Isabella Jukic's drawing placed first in the 2005 Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race poster contest.
Photo provided by Suzie Cook
The 2005 Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race poster contest winner's participation in this year's Peninsula Winter Games is turning out to be less risky than her experience last year.
A young musher herself, Mountain View Elementary School fifth-grader Isabella Jukic won third place in last year's two-dog race in the 7- to 9-year-old age bracket. She received special recognition for bravery in the face of a moose.
"Last year I was on the trail just mushing along and saw a moose up ahead. I didn't want the moose to come after me, so I jumped off the sled. A little while later someone came and picked me up on a snowmachine," she said.
Her winning poster depicts a musher and dog. Other winners are Tiffany Hall, second place; Samuel Melvin, third place; Madison Lane Ellington, humanitarian award; and Naomi Rogers, sportsmanship award.
Isabella said she is excited to meet all the mushers and ride in the ceremonial start Saturday. At the ceremonial start, special needs and other kids are given sled rides with mushers.
"I did the poster contest because I thought it would be fun. I didn't really think I was going to win because there were a lot of other kids who made posters, too," she said. "My friend from school saw the poster in the mall and said it was pretty."
Suzie Cook, Tustumena 200 educational director and part owner of the Tustumena Lodge, said this year's competition saw approximately 80 entries from all over the Kenai Peninsula.
Cook sends out educational packets to every school on the peninsula. The packet includes information on mushing, math problems to compute musher mileage, geography of Alaska, coloring activities and contest entry forms. The contest is open to students in first through sixth grade.
Isabella's poster will be framed and presented as the trophy for the race. The first-place winner's drawing is reproduced on the official T-200 race poster and the second-place winner's drawing is on the cover of the race program.
Cook said roughly 80 designs were entered in the contest and the artwork varied a great deal.
"The winners will get to ride in the ceremonial start and have dinner with the mushers on Friday. They'll get all their autographs. The theme is that it's all about the kids," Cook said.
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