Champion Dallas Seavey also earned top honors, taking home $75,000 and a new truck for his first-place finish.
On Saturday, Zirkle did not want to talk about her recent collision with a snowmachine. She says she wants to focus on maintaining a positive attitude for her dogs.
After the shock of the snowmachine collision that injured one of her sled dogs — and killed one of Jeff King’s — Aliy Zirkle, still shaken, was greeted warmly in the Kaltag checkpoint on Saturday.
Early Saturday morning, while on their way towards the Nulato checkpoint, the sled dog teams of Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King collided with a snowmachiner.
On Thursday, 1975 Iditarod champion Emmitt Peters was in Ruby to greet Jeff King and his dog team when they arrived first at the Yukon River.
“It’s always good to get to the Yukon,” Iditarod musher Brent Sass says.
Not only was Jeff King’s the first Iditarod team to arrive in Ruby, but his is also, at this point, the only team to travel as far without taking 24 hours rest.
In 2016, some of Iditarod’s competitors have pushed the pace early — especially before taking their 24-hour layovers.
Mushers give themselves options for where to take their 24-hour layovers. Jeff King is breaking from the pack by intending to 24 in Ruby, where, he says, a mimosa will be waiting.
Mushers from Nome, Aniak, Bethel, and Akiak are among the more than 60 sign-ups for the 2016 Iditarod.