March 23, 2017

2013 Honorary Musher, Scooter Newman

2013 Honorary Musher, Scooter Newman by Terrie  Hanke

Scooter Newman has been recognized by the Board of Directors as the Honorary Musher for the 2013 Jr. Iditarod. Scooter was born in Los Angeles, California. The family moved to Lawson, Missouri where she attended grade school. About the time she celebrated her 13th  birthday, Scooter and her older brother, Michael, moved north to live with their father, Howie Newman. Specifically, they were on their way to Knik, Alaska. While it doesn’t seem likely that a girl born in California and growing up in Missouri would ever stand on the runners of a sled and drive sled dogs, the move to Knik changed everything. After all, she was now living in Redington country a place where the history and importance of sled dogs was celebrated and there was the support of the Knik Dog Mushers group. She fell in love with the first sled dog she met and became enthralled by the sport of mushing.

The enthusiastic, athletic and outdoor loving Newman children happily accepted the invitation to try mushing. Soon they were training sled dogs, impressing their mentors with their work ethic and abilities. Not long after they began racing.

The inaugural Jr. Iditarod took place in 1978. Scooter and her brother were at the starting line. Michael was running a 10-dog team in the “Senior” division and Scooter was running 6 of Raymie Redington’s dogs in the “Junior” division of the Jr. Iditarod. Scooter placed second in her division while Michael claimed the championship of his division. That was the only year the Jr. Iditarod was run in two divisions.

Scooter continued to race. She placed fifth in the 1979 Jr. and fourth in the 1980 race. She claimed the Fur Rondy Seven-dog Jr. Championship of 1980. Later that spring, Scooter graduated from Wasilla High School and continued her education at Anchorage Community College with a scholarship from the Matanuska Chapter of the National Secretaries Association.

Barb Redington, who also participated in the first Jr. Iditarod, remembers Scooter as a priceless friend. She was a really good person who loved  mushing and loved the Jr. Iditarod. She worked well with dogs and understood them. She was very competitive and worked hard to do the best for her dogs and do her best in every race. In running the first three Jr. Iditarod Races, Scooter influenced other young girls to participate in the sport as well as run dogs competitively. At the very young age of 50, Scooter passed away in August of 2012. She’s an inspiring part of Jr. Iditarod history and this recognition is a well-deserved memorial.