Folks, Pete Kaiser is leading the Iditarod and first into White Mountain!
Can I say it? OMG!!!
Pete left Elim chased by Joar Leifseth-Ulsom with a 5 minute lead. He got into White Mountain with about a 6 mile lead. Joar arrived 41 minutes after Pete.
Officially Pete checked into White Mountain at 8:05am. He has a 8 hour mandatory rest period that will allow him to leave on the 77 mile trail to Nome at 4:05pm.
Believe it or not, a 45 minute lead is not substantial. Two rested Teams and two highly competitive, highly athletic mushers. This could be a horse race to the finish and I’m telling you anything can happen. Both Teams are fast trail Teams with good speed and both Teams have 8 dogs. It is going to be a horserace folks!!
By being the first musher into White Mountain, Pete earned the Northrim Achieve More Award consisting of a $2,500 check and a one-of-a-kind print by Anchorage artist Marianne Wieland. It was presented to Pete by Chief Financial Officer Jed Ballard of Northrim Bank.
“We are excited to be back for our second year as a Lead Dog partner of the Iditarod. We appreciate the opportunity to honor the first musher into White Mountain with the Northrim Bank Achieve More Award. The Iditarod itself inspires fans to ‘achieve more’ and as an Alaska grown bank, we at Northrim applaud that pioneer spirit,” said Ballard.
Kaiser Racing got some unwelcome news from Kaltag that our second Team musher Nik Wikstrand has scratched. We don’t have the full story, but Nik left the checkpoint and then turned around about 6 miles out of the checkpoint and went back to Kaltag. The statement from Iditarod was that “Wikstrand made the decision to scratch in the best interest of his race team.” We will keep you posted, but know that in every race our main goal is happy and healthy dogs. Once that is not the case, the race is secondary to everything else. We do know that Nik and the Team are resting comfortably in Kaltag where the food and accommodations for the dogs and Nik are outstanding.
It’s going to be a laid back day as we sit and wait for the clock to wind down to the afternoon departure. We are monitoring the situation in Kaltag so we can assist Nik. And people are arriving from Bethel to cheer on Pete all day.
Go Team Kaiser!