTHER TO MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS AGAIN.

Tell me about your most rewarding experience on Iditarod?:

THE FIRST ONE. I RAN MY FIRST RACE ON LESS THAN A SHOESTRING. I BORROWED STUFF. I HAD BORROWED DOGS, I HAD EVERYTHING LIKE THAT. AND YET, EVERYTHING KIND—AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A SLED DOG WAS 5 MONTHS BEFORE THE RACE. AND EVERYTHING KIND OF STARTED TO COME TOGETHER; PEOPLE HELPING ME AND THIS AND THAT. THEY KIND OF WANTED TO LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH MY EXPERIENCES, I GUESS. SO THEY HELPED ME IN ALL KINDS OF WAYS. AND BY GOLLY! I GOT MY TEAM TOGETHER AND STARTED AT THE STARTING LINE. AND AS MUCH TROUBLES AS I HAD FOR BEING INEXPERIENCED, I HAPPENED TO WATCH OTHER MUSHERS WHO KIND OF KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING, AND I WAS ABLE TO STRUGGLE THROUGH. AND I ENDED UP IN 21ST POSITION THAT YEAR.

What do you know for sure?:

I’M 70 YEARS OLD NOW AND HOW MANY MORE YEARS THERE ARE, I DON’T KNOW. BUT ALL I WANT TO DO IS ENJOY MY GRANDKIDS, MAYBE SOME GREAT GRANDKIDS HERE SHORTLY. AND BEING ABLE TO KIND OF BE A PART OF THE IDITAROD AS LONG AS I’M ABLE TO PHYSICALLY HELP OUT.

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