Richie Diehl of Aniak took fifth in the 2017 Kobuk 440, followed by Kotzebue’s Katherine Keith. Kevin Hansen, also of Kotzebue, took 11th. The arrival of the Red Lantern will close both the 2017 Kobuk race and, effectively, the 2017 sled dog racing season in western Alaska.
Jessie Holmes, the 2017 champion of the Kobuk 440, crossed the finish line Sunday morning at 1:51am with 9 dogs.
Kobuk 440 race coordinator Carmen Daggett says the first teams are expected to cross the finish line in Kotzebue sometime late Sunday or early Monday.
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 made good time running to Nenana on Monday afternoon, despite soft snow on the Iditarod trail’s alternate route from Fairbanks.
Pete Kaiser is the winner of the Kuskokwim 300 dog sled race for the third straight year; he crossed the finish line in his hometown of Bethel at 10:37am Sunday morning.
The countdown is on for the start of the 2017 Iditarod Sled-dog race on March 4th.
Sign-ups for the next year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began Saturday. 40 veterans and 12 rookies are on the list so far to compete in 2017.
For multiple pairs of Iditarod teams — Wade Marrs and Pete Kaiser, and Scott Smith and Noah Burmeister — the most competitive stretch of trail came down to the final mile.
In Unalakleet, mushers were hoping to hop, skip, and leap-frog their teams toward the top ten. “It’s gonna be a crowded party at White Mountain,” Kelly Maixner says. “I’d better go get there.”