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.
Mushers who have been competing in the Iditarod a long time have relationships and traditions they re-visit each time they run the race. For Martin Buser, when he gets to Unalakleet, that means a bag of muktuk.
Iditarod mushers are on the Yukon. 8- and 24-hour layovers are on the horizon, but first, they must run the longest stretch of the race: 120 miles from Tanana to Ruby.
In 2016, Martin Buser had his worst-placing Iditarod in his career, and was troubled by injuries both to his son and himself. But in 2017, things are looking up.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced on Wednesday, December 14th. Joining NYO competitor Nicole Johnston are Iditarod champions Martin Buser and Jeff King, as well as Vern Tejas, the first solo climber to finish a winter ascent of Denali.
Buser was “worried” in Unalakleet that a “deep bone bruise” on his leg, from a fall earlier on the trail, would impact his ability to continue in the Iditarod; nonetheless, he said he was determined to mush to Nome.
For many Iditarod rookies, “all that really matters” is “to get to the end.” For Tom Jamgochian, the burled arch is still “a million miles away.”
Mushers from Nome, Aniak, Bethel, and Akiak are among the more than 60 sign-ups for the 2016 Iditarod.
Martin Buser finished his 32nd Iditarod Thursday morning, pulling under the Burled Arch to a cheering crowd of friends and family.
On his 32nd Iditarod, pulling into Huslia, Martin Buser reassesses his team and his race: “If I make this race so important that I compromise my values, then I’m a loser. That’s what I don’t want to happen.”