Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Bobby Vent, Interview 2

Bobby Vent was interviewed on May 30, 2003 by Bill Schneider in Huslia, Alaska, and recorded by Kathy Turco of Alaska Spirit Speaks. The recording was made during a workshop on climate change when Kathy and Bill were in Huslia. This interview compliments an earlier interview with Bobby Vent done by Wendy Arundale in 1992 (Oral History 93-15-55, click on Bobby Vent, Interview 1 in Digital Assets Information to access this earlier interview). In this 2003 interview, Bobby focuses on when he ran the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. He infuses the story with a great deal of excitement and seemed to enjoy the re-telling. It is one of the few recordings about the early years of the race.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-27-11

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: May 30, 2003
Narrator(s): Bobby Vent
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
People Present: Kathy Turco
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Early days in sled dog racing

2) On the trail during a race

3) What happens at the end of and after a race

4) Using dogs for other purposes and chopping wood for river steamships

5) Story about discovering an ancient mammoth tusk

6) His observations of changes in the weather

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: sled dog racing\ Iditarod\ dogs\ North American Championship Sled Dog Race\ Sams, Barney\ dogs -- lead\ race -- checkpoints\ Rainy Pass\ ice -- glare\ trail -- lost\ Attla, George\ camping\ trail -- finding\ Nikolai\ school yard\ McGrath|

Section 2: trail\ camping\ Long Creek\ mining camp\ Bear Creek\ weather -- dealing with\ weather -- bad\ Ruby\ trail -- breaking\ trail -- snow machine\ Esmailka, Harold\ Galena\ Nulato\ Kaltag\ Unalakleet\ Nome\ Wilmart, Dick\ trail -- wrong\ ice -- cracks\ Cape Nome\ town -- lights of\ finish -- placement\ dogs -- number finished with|

Section 3: dog race -- end of\ pictures\ trophy\ prize -- dollar amount\ Anchorage\ airplane\ Bettles\ North American Championship Sled Dog Race\ lead dog -- Kaiser\ store -- opening\ store -- running\ Vent, Bobby -- daughter|

Section 4: wood -- hauling\ school\ Anvik\ wood -- amount of\ Holy Cross -- mission\ Iditarod\ picnic\ Grayling\ illness -- flu\ illness -- smallpox\ death\ dogs -- loose\ wood -- chopping\ dog team -- use of\ boat -- steamboat\ river -- beach\ sled\ wood -- cords of\ wood -- types of\ wood -- log splitting\ tools -- sledge hammer \ tools -- wedge|

Section 5: tusk -- mammoth\ tusk -- discovery\ Vent, Bobby -- son\ rock -- clay\ sand\ tusk -- sticking out\ tusk -- removal\ beach\ tusk -- size of\ Fairbanks\ tusk -- sale of\ museum\ tusk -- location\ tusk -- age of\ Iditarod Sled Dog Race\ race -- end of\ picture|

Section 6: weather -- change\ weather -- warming\ temperature -- change\ Africa\ bones -- finding\ mining camp\ weather -- turned around\ North Pole\ lake\ water level -- change in\ ice\ snow\ environnment -- observations of\ winter -- cold\ tusk -- meaning of\ climate -- change in\ Vent, Bobby -- father\ Vent, Edward\ Scotland\ Canada\ prospecting\ Yukon River\ John River\ Koyukok River\ Grayling\ illness -- flu\ childhood\ age\ wife -- age of\ Iditarod\ inspiration\ dog race\ North American Championship Sled Dog Race\ race -- winning\ race -- time\ Fairbanks\ dogs -- transportation of\ airplane\ Bettles|