Among the special awards at the Sunday banquet were two given to Jessie Royer: the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award and the Most Inspirational Musher Award.
Competitive jockeying is happening up and down the Iditarod leaderboard as mushers begin to traverse the Norton Sound coast.
The countdown is on for the start of the 2017 Iditarod Sled-dog race on March 4th.
Early Sunday, Nicolas Petit won the Kobuk 440, marking the coda not only of the mid-distance sled dog race but also of the 2016 mushing season in Alaska.
In Ambler on Friday, Kobuk 440 mushers focused on their dogs’ rest, pacing, and the trail ahead. Near the mid-point of the 440-mile course, it’s still anyone’s race.
On Thursday, it was an enthusiastic send-off for sled dog teams and mushers as they left the start line of the Kobuk 440.
Dog teams will pass through six Western Alaska villages. The winner is expected across the finish line on Saturday.
Champion Dallas Seavey also earned top honors, taking home $75,000 and a new truck for his first-place finish.
In Takotna, Katherine Keith was in characteristically good spirits, despite the “excruciating hot” of this year’s trail, so far.
Not many Iditarod mushers have spent much rest time in McGrath this year; but not everyone took off immediately, either.