To say that Susan Butcher's accomplishments in...

To say that Susan Butcher's accomplishments in dog sled racing are extraordinary is like saying Magic Johnson is a good ball handler. Neither description quite tells the story.

Butcher will tell her own story tonight at Claremont McKenna College at 7.

Butcher and her dog teams have won Alaska's Iditarod race, a grueling 1,130-mile trek over mountains and across frozen seas from Anchorage to Nome, four times.

"I have become a symbol to women across the country--and internationally, in fact--and I'm not going to say that there wasn't a lot of strength gained by that and by the support (from women) that I got," Butcher said in a Los Angeles Times interview last year at her home in an isolated Alaskan settlement.

Originally from New England, she has raced huskies for half of her 36 years. "I was born with a particular ability with animals and a particular love for them," said Butcher, who breeds and trains the huskies that make up her 150-dog kennel.

"I'm not a pretty woman, and so I became strong," she said. "I had to do something different."

In doing so, she became famous, has been honored by two presidents and has developed a friendship with Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Her free talk, which is open to the public, will be in the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. It is located at the east end of 8th Street, one block east of Honnold Library.

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