Monday, March 23, 2009

Lance Mackey Wins 3rd Consecutive Iditarod

By MARY PEMBERTON The Associated Press
Published: March 19, 2009

NOME, Alaska: Lance Mackey has done it again.

The 38-year-old son of 1978 Iditarod champion Dick Mackey crossed the finish line Wednesday in the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race hours in front of the competition, joining an elite group of only two other mushers to put together three consecutive wins.

"We are so proud of you, Lance, and we're considering this the greatest team in Iditarod history," Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said.

She also told Mackey, a throat cancer survivor, "You continue to give all of us hope, the adversity that you have overcome, the challenges you've met, believe me, it resonates across our nation and across our world."

Mackey — a popular figure in Alaska now being called "the people's musher" — then thanked fans despite having slept little in the past 10 days. He accepted their congratulations and signed autographs with people lined up three-deep along the finish chute.

Mackey commended his "little superstar Maple," a 3-year-old female who was in the lead for much of the last part of the race.

He hauled her and 9-year-old Larry, one of his traditional lead dogs, onto the stage with him.

Mackey became the third musher in the race's 37-year history to win in three consecutive years, joining Susan Butcher (1986-88) and Doug Swingley (1999-01).

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