As Sonny Lindner neared the chute on Front Street Monday afternoon, it was announced that this Iditarod would be the last for this 64-year-old musher. And what a year. Running a similar strategy to Jeff King throughout the first part of the race, Sonny pushed through to Ruby for his 24-hour layover, a strategy the paid off well this year for a top five finish.
Fifth place is Sonny’s highest finish since 1981, when he placed 2nd. The first champion of the Yukon Quest, Sonny also placed 4th in 2008’s running of the All Alaska Sweepstakes. Sonny’s team is a collection of dogs from his own and fellow mushers’ kennels including Lance Mackey and 5-time Iditarod champion Rick Swenson.
There was a large crowd in Nome Monday afternoon to greet this long-time favorite musher including Iditarod veterans Libby Riddles, Rick Swenson, and Lance Mackey. Coming off a fantastic finish, when asked why this would be his last Iditarod, he replied, “Well, I started in ’78, that oughtta be good enough.”
Hear his arrival under the burled arch: