When Lance Mackey finished first in Nome on Tuesday, he joined an elite group of Iditarod mushers. Only a select few have won four race championships: Susan Butcher, Martin Buser, Jeff King, Doug Swingley, and Rick Swenson (who’s won five times).
But at 2:59pm on Tuesday, Mackey also created a new demographic all his own: Mackey, and only Mackey, can now claim to have won four Iditarod championships in a row.
The importance of the moment for Iditarod history was not lost on the exuberant crowds in Nome. Race fans and other supporters came out in droves to see him pull up the “chute” to the Burled Arch (the race finish line). The population of the Nome swelled for the occasion. Tourists and race volunteers poured onto the normally quiet stretches of Front Street, and an influx of vehicles – cars, trucks, and snowmachines (or snowmobiles) – clogged the narrow roads that follow the Iditarod trail into the city. (Nome doesn’t normally experience traffic jams, but on Tuesday, it sure did.)
They were all there to see Lance Mackey make history, and our Iditarod reporter Laureli was at the center of it all: she reported live from under the Burled Arch. Hear excerpts of our live coverage: