George Attla (Koyukon Athabascan) was one of the most celebrated sprint dog sled racers in Alaska. A ten-time Fur Rendezvous world champion and eight-time Open North American champion, Attla raced across Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States for five decades, attaining a sports hero status across the region. Born in 1933 into a subsistence lifestyle in interior Alaska, Attla lived through a childhood bout with tuberculosis that required him to be hospitalized for nine years and left him with a fused kneecap. His leg and cultural isolation from family and community made a transition back into subsistence living challenging, but Attla soon discovered a niche in racing dogs. In 1958, Attla traveled to Anchorage for the first time and won his first Fur Rendezvous World Championship. His racing prowess and ability to identify and train exceptional dogs soon became legend, as he attracted audiences across the state, country, and beyond to sprint racing. In his retirement, Attla founded the Frank Attla Youth & Sled Dog Program in Huslia to introduce a new generation to dog mushing as a sport and cultural activity. Attla worked with the community and youth in Huslia until his death in 2015. A new youth dog mushing program inspired by Attla, A-CHILL (Alaska Care and Husbandry Instruction for Lifelong Living), was launched in 2016 in interior Alaska.
Check out the ATTLA - Making of a Champion website to learn more about George and his racing career!