Iditarod 2010 was one for the record books: from the top of the leader board to the back of the pack. Lance Mackey made history with his fourth championship in a row, and even the Red Lantern (last-place finisher) did something unprecedented: Celeste Davis, the 55th-place finisher in Iditarod 38, arrived in Nome on Saturday night, well in time for the mushers’ awards banquet on Sunday afternoon. (Davis’ finish time broke the previous Red Lantern record – David Straub’s finish in 2002 – by more than 24 hours, and it would have been a championship-winning time in the Iditarod races of 1973-1980, 1982, and 1985.)
Never before has the entire competitive field of an Iditarod race finished in time for the first banquet. In past years, a second banquet was held in Nome, later in the week, to honor the final mushers to cross the finish line. This year, however, no Red Lantern Banquet will be necessary: all the mushers of the Iditarod celebrated their accomplishments together in the cavernous Nome Recreation Center on Sunday night. Hundreds of Iditarod volunteers, family, friends, and race fans joined them for a lengthy evening of award ceremonies and stories from the trail.
Here are photos from Sunday’s banquet, plus a few shots of rookie musher Celeste Davis carrying her Red Lantern to the finish line, officially bringing Iditarod 38 to its conclusion.
The 2010 Red Lantern Celeste Davis arrives in Nome on Saturday night. Davis' finishing time (13 days, 5 hours, 6 minutes, 40 seconds) broke the previous Red Lantern record by more than a full day.
The sun was setting over Nome's Front Street - and over Iditarod 38 - as Red Lantern Celeste Davis finished her race on Saturday evening.
The 2010 Iditarod Finishers Banquet drew a packed crowd of race fans, mushers' family and friends, and Iditarod volunteers. The event was held in the gymnasium of the Nome Recreation Center: the only place in Nome large enough to hold a crowd of such capacity.
Every year, KNOM is proud to broadcast segments of the Iditarod Finishers Banquet. Here, Laureli works our sound equipment and narrates the goings-on of the 2010 banquet.
The campaign 4 Paws for Logan teamed up with Iditarod mushers to raise money - and awareness - to help support an autistic boy named Logan from the village of Unalakleet (one of the checkpoints in the race). Funds raised will obtain for Logan a service dog. A thank-you banner (above) adorned one corner of the Rec Center at Sunday's banquet.
Jamaican rookie musher Newton Marshall received a warm response from the crowd at Sunday's banquet. Marshall - like all finishing mushers - was given the chance to share reflections and memories from the trail at the banquet podium.
William "Middie" Johnson speaks at the podium on Sunday night. Johnson was a crowd favorite; he's the mayor of nearby Unalakleet, Alaska, and he took home the Herbie Nayokpuk Memorial Award - as well as a new 4-wheeler (or ATV).
It's become an Iditarod banquet tradition: Jim Lanier and his son have made a habit of singing Iditarod-themed songs at the finishers banquet. The amateur singer-songwriters were back at it on Sunday, and this year, the junior Lanier took the lead on writing the lyrics. Both generations of Laniers performed the song on Sunday night.
The crowd gave unrestrained applause to 4-peat champion Lance Mackey at Sunday's finishers banquet. The musher received a cash award of just over $50,000.