Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Cliff Sisson, of Kasilof, walks out of his house with a braking mechanism for a wooden Iditarod sled he and two companions are building Thursday Feb. 20, 2014 in Kasilof, Alaska.
History in the Making—Trio recreates freight sled
By DAN BALMER
Three life-long friends, joined together by dog mushing, are in the midst of a massive project set to pay homage to the history of the sport while showcasing a dying craft.
Brothers Rod and Alan Perry along with Cliff Sisson have spent hundreds of hours over the past four months crammed inside Sisson’s workshop in Kasilof, a space just large enough to hold their creation, a freight dog sled. It is 16 feet long and made entirely out of solid white oak. The men are working around the clock to complete the sled in time for the ceremonial start of Iditarod XLII on March 1 in downtown Anchorage where thousands of spectators gather to see the racers off.
The project is the brainchild of Rod Perry, 71, one of 22 finishers in the first Iditarod Dog Sled Race in 1973. Between the brothers and Sisson, whose families have known each other since 1926 and grew up together in Oregon, the group competed in seven Iditarod races in the first seven years. Sisson was the last to race in 1979 and the three men went their separate ways until an archaic sled design brought them back together.