In a new twist for the Musher Drawing, Iditarod Organizers decided to separate the Meet and Greet from the Musher Banquet and Drawing. It was a little disorganized, but all in all Mushers seemed to like the new format.
Pete started the day with the mandatory Musher Meeting, which he said was the shortest he has attended. At 4:00pm fans met the Mushers for autographs and one on one time. The room was packed for the 2 hour visit session and then it was off to the main ballroom where dinner was waiting and positions were ready to be pulled from the traditional mukluk.
A steak dinner with friends and sponsors Boyuk and Lee Ryan was followed by Pete heading to the stage to draw bib 30. Pete said he would have preferred a little closer to the front of the pack, but 30 will do nicely. In an interesting twist, Pete will be joined by Richie Diehl in position 29 and Mike Williams Jr. in position 27.
Bib 30 will put Pete and the Team at the Starting Line at 11:00 am sharp, so don’t be late on Saturday morning!!
Here are the photos from the banquet and also a little taste of what it’s like for Pete as I film his walk through the crowd as he introduces our 2018 Iditarider, Monika (I’ll get her last name soon) to the Kaiser Racing Table.
Iditarod Number 9 for Team Kaiser is underway! Go Team Kaiser!!
Mike Jr.’s Family
Meet and GREET!!
Can you say… Cute??
Drawing number 30
Lee and Boyuk – Friends first, but great Sponsors!
Momma and littlest!
Friends from Wisconsin – Talia ran Jr. Iditarod. Drove the Team up from Wisconsin!
Pete and the Team made their way down the highway yesterday from “Kaiser North” between Nenana and Fairbanks. Due to poor training conditions in Bethel, the Team was up there for about 9 days. Unlike Bethel, there was snow aplenty! Bethel got a dusting of snow after he left, but in the north country, it was SNOW SNOW SNOW!! I got a chance to run up and spend a day with the Team and it was really fun! The dogs were happy, Pete was relaxed, and I can see why he loves it up there.
This morning (Thursday) starts the activity that will culminate Sunday afternoon with the Restart in Willow. This morning Pete is with all of the other mushers at the mandatory meeting in Anchorage. This afternoon the Iditarod has changed up the events a bit and there will be a Meet and Greet at 4pm followed by the drawing and fundraiser banquet at 6pm.
Here are a few photos of the snow up north and also the schedule of events for this weekend.
Nik and the Team arrived into the Sheep Creek Finish Line this afternoon with 13 barking dogs ready for another 300 miles. Courtesy of Ron Kaiser, the Norwegian anthem played in the background as Nik signed out of the trail in 9th place. Only the top 5 places pay prize money, but Nik was very happy with the performance of the Team and himself. A noticeably calmer musher was on the runners this year compared to last year. He related that he knew more to expect out of the Team as well as himself.
The Team was met by a gaggle of Team Kaiser fans including Paul Thurman, Donna Shantz, Andy Angstman, and Colin McDonald. The temperature was a cold 0 degrees, but warmed up from -30 earlier in the day.
Nik is no worse for wear from the trip and his first stop after putting the Team to bed was a burger and a beer. Surely rest will be on tap as well, but with the crew here for the finish, he may have to forgo rest for a bit
Good Job and Congratulations to our fine friend from Norway! Heia! Heia! Kaiser! (Go Team Kaiser in Norwegian!!)
Nik was 10th into the Amber Lake checkpoint and out in that position as well. The Team looked outstanding and as Nik hooked each member to the gangline, barking and tails wagging they made out into the early morning.
Pete’s not used to the life of the “Pit Crew!” Up at 4am for a 45 minute drive to meet Nik and clean up after his Team. In this race pit crews are responsible for cleaning up after the Teams in the checkpoints. Raking up the straw and making sure the place is clean and Tidy.
Nik was upbeat as usual and described the trail as “Perfect.”
Just before I started this post, Nicholas Petit crossed the finish line with a great looking team. “This Team has won 1000 miles of racing in the last bit.” It is truly a great looking Team. Congratulations Nicholas!
Here’s a short interview with our Nik in Amber Lake. Go Team Kaiser.
During Race season, work is definitely a four letter word! Nik Wikstrand is out on the trail of the 2018 Willow 300 and some of us are stuck working to pay for our habit 🙂
Ron, and Pete and some intrepid fans all gathered this afternoon for the Start in Willow of the 300 mile race into wilds of that region. Pete is concentrating on some serious training, so Nik took the runners of the A Team to field Kaiser Racing Kennel’s entry into the race.
The weather was in a word– Spectacular and Ron said is was a chorus of barking as the Teams left out onto the trail. Longtime fans will remember last year’s race ending on Superbowl Sunday. This year’s race has a new course and a bit of experience under the belts of the organizers. The finish will take place at Sheep Creek Lodge on the Parks highway. (Home of the best Chicken Fried Steak in Alaska, oh by the way)
Ron played the Norwegian Anthem and Nik carried the flag of his Homeland as he made his way out onto the trail. It will be a long night for the pit crew as Ron and Pete will be headed to several checkpoints to pickup dogs and wish Nik well as he makes his way through the course.
An expected finish on Saturday will have teams meeting at Sheep Creek Lodge to toast the trail and hear stories from the trail. I’m pulling at my credit card as I write this. Go Team Kaiser!!