Alaskans should applaud the sponsorship of Hilcorp and Harvest Iditarod

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Through Rob urbach

Updated: 2 hours ago Posted: 3 hours ago

A recent opinion column attacked two of Iditarod’s newest sponsors for “bending” towards the Alaskans. Their offense? Partnership and support for Iditarod with substantial sponsorships that will keep the last great race running for years to come.

For decades, Alaska’s oil and gas industry has played a vital role in supporting the Iditarod. The corporate logos on the banners may have changed over time, from ConocoPhillips, Shell, ExxonMobil, and now Hilcorp Alaska and Harvest Midstream, but the commitment remains the same: to support an iconic Alaskan event in keeping him in good financial health. Without the historic support of the oil and gas industry and other trading partners, we would have struggled to maintain this famous, quintessentially Alaskan race.

The Iditarod is grateful to companies like Hilcorp and Harvest for stepping up their support as other companies have pulled out of the race under pressure from powerful outside extremist groups. Sadly, these Lower 48-based extremist groups have managed to pressure some companies to end their support for the Iditarod, although most Alaskans support it overwhelmingly. Hilcorp and Harvest knew this dynamic when they started exploring a sponsorship and joined us nonetheless. This is because they understand how much this breed means to the people of this state.

As one of the largest private employers in Alaska, Hilcorp and Harvest are companies based in Alaska. Suggesting something different, just because they have operations elsewhere, is dishonest and meant to divide.

Between the two companies, they have more than 1,500 employees based right here in Alaska.

While some may not know their names, Alaskans rely on their products every day. At Southcentral, Hilcorp is the company responsible for keeping most of the lights and heat on in our homes and businesses. When you flip the switch to turn on a light or turn the thermostat up a few degrees on a cold winter night, Hilcorp, as Cook Inlet’s largest natural gas producer, is likely the source of that energy. And on the North Slope, where they acquired the remaining assets of BP in Alaska in 2020, Hilcorp increased production and created jobs in just over a year as a Prudhoe Bay operator.

From our direct experience, Hilcorp and Harvest have earned our trust not by buying it, as has been falsely claimed, but by following their rhetoric. Businesses or organizations claiming to support Alaska and its residents to withdraw from Iditarod because they fear reprisals from extremists in the Lower 48 do not match the views of most Alaskans. Hilcorp and Harvest can choose where to put their sponsorship dollars – and Alaskans should be thankful that these companies are supporting what many see as the “Alaska Super Bowl.”

You cannot buy the loyalty or bond that develops by helping a friend in need. Hilcorp and Harvest came together to fill a gap that was in desperate need of filling. Hilcorp and Harvest should be applauded for their courage and commitment to Alaska.

Rob urbach is the CEO of Iditarod.

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