Reef Wins the Golden Harness!


The Mayor, Dallas Seavey, and the best dog in the world

Reef, Dallas Seavey’s 4 year-old lead dog, “trotted” away with the Iditarod Lolly Medley Memorial Golden Harness award for the second year in a row!  The mayor of Nome, Richard Beneville, did the honors at the 2016 Iditarod Finisher’s Banquet.  “Reef is my hero,” Dallas said as he took the stage.


Reef needed a little coaxing to come to the stage, but the special yellow monogrammed harness was a perfect fit.  This award is voted upon by the mushers, and is given to the most outstanding lead dog in the race. 


Reef basking in the glory of the golden harness

Lolly Medley was one of the first women to mush in the Iditarod, along with Mary Shields, in 1974.  She was a gifted harness maker from Wasilla, who convinced the Iditarod that they needed a special award for the best lead dog each year.  In the early years, she created the harnesses herself. 



I honestly think this is one of everyone’s favorite awards of the evening.  Dallas spoke about how much his dogs mean to him, and I am sure every musher felt the same way about their teams.

Below is a list of all past winners of the Lolly Medley Memorial Golden Harness Award.  Here are some suggested activities for the classroom:

  1. Research the musher – were they the winner that year?  If not, why do you think their lead dog was awarded the Golden Harness?
  2. Look at the names of the dogs – what do you think the puppy litter “theme” was? 
  3. Make a line plot or graph of the mushers using data such as: veteran or rookie? Alaska resident?  Lower 48 resident?  Other country?

Golden Harness (Outstanding Lead Dogs)

Lead Dog
2015 Reef Seavey, Dallas
2014 Beatle Seavey, Dallas
2013 Tanner Seavey, Mitch
2012 Guiness Seavey, Dallas
2011 Snickers & Velvet Baker, John
2010 Maple Mackey, Lance
2009 Kuling Royer, Jessie
2008 Babe Smith, Ramey
2007 Larry Mackey, Lance
2006 Salem Jeff King
2005 Kvitsokk (Whitesock) Sørlie, Robert
2004 Tread Seavey, Mitch
2003 Tipp Sørlie, Robert
2002 Bronson Buser, Martin
2001 Pepi Swingley, Doug
2000 Red Dog Gebhardt, Paul
1999 Elmer Swingley, Doug
1998 Red King, Jeff
1997 Blondie and Fearless Buser, Martin
1996 Blondie Buser, Martin
1995 Vic Swingley, Doug
1994 D2 and Dave Buser, Martin
1993 Herbie and Kitty King, Jeff
1992 Dusty Garnie, Joe
1991 Goose and Major Swenson, Rick
1990 Tip Barve, Lavon
1989 Ferlin Runyan, Joe
1988 Granite Butcher, Susan
1987 Blackie Nayokpuk, Herbie
1986 Sister Garnie, Joe
1985 Axle and Dugan Riddles, Libby
1984 Red and Bullet Osmar, Dean
1983 Preacher and Jody Mackey, Rick
1982 Brandy Baumgartner, Ernie
1981 Silver Smith, Larry
1980 Trooper Nayokpuk, Herbie
1979 Digger Peters, Emmitt
1978 Nuggett and Blackie Anderson, Ralph
1977 Pilot Chase, Ken
1976 Puppy and Sugar Riley, Gerald