Susan Butcher was born on December 26, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. She studied to become a veterinarian technician and eventually moved to Alaska to pursue her passion for dog sled racing. She competed in her first Iditarod in 1978. Butcher went on to win the grueling race in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990. She died from leukemia in 2006 at the age of 51.
Early Life and Career
Dog musher Susan Howlet Butcher was born on December 26, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. Susan Butcher was raised in Cambridge and studied to become a veterinarian technician at Colorado State University. She eventually moved to Alaska to pursue her passion for dogsled racing and to train for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Susan Butcher competed in her first Iditarod in 1978. In 1985, she was forced to withdraw early after two of her dogs were killed and six were injured in an accident involving a moose. She went on to win the grueling race in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990. In doing so, she became the second four-time winner and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Susan Butcher dominated the sport for over a decade, placing in the top five 12 times during her career. She has won several honors, including the National Women's Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of The Year Award, the U.S. Victor Award and Female Athlete of the Year award.
In 2005, Susan Butcher was diagnosed with leukemia. She died on August 5, 2006 and is survived by her husband, attorney and fellow dog racer David Monson, and their two daughters, Tekla and Chisana. In 2008, the state of Alaska honored Butcher by establishing Susan Butcher Day, which is observed on the first Saturday of March.
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