Tonight in Nome a couple of thousand people packed in to the Community Centre for the Iditarod Finishers' Banquet and Prizegiving.
Race sponsor, the Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage, catered the event and there was something for everyone, from juicy steak to carrot cake.
As always, the best part of the evening was hearing from each musher as they came up to receive their Finisher's patch and trophy. We heard so many great stories of camaraderie and sportsmanship, of trail challenges and wildlife encounters, and, above all, the love of the mushers for their dogs.
Congratulations to all the mushers and the prize winners tonight. See the full list here.
Some of the awards ready to be presented; the evening's program
We are unashamedly proud of our team! Allen won the Sportsmanship Award for being "ever helpful". This award is voted on only by mushers at the Official Finishers Club meeting after the race. Mushers make nominations and a vote is taken for the winner. Part of the recognition read "even when things are going great he is good to have around". In one particular event during the race he stopped to help another team off the trail and stayed with them for several miles into a checkpoint. Several other younger mushers thanked him for being ever willing to answer their questions and offer advice.
Allen receives the Donlin Gold Sportsmanship Award; Aliy's 8th place trophy awaiting presentation
Aliy told the story about how they managed to get past Pete Kaiser in the last leg of the race. It was all thanks to an arctic fox! This feisty little fox ran alongside the team on a berm next to the trail for a couple of miles and the team took off after it; while the dogs ran around one side of Pete's team the fox ran around the other. At one stage it started hissing at the team and moving towards them! Aliy had though she was seeing things but she figured because the dogs reacted also it must have been actually happening. We're trying to figure out if we can train the fox to run alongside the team for 1000 miles!
RETURNED DOG UPDATE
Everyone is off the trail! Tinder arrived into Anchorage on Saturday night and is with Linda and Kodiak.