Mushers From The Pas

Mushers from the past: mushers from The Pas, Manitoba, ca.1930.

Shorty Russick on the left, Emile St. Goddard on the right. Who are the other two?

At the Lake Placid Olympics, the first winter Olympics held in North America, sled dog racing was a big attraction to readers and spectators as a sport that was already well known to many fans and the general public across the US and Canada since the days of the Klondike Gold Rush and the All Alaska Sweepstakes. The New York Times and Boston Globe regularly carried news of sled dog racing events across North America. Mushing served to establish the credibility of the Winter Olympic Games in the USA and Canada. In the two day race, 7 dogs, 25 miles each day, St. Goddard, a French Canadian from the Pas was first, Seppala, a  Norwegian then living variously in Eastern Canada and USA was second and Russick, a Russian or Ukrainian living in The Pas was third.

Emile, Shorty and other North American mushers in that era traveled by train to races in Quebec, New England and Idaho with their dogs in baggage cars like the one in the background. At the race location the baggage car would be uncoupled and left on a siding as a mobile rolling dog barn for the teams.

An archive of mushing and The Pas photos here: >

The Pas freight train

These photos below from 1917 and the golden era of mushing in the 1920s and 30s are from a collection that belonged to Eddie Barbeau, a musher who was a contemporary and the same generation as men like Roland Lombard, Charles Belford, George Esslinger, Norman Vaughan, Ed Moody, Dick Moulton, Stuart Mace, Lou Wheeler, Mike West; a generation younger than Goyne and Seppala who raced the Nome Sweepstakes in the teens then spread the Alaskan style of dog mushing and racing to New England, Canada and the lower 48. The photos were given to my neighbor, Arleigh Jorgenson, when he met Barbeau at one of the early Race to the Sky events in Montana. Barbeau was living in the Helena area then.

Waiting for Arleigh’s write-up on Eddie I am posting more photos here for now…







A better copy of the Sepp photo above would show that it is inscribed and signed by Seppala to his “good friend Emile St Godard”





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