Tiffany Archer née Langenderfer-McMahon is a character who appears in many of Wes's books.
She was born in early 1977 to Kirsten Langenderfer and Mike McMahon. Her month of birth is January or Febuary, since she is able to take part in the Iditarod the year she is 18 (see Runner's Moon ), which is held in March.
Not able to afford quitting, her mother continued to work at the Spearfish Lake Record-Herald. "In fact, Tiffany was riding in a baby carrier while her mother sold advertisements and serviced accounts when she was three weeks old, and when she was a little older Webb moved a vacant desk upstairs at the Record-Herald in order to make room for a play pen. Tiffany didn't hurt ad sales, and even Homer Sanderson figured that the motherly touch might have helped."AF10 Among her babysitters were the neighbor Jackie Gravengood, her mom's co-worker Carrie Evachevski, and Carrie's not-yet-famous daughter Jennifer.
The family lived in her Great Aunt Gretchen Langenderfer's house until 1987. While there she had to share a room with Henry, despite being a neatnik while Henry was a slob. When a snake crawled out the bathtub drain her mom killed it using a hair dryer as a club. She took the snake to school for show and tell and left it with her fourth grade teacher, Linda Clark.BAR71 Whether or not it is a Gibson's Water Snake becomes a major plot theme in the book Busted Axle Road.
As a nine year old, Tiffany was described as "very sober, responsible, and competent".BAR78
1987 was also the year that started Tiffany's obsession with dog sled racing. Her teacher, Mrs. Clark, suggested her class watch a TV show one evening. The show was on Susan Butcher and dog sled racing in Alaska and from that moment on, that's what she wanted. Having moved to a bigger house, she asked for a dog and her father picked up a puppy at the dog pound, which she named George. She may have taught Gee, Haw, Hike and Whoa before Sit.BAR772
Mike and their neighbor, Mark Gravengood, inspired by the same TV show, started experimenting with dog sledding on their own, with Tiffany's encouragement. At Christmas, Tiffany was disappointed because she didn't get another couple of dogs and a sled of her own.
Two days after Christmas vacation ended, a substitute bus driver ran a little early causing Tiffany and Henry to miss their ride to school. Jackie Gravengood, their backup ride, wasn't home so the level-headed Tiffany hooked up the five-dog sled team and got Henry and herslf to school in time.
Later, during the first Warsaw Run when her father fell ill, Tiffany finished the race for him and became the first winner of the annual race. Later that winter, she won the three dog sprint race at the State Championship. She would never run a Junior or Women's race, only as an adult.RM18
Tiffany is her mother's bridesmaid when her parents finally married in May, 1991.AF52
From seventh grade on, Tiffany regularly drove a dog team to the High School and was training seriously for races while working with Josh Archer and his Run-8 Kennels. Before the series was retired in 1993 Tiffany would double for Jennifer in the Jenny Easton's Wonderful Winter World TV specials, while wearing bulky winter clothing and a long blonde wig.
In March 1995, Tiffany and Josh ran the Iditarod the first year she was eligible. The pair managed to finish only seconds apart as 22nd and 23rd.RM17 At breakfast the next morning Josh and Tiffany end up meeting Susan Butcher and Rick Swenson.RM18 During their visiting Tiffany mentions that Jenny Easton sang "The Iditiraod Trail" at the pep rally held in her honor. You can follow this link Trail Song Video to a music video of scenes from the 2006 race set to Hobo Jim singing "The Iditarod Trail". Here's another one from the 2008 race. Before they left Nome a few days later, Josh had bought her an engagement ring. They waited until she graduated from High School before they got married. Despite her mother's entreaties, Tiffany refused to wear a dress at her own wedding. The wedding took place on top of Turtle Hill and George, despite being a male dog, was her bridesmaid.
Tiffany learned to be a brakeman on the C&SL Railroad, working a couple summers before 2000 when time pressures became a problem for the couple. They had also started Spearfish Lake Outfitters and had raced the Iditarod several more times. The book Facing the Storm discusses how they decided to handle those commitments.
At the Winter 2001 Warsaw Run, Tiffany had to scratch at Warsaw, since she was feeling ill. She had been vomiting regularly. She buys a home pregnancy kit while in Warsaw and she announces that she is pregnant when she returnes to the race finish line in Spearfish Lake.SQ24