Iditarod champ couldn't quit on Native people

By Mark Thiessen
Associated Press
March 6, 2012

It took John Baker 16 tries to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. He had to think long and hard about coming back to defend his title.

The 49-year-old Inupiat musher from northwest Alaska has become an icon of sorts for Alaska Native youth, and he said he couldn’t retire because so many people are counting on him.

“Seems to be a lot of excitement around the state from the win we had last time,’’ the soft-spoken Kotzebue musher said prior to the race.

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