Contributed by Carrielee Dunphy
3/1/2017 - 6pm – 9pm
Big Lake Lions Recreation Center
2942 S Lions Ct, Wasilla
Bud Smyth came to Alaska in the 1950s and homesteaded in Houston. He built a log cabin using sled dogs, a swede saw and an ax. He has been involved in sled dogs and promoting the sport ever since.
He was close friends with mushing legends, Joe Redington and George Attla. He was involved in the early stages of supporting Joe Redington’s dream of the Iditarod. He raced in multiple early Iditarods including the first race from Anchorage to Nome. He contributed heavily to the flavor and lore of the Iditarod.
In 1976, he placed 4th. In 1977, he dedicated his whole year of training to Colonel Norman Vaughn’s dream of finishing Iditarod. Bud even went as far as leasing his 4th place team to another musher and training an entirely new team to support Vaughn with. Norman Vaughn did not end up racing that year, so Bud ran the Iditarod as Vasily Zamitkyn, the Russian, finishing in 22 days 9 hours 6 minutes and 6 seconds.
In 1983, Bud was the first musher to utilize a major dog carrier and started Iditarod with 36 dogs. It was George Attla’s idea. Bud just adapted it and put it into use. Bud has always helped any person or musher in need. He has a passion for giving advice to and helping beginning mushers. He has helped multiple generations of mushers learn the ropes. He is not done with that passion yet.
Bud was very involved in the early stages of planning for the Yukon Quest with Leroy Shank. Bud was rarely mentioned, but was an important force. He re-pioneered the first hundred miles of the first Yukon Quest trail with his own dog team. He has been involved with the Aurora Dog Musher’s Club for many years and one time his team took down a moose while mushing to the Aurora Club race start in Big Lake.
Bud is a true pioneer of Alaska. He has more bear stories and tales of all kinds of Alaskan adventures than most folks would believe. He built his own wooden boat to fish in Bristol Bay and partnered with Joe Redington for permits. He helped build the Alaska pipeline, homesteaded in multiple places in Alaska and operated a fish wheel and barge on the Yukon to name a few of his Alaskan adventures.
What he is best known for is his kindness to strangers, living the life he believed in, helping all in need and an ability to be friends with anyone. He is honest to a fault and sincerely believed everyone was good inside if given a chance. Kathleen Harms was one of his major partners in life and deserves recognition for supporting a man with so much passion and idealism. Bud Smyth is a living legend and true Alaskan pioneer.
On December 28th, Bud and his wife, Kat, were involved in a terrible car accident on their way to Anchorage. Kat was flown down to Seattle by Flight for Life and both Bud and Kat have been receiving extensive medical care in Seattle at Harborview Medical Center since the day of the accident. This benefit dinner is to raise funds to help with the numerous expenses that have accrued over the past five weeks.
Please join us for a social evening and enjoyable dinner. Spaghetti with homemade sauce, fresh garlic bread, tossed salad, cake and coffee will be served.