Classy ceremony all the way around (Hall of Fame)

February 25, 2010
Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

There were tears, there were cheers and there were plenty of great moments.

The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame ushered in its Class of 2010 tonight and it was nothing short of sensational.

Or in the words of inductee Reggie Joule, it was passionate.

That was the theme of the evening: passion.

You could see it in Joule’s eyes when he talked about his career as a Native Games champion, especially when thanking the Hall of Fame for honoring the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics a year before inducting arguably its brightest star.

“It shows the depth of the committee,” he said. “It was the proper thing to do.”

You could hear the passion in Rosey Fletcher’s voice during her acceptance speech, especially the part about bouncing back from failure in two Olympics to earn a bronze medal at her third Games in the final run of her snowboarding career.

You got a sense of the passion mushing champion Lance Mackey has for his dogs, breaking down when talking about the 2009 Humanitarian Award he won for getting 15 of 16 dogs to Nome and how he felt like that was his greatest career accomplishment—not winning the Iditarod and Yukon Quest back-to-back.

You knew right away about the passion Rick Swenson and Dick Mackey had for their sport, their dogs and their friendship.

But also how Swenson—the Iditarod’s greatest champion—still embraces his one-second loss to Mackey in the epic photo finish of the 1978 Last Great Race.

“I’ve never held any animosity,” Swenson said. “I was just glad I got to see it.”

The victory catapulted the Mackey name as one of the greatest families in Iditarod history—with father and son both winning a title and both being inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame on the same night.

Each of them made mention of how sweet it was.

And that summed up the whole night.