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Iditarod 40: Western AK Mushers

Reigning champion John Baker is the first Inupiaq champion in the history of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Last year, he won in record time of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes and 39 seconds and says his dogs appear faster this season:

When asked which mushers Baker is concerned about, he did not mention four-time champions Lance Mackey, Jeff King or Martin Buser. Nor did he mention the race’s only five-time champion Rick Swenson. Baker said he is concerned 28-year-old Pete Kaiser from Bethel may beat him to the finish line in Nome. Kaiser took first in the sport’s latest longest mid-distance races – the 2011 Kobuk 440 and the inaugural running of the Paul Johnson 450. Kaiser took 8th place in last year’s Iditarod and Kaiser fans hope for a strong race out of his team:

A Western Alaska musher who was not planning on running the 2012 Iditarod looks to improve on his 13th place finish in 2011. Akiak’s Mike Williams Jr. is taking his father’s place in this year’s race. After learning much about dog care in last year’s 1000-mile Iditarod, Williams hopes to finish competitively with a string of healthy dogs.

Tune in to KNOM Iditarod Updates at 9am, 12noon, 5pm & 8pm for current standings, exclusive interviews and live reports from the trail.