Doors opened for the Finisher’s Banquet of Iditarod XLI at 1500, (actually now that the race is over we can go back to civilian time 3:00 pm). Folks filed in, claimed what they hoped would be a good seat then anticipated an outstanding dinner served by the Millennium of Anchorage. Mushers, fans, family and friends came away from the buffet lines with plates of fruit, lettuce salad, cheese, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice, shrimp, halibut and prime rib. Desserts were delicious but too numerous to mention. Here’s a list of the special awards presented and the recipient..
PenAir Spirit of Alaska – First to McGrath – Aaron Bermiester
GCI Dorothy Page Halfway Award – First to Iditarod – Lance Mackey
Wells Fargo Bank Alaska Gold Coast Award – First to Unalakleet – Mitch Seavey
Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year – Joar Leifseth Ulsom
Nome Kennel Club Fastest Time from Safety – Ramey Smith
Horizon Lines Most Improved Musher Award – Nicholas Petit
Sportsmanship Award – Cim Smyth for his never ending willingness to help fellow mushers and checkpoint personal.
Exxon Mobil Musher’s Choice Award – Mike Williams, Sr. an inspiration to all
Northern Air Cargo Herbie Nayok puk Award – Mikhail Telpin. Telpin received a heavily insulated work jacket with 1049 dollar bills stuffed in the pockets.
Golden Clipboard – Checkpoint of Ophir
Golden Stethoscope Award – Vets Sterling Thomas & Dirsko Von Pfeil
Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award – Jake Berkowitz
City of Nome Lolly Medley Golden Harness Award – Tanner, Mitch Seavey’s Leader
Wells Fargo Bank Alaska Red Lantern – Christine Roalofs
Northern Air Cargo 4-wheeler – Anna Berington
Winners Check $50,400 – Mitch Seavey
Dodge Truck – Mitch Seavey
Garland of Roses – Tanner & Taurus
All of the mushers were off the trail prior to the Finisher’s banquet. The Widow’s Lamp had been extinguished. The 41st Last Great Race of 2013 is in the record books. Teams are airborne for home. Mushers are considering new, perhaps untried strategies for the 42nd Iditarod. To sum up this race and how all Iditarod Races are unique, here’s a quote from Jodi Bailey as she finished in Nome, “It’s the same red line on the map with different weather and luck.”