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Alaska Writing Site
In the shadow of Joe Redington
By Wyatt Miller
“100 years from now people will never know that my dad started the Iditarod or that he ran a dog team to the top of Mt. McKinley. Some will always know that he made the Iditarod trail a National Historical trail,” says Tim Redington. Redington, the son of Joe Redington Sr., has experienced Alaska change during statehood, and knows anything and everything about the woods of our great state.
He was born and raised in Alaska. He and his family lived yearlong on Flat-Horn Lake in a tent from the time he was eight years old until he was 16. “You kids nowadays around here think this is out in the country; this is downtown. There was nothing out there, a lake, fish and animals,” Redington said. His entertainment with his three brothers out on Flat-horn was tending to a couple hundred dogs, hunting, and fishing. Once statehood came in 1959, it started to get tense with the Fish and Game biologists. “Till the biologist started to come doing their thing it was ok,” Redington said. He remembers being young and hearing his dad, Joe, always talk about punching the Iditarod trail to Nome. In the 60s Joe started to push more to get a race going. Redington said that his dad was always a dog person since he was in the air force hauling planes and causalities off the sides of mountains with a dog team.
While Joe was working with the Iditarod, Redington and his brothers were out running sprint races in Anchorage and around the state; these included the Fur-Rondy and the All American. Tim said he never was a part of helping Joe because they ran different races. “Being the son of the father of the Iditarod it wasn’t any different. When you’re speed racing you’re racing every week and you hardly even see one another; when you’re speed racing you don’t even realize the Iditarod is that weekend because you’re somewhere else,” Tim said. He believes Joe Redington’s greatest accomplishment was making the trail to Nome, the Iditarod trail, a national historical trail.
After a divorce, Time Redington decided to take a drive and check out Whitehorse. On his way he received a phone call from Dick Winningham. Dick told him to drop by Kenny Lake and check it out. He fell in love and bought a piece of land from the Small Business Administration between the Mercantile and the Community Hall. Redington moved to Kenny Lake in 1987 and started to build.
Whether it was living in a tent year long, moving to Kenny Lake in 1987, or being the son of the “Father of the Iditarod,” Redington deserves the title “Good ol’ Alaskan.” He remembers the day he was ready to run the Iditarod, but couldn’t, and wish he had. The experience of running his father’s race would be a memory he would never forget.