Z is for Zirkle: A St. Patrick’s Day in Nome!

The Iditarod Alphabet 2017
Z is for Zirkle

Aliy Zirkle is a veteran Iditarod musher.  Aliy finished her 17th Iditarod this year in 8th place.  Aliy first started mushing after moving to Alaska in 1990.  Aliy and her husband, Allen Moore, run SP Kennel which is named after Aliy’s first Alaskan husky, Skunk.  Aliy has finished in the top 10 of the Iditarod 6 times, and has won the other 1,000 miles, the Yukon Quest.  Aliy has received the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for outstanding dog care three times (2005, 2011, 2016).

Z is for Zirkle

Today has been an exciting day on Front Street in Nome.  The day began with Charley Bejna finishing the race around 9AM.  Charley has finished the Iditarod twice before, and signed up again this year to show others who have type 1 diabetes that they can live a normal life and achieve their dreams.  Charley was bib #46 and finished the race in 46th place!  After Charley came in it was parade time!  Each year the mayor of Nome hosts a St. Patrick’s Day parade down Front Street.  This year about 25 people participated and I was even able to do an Irish jig under the Burled Arch (I teach Irish dance back in Chicago). 

After the parade Nature’s Kennel had two teams come in.  First was Justin Stielstra, a 22 year old rookie from Michigan and then came 4th grade teacher Trent Herbst.  Justin finished with a big smile on his face as he crossed under the burled arch.  Trent made it to Nome about an hour later with a beard full of snow in 52nd place.  The rest of the mushers are steadily making their way to Nome, and everyone should finish by tomorrow.  I chatted with one of the veterinarians tonight and she said when the back of the pack was in Elim they were in GREAT spirits and were truly enjoying themselves on the trail.  I cannot wait to welcome them all to Nome tomorrow!

End of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Nome

Charlie and his lead dogs, Black and Brown

Trent Herbst finish Iditarod 2017

Trent with lead dog Ayn

Justin (left) and his uncle, Iditarod veteran Ed Stielstra.

Justin and his lead dog at the finish line.