Wasilla Alaska, THE IDITAROD TRAIL COMMITTEE is proud to announce that the 2008 Seppala Heritage Grant recipient is Melissa Owens from Nome Alaska. The 17 year old Alaskan musher has been a part of mushing since she was a young child, and has been a part of the Jr Iditarod since she was old enough to run in 2004. Melissa finished in first place in 2005 at the age of 15. She has also completed the Jr Yukon Quest, along with a number of short and mid distance races including the Dow Bowers 200.
The Seppala Heritage Grant is specifically designed to help fund the efforts of mushers who aspire to run the “Last Great Race to Nome” for the first time. Applicants have to demonstrate a commitment to work with, train and race sled dogs, and show value traits of generosity of spirit, courage, integrity and love for the dogs, land and people of Alaska.
Owens has already signed up to run the 2008 Iditarod trail Sled Dog Race. She will turn 18 just twelve days before the start of the 2008 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She is the daughter of Mike and Pat Owens. Mike Owens is an official finisher of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and a member of the Iditarod Trail Committee Board of Directors.
The Seppala Heritage Grant was founded by the Seppala Family with a $10,000 donation and a four-year commitment of $10,000 per year per recipient. It is the hope of the Seppala Family and the selection committee that other persons or organizations will donate to this charitable grant with money or services, thereby increasing the outreach potential of this grant. Grant funds are administrated by Iditarod National Historic Trail, Inc., a private, nonprofit organization with 501, C-3 federal tax status.