Battle Ground city council member participates in Alcan 5000 car rally


Battle Ground City Councilman Shane Bowman pushed his Jeep’s four wheels and love for adventure to the limit when he finished the Alcan 5000 car rally, driving from Kirkland to Anchorage, Alaska, in an epic 10-day journey.

Bowman drove his Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for the 2024 winter rally, which begins in Washington’s Seattle metro area and travels north about 5,000 miles through Canadian provinces and wraps up in Alaska’s largest city. The timed distance rally lasts 10 days.

Cars began the journey in one-minute intervals, with the goal to reach the next check point in a specific amount of time or risk losing points. Between each checkpoint is a “car zero” perfect time that rally drivers try and match;  teams closest to that time after the 10 days win their respective classes.

This year’s rally happened from Feb. 21 through March 1 and was a winter rally as it happens every two years similar to the Olympics alternating between summer and winter.

Bowman previously competed in the 2020 winter rally right when the pandemic was sweeping the globe. On his second go-around at the rally, Bowman was able to watch the start of the Iditarod where he gave Battle Ground native Lara Kittelson a city flag signed by residents and the City Council before she mushed off on her 1,000-mile trek across Alaska.

On Bowman’s journey, he said he experienced below zero temperatures and witnessed the “magnificent” frozen landscape.

“Until you travel northern British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory … you don’t realize how massive it is and how big the mountains are,” Bowman said. “And so it’s hard to soak that in, [and to] just be able to drive for hours just in the most beautiful country with no one around to me is pretty cool.”

Bowman said experiencing the wilderness was nothing short of amazing, as well. He saw moose, fox and other animals along with mountains that surpassed Washington’s Mount Rainier in height, such as Denali, the highest mountain in America. Bowman also enjoyed the camaraderie among the drivers and the great friendships formed on the journey.

“But probably the coolest thing is just because of the ruggedness of the weather and stuff like that is the relationships that you build with the other team members,” Bowman said.

Rally teams were paired up, so if a team suffered a fuel issue or a breakdown, Bowman said other teams helped to fix the problem, regardless of the temperature and weather conditions.

Bowman didn’t complete the Alcan 5000 alone. He traveled with a familiar face and friend ever since Bowman was elected to the City Council. John Williams, a previous Battle Ground city manager, was Bowman’s navigator for the rally.

The duo ended the rally second in their class and 11th overall.

Bowman said he spent months preparing for the epic journey.

“I started preparing probably seven months, eight months ago and started getting stuff ready, started going through the vehicle — making sure our communications systems were good because everyone has to run a UHF radio to be able to communicate,” Bowman explained. “You never really feel like you’re prepared, and then when you go up there and you have a perfect rally, you’re like, ‘man, I could have left half of this stuff home,’ but it’s always when you leave it that you need it.”

To learn more about the Alcan 5000, visit