What exactly happens in Nome when the teams finish the Iditarod?
First, the mushers and teams run along the Bering Sea coast and then up a hill onto Front Street through the city of Nome. A siren goes off when a musher is approaching so that anyone snuggled into a warm bed can jump up and run outside to see their favorites come under the burled arch.
The arch is on top of a big wedge of snow. People who have permission wait under the arch to greet, interview, photograph, or work, as mushers and dogs arrive. Everyone else who wants to see stands behind orange fences to watch the excitement. The race marshal greets the mushers, the musher’s family is often there for hugs, then the dogs get some love for their hard work, being petted and sometimes given snacks. After the race official checks the musher’s bag for required items, the finish time is announced, and the team mushes off the snow wedge and back down the street. Sometimes mushers will let their child ride on the back of the sled!
From there, the dogs are taken to the dog yard. There are volunteers and vets who watch over the dogs in their little dog house crates. They get to rest and eat, though we dogs often look at our humans as if to ask, “Where are we running to tomorrow?”
Many fans come to Nome for the finish. There is a big art and craft show at a local church. The local mushing club allows people to pay to ride a sled behind sled dogs in a mini race. Other fun activities are planned to interest the visitors. Read articles by Juli Westrich, 2023 Teacher on the Trail™, to see what she has seen in Nome!
Mushers and their families hang out, greeting other musher friends as they arrive, and waiting for the big celebration Finisher’s Banquet.
Until next time, keep cheering on the rest of the teams to Nome!