The winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has come under the burled arch in Nome, Alaska. Mitch Seavey won this year’s Iditarod, edging second place musher Aliy Zirkle by 24 minutes! This is just the beginning for this community however, for every musher to finish the race gets a hero’s welcome.
The town’s sirens blared when each of the more than four dozen competitors was about a mile out, and the mushers are all treated like royalty as they cross the finish line under the famed arch on Front Street, and have their pictures taken with fans.
“People came running out of their homes, pouring out of the bars on Front Street, to all run down to the chute and welcome the next team in,” said Laura Samuelson, director of the city’s Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum and former official finish-line checker. “It’s very exciting.”
Every year for four decades, residents of this old gold-rush town have greeted mushers at all hours of the day and night as they completed the world’s most famous sled dog race, which spans two mountain ranges, dangerous Alaska wilderness and the windy Bering Sea coast.
The reveling will continue as the rest of the remaining mushers trickle into town over the next few days.
“The tradition of welcoming mushers into Nome is very important because you figure anyone who comes this far on a team of dogs, from Anchorage to Nome, and takes 10 days to get here, or three weeks to get here, they all deserve the same recognition and the same appreciation for making it this far,” Samuelson said.