The Iditarod Through the Decades: 1960s


This episode of Mushing Radio explores the history of the Iditarod Trail and the development of the Iditarod sled dog race. The conversation covers the 1960s, a decade marked by optimism and progress, both in the United States and in Alaska. The chapter titles reflect the major themes discussed, including the influence of President Kennedy’s vision for the Apollo space program, the modernization and challenges faced by Alaska, the role of dogs in Alaskan life, the rise of snow machines, the efforts of Joe Redington and Dorothy Page to establish the Iditarod race, and the connection between the moon landing and the Iditarod.


  • The 1960s was a decade of optimism and progress, both in the United States and in Alaska.
  • The Apollo space program and President Kennedy’s vision for landing a man on the moon influenced the can-do spirit of the era.
  • Alaska experienced growth and modernization in the 1960s, but also faced challenges in terms of infrastructure and remote living conditions.
  • Dogs played a vital role in Alaskan life, serving as transportation and working animals.
  • The rise of snow machines in the 1960s marked a shift away from traditional dog sledding.
  • Joe Redington and Dorothy Page were instrumental in establishing the Iditarod sled dog race, which celebrated Alaska’s history and the role of sled dogs.
  • The moon landing in 1969 inspired Redington to envision a longer race along the Iditarod Trail.



00:00: Introduction and Background
01:05: Kennedy’s Vision and the Apollo Space Program
02:10Alaska in the 1960s
03:04: Modernization and Challenges in Alaska
04:15: The Role of Dogs in Alaska
05:10: Modernization and the Rise of Snow Machines
07:28: Joe Redington and the Iditarod Trail
09:38: Dorothy Page and the Centennial Race
12:07: The First Iditarod Race
14:18: Challenges and Setbacks
16:07: Expansion of the Iditarod Race
17:56: The Moon Landing and the Iditarod
18:25: Preview of the 1970s
19:21: Sponsor Message: Alaska Dog Works
20:24: Conclusion and Call to Action