In the classic movie, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, is the classic line about myth and reality; The outlaw Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) has a showdown with our Hero (James Stewart) and Liberty ends up dead, but it turns out he was actually shot by John Wayne but the killing was credited to Stewart who then goes on to becomes famous and prosperous Senator on account of the fame. When the truth comes out, the newspaper editor refuses to print the revelation. Says he, “No sir! This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
All of this by way of a story in the NY Times today at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/sports/spirit-of-a-racer-in-a-siberian-huskys-blood.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha27 wherein you will meet a Westminster Dog Show winner, a racing/show husky who is the descendent of one of the overlooked heroes of the original race to Nome to deliver diphtheria serum. And, no, it wasn’t Balto.
As often happens in such cases, one of the “heroes” of that race, got overlooked, while the other went on to become famous. Balto got a statue and some movies, including Disney’s animated film, “Balto, and is now the first name that pops up when discussing the annual commemorative Iditarod race, while Togo dropped off the map.
Happily, Togo has been finally honored for his role in this rescue effort, as the New York Times story shows. But, Liberty’s Rule still rules.
If you want to read a fabulous book about the Iditarod, get a copy of Libby Riddles book, “Race Across Alaska; First Woman to Win the Iditarod tells her story.” It’s an exciting read and an informative, a nail biter account of an often brutal race that’s killingly hard on both dogs and people. And a terrific account of how extraordinary these dogs are. If you go to Libby’s website, www.libbyriddles.com/ you can order autographed copies of the book (would make great gifts for all your dog loving friends) AND she’s also got a great droll t-shirt with her image with one of her dogs, and the words: “Alaska. Where Men are Men and Women Win The Iditarod.