In December, 2006, June shared a post on one of her blogs titled How to Enjoy the Iditarod, with friendly advice for new fans on where to go, how to meet the mushers, what happens at the start and the re-start, helpful chatty information for folks coming to Alaska to see the race: “Whereas mushers are pretty approachable on Saturday, let’s face it, that’s not for real, you’ll find the mood is much more serious on Sunday…”
Six months later, in August, 2007, June presented her readers with a book which collected all the good advice she and others had shared via several forums and listservs. Backstage Iditarod was the culmination of June’s efforts to make the race come alive for her readers, her friends, and the fans, advocates, volunteers, mushers, and everyone interested in the Last Great Race. She captured her own intentions well with her opening paragraph which introduced the book: “Backstage Iditarod is for the fan who wants more than to just watch a team take off from the start line. A collection of stories both new and old, it’s a guide for those who yearn to know what it’s really like on 4th Avenue; what they would see, hear and touch. It’s for those who want to volunteer at Race Headquarters or maybe bid to be an Idita-Rider. It’s for the dreamers who wonder what goes on at the musher banquets, both in Anchorage and in Nome. It’s for arm chair mushers who simply want to immerse themselves in everything Iditarod.”
June’s Backstage Iditarod has since become a must-have book for Iditarod fans, providing answers to the questions asked by anyone interested in the race. A video promotion for the book captured the flavor and the spirit of June’s work, her Backstage Iditarod blog has kept readers and fans updated over the years, and now June has revised and updated the book with more wonderful Iditarod stories, more delightful photos of everything related to the race, and more behind-the-scenes details of what goes on in preparation for and during the running of this great event. June covers all the most fascinating aspects: What it costs to breed, train, maintain and race a team of sled dogs. How many booties the dogs go through and who makes many of those booties (and why). What the Race Marshal’s job entails, and how he stays deeply involved even when the race is not happening. The process that goes into making high performance dog food. How a rookie musher prepares for their first run to Nome, and how the veteran finishers stay immersed and active when not racing. There’s so much good information about the race in this book, details which many people miss and questions even some of the old-timers don’t think to ask.
But the happiest part of Backstage Iditarod is the overriding sense of camaraderie it embodies. June’s inspiring approach to this book was to make it something of an Iditarod family album by inviting photographs and written submissions from those who know the race best: the mushers, volunteers, officials, fans and others whose passionate interest in the Iditarod shines through. That has made her book a delightful compendium of shared adventures and memorable photo ops from over the years, a collection of stories and images which will bring a smile to the reader as surely as the information-packed pages will bring understanding and an insider’s knowledge. Consider this book your backstage pass to one of the greatest shows on earth!
Backstage Iditarod, 2nd Edition, by June Price. 2012, Sunhusky Productions, Wasilla, Alaska. Paperback, 256 pages. ISBN-10: 0979582822 ISBN-13: 978-0979582820