From halfway awards to best dog care to rookie of the year, the annual banquet that closes the Iditarod allowed mushers to tell stories about their own Last Great Race.
Third to Nome for Iditarod 2015, Aaron Burmeister was greeted by friends, family, and the Nome St. Lawrence Island Singers and Dancers. “The dogs performed phenomenal…I’m just honored to be the guy that was on the runners this year driving them to Nome.”
Aaron Burmeister may have been the first musher to the coast, but Dallas Seavey is now in front on the way to Nome.
Aliy Zirkle led Iditarod 2015 out of Koyukuk late Saturday morning, followed into the evening by Aaron Burmeister, Jeff King, Jessie Royer, and Dallas and Mitch Seavey. These frontrunners jockeyed for lead on the 154 mile run to the coast.
Burmeister, first into Unalakleet, is comfortable on the coast. “I felt right at home when the wind started blowing,” said the Nome musher. According to Race Marshall Mark Nordman, mushers should arrive Tuesday.
“Shocked” to be first into Huslia, Aaron Burmeister basks in the checkpoint’s hospitality. Happy to see his sick team feeling healthy again, he turns his sights to the coast.
Despite a grueling run down the Yukon, Ruby was just a pit stop for most mushers. Iditarod teams pressed on to Galena or even to Huslia, where Aaron Burmeister arrived first.
Out of Fairbanks, through Nenana, and on to Manley Hot Springs before a long stretch of running on the river — that was the first day of this year’s Iditarod.
From Aniak, Bethel, Nome, and Kotzebue, some of western Alaska’s mushers share their thoughts on their teams and the 1000 miles of trail that lay ahead.
In rural Alaska, “race season” rolls on. Early March finds us in-between two of the long-distance competitions that most excite our region: Iron Dog and the Iditarod.