“LIBBY DID IT!” This was the headline plastered across the front page of the Anchorage Times. On March 20th, 1985, Libby Riddles made history. She became the first woman to win the grueling 1,049-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race, after a daring move across Norton Sound in a deadly blizzard.
The feat captured the attention of the nation, and people all over the world began to pay attention to the sport of dog mushing. Joe Redington, the “Father of the Iditarod “told the press, “She went out in that storm when nobody else would move. She is a great musher…… She done it the hard way”.
In addition to her win, she gave credibility to the sport by receiving the “Sportswoman of the Year” Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation, and a Victor Award for Excellence in Sports. She has been honored with Humanitarian Awards for Best Treatment of Dogs in the Iditarod, the Kusko 300, and the John Beargrease Races.
Her racing career spanned 20 years, including distance, sprint, mid distance and stage racing, including in the European Alps.
Today, Riddles continues to raise and train sled dogs, and is a motivational speaker, sharing her mushing experiences and selling the award winning books she has written about her adventures. “Race Across Alaska” is one of the foremost books written about the Iditarod. “Danger the Dog Yard Cat” and the auto-biography “Storm Run” are favorite Alaskan children’s books and are used in thousands of classrooms.
Libby Riddles was born in Madison Wisconsin. She grew up in Washington State and Minnesota, and moved to Alaska at age 16. She homesteaded in a remote area of western Alaska, and lived for six years in an Inupiat village in Northern Alaska. Her love of animals evolved into a recreational interest in sled dogs, and later, a passion for sled dog racing and a monumental victory in the Iditarod, the “Last Great Race On Earth.”
Libby currently lives in Homer, Alaska, and her Blazing Kennels has 28 sled dogs. After three summers in Juneau developing the number one rated “heli-mushing” tour, she is now one of the main Alaskan presenters for Princess Cruises, and enjoys being one of the leading representatives of her sport to the thousands of visitors every summer who come to her on board shows.