Rondy Pin and Button

The first Rondy pins were created in 1939. Each year, artists compete to design the official pin and local students do the same in a booster button contest. These pins and buttons become collector’s items; some are worth thousands of dollars.

Tara Gildow, 2014 Fur Rondy Pin Designer

Tara Gildow was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and raised on stories from the Iditarod Trail and Shannon Cartwright illustrations. She graduated from Dimond High School in 2000, and went on to pursue a bachelor of fine art in painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. She eventually found someone willing to get married in a grand pirate-themed wedding, on an extinct volcano no less, and is currently happy to finger paint side-by-side with her 2 year old, Olivia.

In 1996, she won the Fur Rondy booster button contest which she thought was pretty much the coolest thing to happen to her, until she won the 2014 pin contest. She chose for her design a representation of the state’s fossil, the wooly mammoth. It was not a tough decision to work with this image for her, as she has often pondered life in Alaska’s distant past, imagining the state overrun with lions, horses, mammoths, and short-faced bears.

Tara spends most of her time daydreaming about working on her next art projects, as well as teaching her daughter about the beauty of Botticelli, the grandeur of the Cretaceous, and the finer points of making a cardboard fort.

Alex Pouzanov, 2014 Rondy Booster Button Designer

Alex is 10 years old and attends 4th Grade at Turnagain Elementary School in Anchorage. He knew about the Booster Button Contest Competition from a flyer on a school board. Alex was born in Alaska and fluently speaks Russian. This summer he was working on a kids (Saturday) market and enjoyed visiting an Eskimo booth up there. He has seen a lot of native souvenirs like bone carvings, handmade dolls, and yo-yo-animals made from fur and skin. His design depicts eskimo kids and Alaska Northern lights.