Alaskan Native Pete Kaiser Wins Iditarod Sled Dog Race

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Pete Kaiser won the Iditarod early Wednesday, throwing his arms over his head and pumping his fists as he became the latest Alaska Native to claim victory in the iconic sled dog race. “I’ve always said that I’m very fortunate to have the support system I have, the whole community of Bethel, and the whole Kuskokwim River and all of western Alaska,” he said. It’s the first Iditarod victory for Kaiser in his 10th attempt. He said he wasn’t sure what made everything come together this year for him. Fifty-two mushers began the race in Willow. Petit was among 10 racers who withdrew during the race. Kaiser greeted Ulsom under the finish line and shook his friend’s hand. Kaiser’s winning time was 9 days, 12 hours, 39 minutes and six seconds. Ulsom finished the 1,000-mile (1,600 kilometer) race 12 minutes after Kaiser. Ulsom was about 40 minutes behind Kaiser and made up ground in the final 77 miles (124 kilometers) to Nome but couldn’t overtake him. Ulsom placed second, coming across the finish line before Kaiser could get his picture taken on the winner’s podium. Petit’s downfall came near the same spot on the Bering Sea coast where he surrendered the lead in the 2018 race after getting lost in a blizzard. He recovered in time to finish second last year. Kaiser, 31, crossed the finish line in Nome after beating back a challenge from the defending champion, Norwegian musher Joar Ulsom. This year’s race was marked by the stunning collapse of Frenchman Nicolas Petit, who was seemingly headed for victory as late as Monday.center_img Petit, a native of France living in Alaska, had a five-hour lead and was cruising until his dog team stopped running between the Shaktoolik and Koyuk checkpoints. Kaiser will receive $50,000 and a new pickup truck for the victory. Four other Alaska Native mushers have won the race, including John Baker, an Inupiaq from Kotzebue, in 2011. “Just years of knowledge gained and trying to put it all together to have a better race, better dog team this year, every little detail coming into play,” he said in a post-victory interview televised statewide from the finish line, adding that a little luck didn’t hurt either. Kaiser called that support “extremely humbling and it motives me every to perform to my best, and I just want to thank them for coming out here tonight. This is just awesome.” Crowds cheered and clapped as Kaiser came off the Bering Sea ice and mushed down Nome’s main street with a police escort to the famed burled arch finish line. His wife and children greeted him, hugging him at the conclusion of the race, which began March 3 north of Anchorage. Petit had to withdraw, and the dog team had to be taken back to the previous checkpoint by snowmobile. Petit said one dog was picking on another during a rest break, and he yelled at the dog to knock it off. At that point, the entire team refused to run. Kaiser, who is Yupik, is from the southwest Alaska community of Bethel. A large contingent of Bethel residents flew to Nome to witness his victory. Alaska Native dancers and drummers performed near the finish line as they waited for Kaiser to arrive, even though it was past 3 a.m. local time.last_img

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