780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

To Anvik, Ulsom Carries Ashes of the ‘Happy Musher’: Rudy Demoski

Close-up of musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom, wearing blue hat, sunglasses, black parka
Joar Leifseth Ulsom at the Unalakleet checkpoint on Sunday. Photo: Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media.

One of the Iditarod’s pioneers is taking one last run. Joar Leifseth Ulsom is carrying the ashes of longtime musher Rudy Demoski to leave along the trail.

As he prepared to pass through Demoski’s hometown of Anvik, Leifseth Ulsom says he’s humbled.

“It’s an honor to do that.”

Demoski was a familiar face along the Iditarod trail for decades. Demoski died last year at age 72. During Leifseth Ulsom’s rookie race in 2013, he met Demoski, who was running his final race. Nicknamed the “Happy Musher,” Demoski came to Willow, Leifseth Ulsom says, to help him train dogs.

“He would sit in the side-by-side and look at the dogs and tell stories from the old days. I think the main thing I learned from him was to enjoy life. He was such a happy guy, even the smallest thing would get him fired up and laughing. Even until the end, he was just super happy.”

Demoski’s roots with the race can be traced to the beginning. He ran the second Iditarod and placed fourth as a rookie.

Image at top: Joar Leifseth Ulsom during the 2018 Iditarod. Photo: Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media.

A panorama of Joar Leifseth Ulsom sorting through his drop bag supplies while resting at the Iditarod checkpoint. Photo: Ben Matheson, KNOM.

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

KNOM Radio to Host First-Ever Music Fest

KNOM Radio Mission will host its first-ever Music Fest Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15. The event, hosted at KNOM’s Back Yard, will be a great opportunity for the Bering Strait region to gather and celebrate the start of summer. Admission to the event is free.  The two-day Music Fest will feature

Read More »

June 13: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sea ice has not completely melted out of the Bering Sea, there

Read More »

Teller Man Arrested for Terroristic Threatening

A Teller man has been arrested and transported to Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center following allegations of threatening to burn down a house, according to an affidavit from Alaska State Troopers. The affidavit reports that Chester Topkok, 26, was reported by his niece, Belinda Smith, who called Troopers on June

Read More »

Charity Lewis Crowned Miss ANB 2024

Charity Lewis was crowned 2024’s Miss Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) at the pageant held on June 12. The event held at Nome’s Mini Convention Center showcased the cultural heritage of two contestants, Victoria Gray and Charity Lewis. Both participated in Miss ANB for the first time.  The pageant began with

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.