Tucker man participating in 2021 Iditarod race

Sean Underwood. Photo provided to Decaturish

Tucker, GA — A Tucker man will be participating in the 2021 Iditarod, a thousand-mile dog sledding race that takes place each year in Alaska.

According to WSB-TV, Sean Underwood participated in the race in 2020 and came within 30 miles of the finish line before suffering a setback that nearly cost him his life.

“A winter storm in the middle of the night caused a surge along the Bering Sea,” WSB-TV reported. “Standing in frigid, knee high water, Underwood was able to lead the dogs to safety, but he was becoming hypothermic and ultimately had to hit the emergency beacon and request help.”

The 2021 race got underway on Saturday.

According to his personal website, Underwood graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2014 and after college spent time in Central and South America where he became fluent in Spanish.

“Believe it or not, his degree didn’t set him up for success in the world of sled dogs,” his website says. “However, Sean made a compelling argument to Jeff King of Husky Homestead, that he could teach all the dogs to “siéntate” (sit down) by the end of the winter. It has yet to be proven whether the thought of bilingual dogs, or Sean’s experience fishing summers on Kodiak tipped the scale for hire, but five years later King nominated Sean to run in his place for the 2020 Iditarod.

“Due to Covid-19 closing Denali’s tourist season, Sean moved on to Talkeetna where he found a great fit with Dallas Seavey’s Kennel. He is looking forward to running one of Dallas’ dog teams in the 2021 Iditarod, and getting that buckle.”

His website says that Underwood’s shot at racing in the Iditarod came earlier than he expected.

“King had emergency surgery four days before the 2020 Iditarod race began, and nominated Sean to take his place,” his website says. “With no time to spare Sean made his way down to Anchorage to lend a hand. Due to overflow outside of the Safety checkpoint, Sean didn’t cross the finish line in Nome. Determined to make 2021 his year, Sean will depart Willow with every expectation of bringing a happy, healthy team across the finish line.”

To learn more about Underwood and his adventures, click here.

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